GABRIEL HO (TV Fellow) grew up in Irvine, California, where his father was a minister. He spent most of his childhood at the church and wrote and directed shorts for his high school fellowship, but always told himself it was just a hobby. Heavily influenced by the tech geek on Alias, he was set on a respectable path to be an engineer and worked for the Department of Defense, but soon realized he didn’t want to build circuit boards and gadgets – he wanted to create the worlds and characters that inspired him in the first place. He gave up his engineering scholarship to pursue his real passion – film. He graduated from Columbia University, and came out to LA, where he started in the mailroom at WME. He recently worked as the Writers’ Assistant on TNT’s ANIMAL KINGDOM, MRC’s THE DARK TOWER, and ABC’s THE ROOKIE.
IRAM PARVEEN BILAL (Feature Fellow), raised in Nigeria and Pakistan, is a Physics Olympian turned filmmaker. Her latest film, EXTINCTION, is a dystopian future where the #MuslimBan goes extreme. Next, she is excited to lens her script FORBIDDEN STEPS, a film about a Muslim cop in Chicago. Bilal is developing TV projects set both in the US and in the UK. An avid public speaker and activist, she is a co-chair of the Asian American Writer’s Committee at the WGA and a board member for the Caltech Y, her alma mater. Bilal initiated the Pakistani Oscar committee and is the founder of Pakistan’s first professional screenwriting lab (QALAMBAAZ). She is a Thomas J Watson, Women In Film, Film Independent fellow and an active member of the Alliance of Women Directors and Film Fatales. She believes that genuine curiosity is the antidote to fear. Her super powers are her international upbringing and her resident “nerdness.”
JOANNE LEE(TV Fellow) was raised on Long Island by South Korean immigrant parents, went to Harvard College, worked for Goldman Sachs in London, attended Wharton Business School, and helped run a NYC-based non-profit organization that pairs low-income adults with corporate mentors. She then did digital media business development for ABC News, A+E Networks, and POPSUGAR. Joanne studied improvisation and sketch writing at UCB and performed stand-up in NYC. She was a showrunner’s assistant for an HBO comedy. Her half-hour TV pilot UNPLANNED finished in the top ten of the 2016 Final Draft Big Break Contest. In 2017, her half-hour TV pilot KILLING IT won the Silver Prize in PAGE and was a top five finalist (and only comedy pilot) in TrackingB. She wrote a freelance episode of the Disney Channel show ANDI MACK which will air in summer 2018. She is repped by APA.
LAUREN MOON(TV Fellow) is a queer third-generation Korean American LA-based writer/activist born in Dallas, TX. She is a graduate of Pomona College and holds an MFA in Writing for Screen and Television from USC. Her feature film WESTMINSTER, CA was a finalist for the HUMANITAS Carol Mendelsohn Drama Fellowship and was a quarterfinalist in Scriptapalooza’s screenplay competition. She received the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre’s Thomas Angel Foundation Scholarship in 2017. Her multi-cam sitcom pilot INTERNATIONAL HAÜS was funded, produced, and shot by USC. Lauren writes grounded stories depicting young men and women of color trying their best to find their voices while stumbling through adolescence and adulthood. She is also in a rowdy punk band, co-produces podcast about fetishes, and has a weekly radio show consisting of songs that make her cry.
LISA BAO (TV Fellow) was born and raised in Shenyang, China before immigrating to the U.S. with her parents when she was seven. As the eldest (and favorite) child of her parents, Lisa initially tried to become a doctor, but discovered she could not hack the sciences in college. Lisa had to settle for second best by becoming a lawyer, an important turning point since law school taught her how to fail and the importance of showing up prepared. Armed with these lessons, and after getting New York out of her system, Lisa returned to Los Angeles to pursue her childhood dream of writing for the screen. Her scripts have made her a Disney-ABC Writing Program Finalist, a Fox Writer’s Lab Semi-Finalist, and now a 2018 CAPE Fellow.
RYAN LEE (Feature Fellow) was born in Paris, France and raised in Palo Alto, California. Ever since viewing a VHS copy of MOUSE HUNT at age 6, he’s wanted to make movies. He attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, majoring in Film Production with a minor in Screenwriting, where he wrote several thesis films. Since graduating, he’s developed feature films, television pilots, and interactive web series scripts in multiple genres. He has also worked as a script reader, a public access TV technician, and a Little League Umpire. His goal is to write for film and TV, and to have season tickets to the Yankees one day.
STEFANIE WOODBURN (Feature Fellow) is a mixed Chinese American writer, actress, and filmmaker. She grew up in Maryland, learning the value of education from her teacher mom and the value of finance, math, and weightlifting from her stay-at-home dad. She loved acting in musicals and dance captaining competitive show choir, later studying at NYU and performing theater in Paris. Not having the guts to pursue her creative dream after graduation, she became a consultant (naturally), working on the business and tech side of studios. She finally found her voice on Twitch, creating community and streaming video games to fundraise for her short film about pole dance. POLE is currently an official selection in 18 film festivals. Excited to write stories from the mixed perspective, she applied with the feature film to CAPE and looks forward to creating the Pole Cinematic Universe. Stefanie was selected as a Creator in the inaugural class of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Impact content accelerator program.”
VIDHYA IYER (TV Fellow) was born in a small town in south Nigeria to Indian immigrant parents and was shipped like an Amazon Prime delivery to a small city in south India at the age of 12. There she lived alone in an apartment, without adult supervision from the ages of 12-19. She studied to be a computer science engineer in college while running an Italian restaurant with her brother. She came to AFI to write stories that will translate across international borders and hopes to leverage her background and be a liaison between the American, Indian and Nigerian entertainment markets. She is currently a comedy improv performer at the UCB and also performs stand-up comedy