Participants for the second year of Ubisoft's Women's Film and Television Fellowship have been selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants. Nneka Gerstle and Heather Quinn will take part in the six-month fellowship, which will allow them to mine Ubisoft's library for potential story ideas, participate in one-on-one mentorships, and pitch their own takes with the goal of securing a deal.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Nneka Gerstle is a screenwriter with a penchant for dramatic, heartfelt stories featuring unconventional characters. She began her career as an assistant at HBO, working on Hung, Enlightened, and True Detective. Recently, she worked as a staff writer on Treadstone, a TV spinoff of the Bourne franchise, and adapted author Victoria Christopher Murray's dramatic thriller, Envy, for Lifetime Television.
"Ubisoft is an expert in creating vivid and enthralling worlds," says Gerstle. "That's why the opportunity to create a narrative using Ubisoft's imaginative and expansive library was exciting for me."
Originally hailing from Boston, Heather Quinn is now an LA-based film and fiction writer. She studied writing at St. Mary's College and Oxford University before earning her Masters of Arts from USC. In 2017, her script for Moxie appeared on the Black List, an annual survey of what studio executives see as the best unproduced scripts of the year. Moxie was optioned by producer Peter Lawson, and is currently being produced by Lawson's Steel Spring Pictures and Sugar23.
"Part of what drew me to the fellowship was being given the luxury of time to explore and develop together, as a team, which I feel makes for a wonderful creative environment," says Quinn.
Gerstle and Quinn will work to craft pitches for television and film, respectively, and will participate in a personal mentorship program with either Danielle Kreinik, director of television development, or Margret Boykin, director of film development, as well as Jason Altman, head of film and television.
"It's incredibly exciting to partner with talented women like Nneka and Heather for the second year of our fellowship program," says Kreinik. "We're looking forward to their unique perspectives on our IP and the gaming world."
Working with Kreinik, Boykin, and Altman, Gerstle and Quinn will look to follow in the footsteps of the fellowship's first-year participants, Tasha Huo and Mishna Wolf, who both earned script deals for a Child of Light television pilot and a film adaptation for Werewolves Within, respectively. Both projects are currently in active development.
"It's a privilege to be able to continue the fellowship this year with Heather and Nneka, two exceptional women and talented writers," says Boykin. "We are proud of Ubisoft's commitment to create more opportunities for women in the film and television space, and to amplify diverse voices in the gaming community."
For more on the latest projects from Ubisoft Film and Television, check out our previous coverage.