The 2011 NSI Features First participants recently wrapped 10 months of training. Four teams comprised of industry up-and-comers Urmi Bardhan, Naomi Ward, Jillian Ruby, Matthew Ferguson, Sarah Lazarovic, Luke Bryant, A.J. Bond and Amy Belling each received in excess of $15,000 towards a feature film development budget targeted at customized training.
Among the training options selected by the teams were Judith Weston and Syd Field workshops, Produced By Conference, Screenwriter’s Summit and attendance at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France.
Naomi Ward’s “The 81/2 Minute Bi-Racial Biography of Bianca Smith” won the inaugural pitch award (then called the Hear Me! See Me! Pitch Me! award) in 2006 and was programmed in 2007. She has participated in the pitch several times since then and attends the festival/industry series every year. Congratulations, Naomi!