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Series Lab

Series Lab 2024

Start date:
Jul 01, 2024
Ability Level:
Intermediate to Advanced

Over the past three years, Doha Film Institute has started nurturing a space for series projects from the MENA region through its labs and financial support mechanisms—and now through Qumra as a mentoring and industry meeting event, as well as the Series Lab.

The Series Lab is dedicated to screenwriters developing scripted and documentary series projects created for distribution on all platforms (including television, digital or web) and to provide participants with the scriptwriting tools and industry access to move their projects and careers forward. The programme is an opportunity for emerging screenwriters and writer-directors from the region to:

  • complete the treatment/script of the pilot or the first season
  • produce the general concept presentation of the project
  • exercise writing and pitching skills
  • understand the global series landscape and the entire process of creation of a series.

Participants will be working with accomplished mentors and story editors in generating ideas and structuring their material.

The programme will include:

  • customized one on one advising session with mentors
  • group work session with mentors and other participants
  • simulation of a “writer’s room”
  • group tutorials with selected industry experts (producers, showrunners, labs and markets, funding and distribution platforms…)
  • pitch training
  • final projects presentation and feedbacks.

Participants work in small groups with the support of experienced mentors. The lab consists of three online sessions of six-day workshops, which take place intermittently over a period of six months. During each six-day session, participants are expected to work on all agreed assignments and reach key milestones as they build toward their screenplays. Strict deadlines must be followed, and participants will be asked to read and engage in the other lab attendees’ work.

● Session 1: July 2024 (online)
● Session 2: September 2024 (online)
● Session 3: Jan 2025 (online)

Please note that each session lasts six full days.

Deadline for applications: 1 June 2024

Hours: – The sessions will take place online and participation is required for all five days of each session, as the work, sharing and learning build from day to day.

Language: English
Lab Fee: 1800 Qatari Riyals
Group Size: 6- 8 participants (3-4 participants per group)
Level: Intermediate to Advanced


  • The workshop is designed for writers & directors, or anyone interested in writing for scripted serialized projects created on TV and web series, or app-based platforms.
  • Candidates should have produced at least one short or feature-length narrative or documentary film or series in the past.
  • Applicants from Qatar and the MENA region including the diaspora, as well as DFI grantees (from any region), are prioritized for participation.
  • Applicants from emerging countries and regions are also encouraged to apply.

Submission Requirements

Please send the following in Word or PDF format to

  • Synopsis (1-page maximum)
  • Treatment & concept presentation (arc of the story, backstory, character description and episode outline)
  • Biography and filmography of key team (director, writer, producer, production company profile)
  • Visual concept or any visual representation, i.e. mood board, storyboard (if available)
  • Treatment of each episode in bullet points (if available)
  • Pilot script (if available)
  • Detailed information about what is required for the project’s development
  • A letter outlining why you want to participate in this workshop.
  • Scan of valid ID or passport
  • Contact email and number

Please include your full name, email and contact number in all text documents.

Lab Programme

Session 1
The first session will begin with a brief introduction and pitching of the ideas followed by input and feedback from the other group members and tutor. Character and theme development will also be covered, as well as an overview of documents to be produced for the next sessions.

This session will continue with a review of new and revised materials (the first scene-by-scene breakdown, or extended treatment). There will be continuous feedback and a revisiting of character and theme, adding to the discussion/further exploring a structural dimension (plot, resolution, inciting event, etc.).

Session 2
The second session will be a review of the new materials (revised scene-by-scene breakdown, revised character documents, etc.), and a first draft or some written scenes from the revised breakdown. Visual research and other materials will also be reviewed with the premise and pitch further developed.

Session 3
Our final session will consist of feedback and input from the group and tutor on first drafts as well as scene analysis. This will set the trajectory for the next steps of the project concerning financing, casting, etc.
The Series Lab includes a final projects’ presentation with an external panel of industry guests. Participants will submit their written work to the panel members and present the project they have developed over the three sessions.


Bassem Breche – Lebanon
Script Consultant

Bassem Breche is an award-winning scriptwriter and director. He has directed three short films, ‘Both’ (2007), ‘Ziu’ (2013) and ‘Free Range’ (2014). As a scriptwriter, Breche has written various web series and films including ‘Shankaboot’ (International Digital Emmy Award, 2011), ‘Fasateen’ (2012), ‘The Little Drop’ (2015), ‘Undocumented’ (2017) and ‘Aleph’ (2017). Breche is the founder/director of Scenario Beirut, a collective of screenwriters based in Beirut. Currently, Breche is working on his debut feature film ‘A River’s Tale’.

Joelle Touma – Lebanon
Script Consultant

Joëlle Touma started writing screenplays in 1998. At that time she was also a TV host and an actress in Lebanon. She then became the Beirut correspondent for the French daily Libération and the Belgian daily Le Soir, also working as a fixer in Lebanon with several media outlets. Since 2006, she has been dedicating herself only to writing screenplays. She has worked with Ziad Doueiri (Lila says 2004, The Attack 2011 and The Insult, nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2018) and Rachid Bouchareb (Just Like a Woman 2011). She also wrote an episode for Le Bureau des Légendes, a French series produced by Canal+. She recently wrote What’s Your Secret, a feature film, presently in financing, with Ziad Doueiri and co-wrote Ghosts Of Beirut, a limited series for Showtime currently broadcasted on Paramount plus. She is now working on a feature film La Brigade des Daronnes, to be directed by Sarah Marx. She has participated as a consultant in different screenwriting workshops: Open doors in Locarno, Hezayah with DFI, Les Ateliers de l’Atlas in Marrakesh, Produire au Sud in Nantes and Dubai.

Teresa Cavina – Italy
Script Consultant

Teresa Cavina is an Italian festival programmer, script analyst and co-production expert. From 1989 to 1997, she was a programmer at the Venice International Film Festival, and in 1998, she moved to the Festival del Film Locarno, which she co-directed from 2001 through 2005. In 2006, she launched the Rome Film Festival, where she was artistic director until 2008. In Rome, she founded the New Cinema Network, an international co-production platform featuring training and support for second-time filmmakers. From 2009 to 2012, Cavina was the artistic director of the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA), and programming director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival from 2009 to 2014, where she co-created Sanad, a fund that provided support to Arab filmmakers and films relevant to Arab culture and heritage. Currently, she focuses on working closely with filmmakers, producers, script labs and funding bodies, including Premio Solinas (Italy), AFAC (Lebanon) and HAF (Hong Kong). Cavina is also on the reading team for Eurimages.

Ryan O’nan – USA
Writer and Showrunner

Ryan O’Nan is an American TV writer and actor. He started his work as a TV writer for MTV’s ‘Skins’ in 2011. He is a story editor on USA Network’s ‘Queen of the South’, in which he also plays the recurring role of King George. He is also a writer on FX’s ‘Legion’. He was a guest star as Jared Hale in the FX series ‘Justified’ in the very first season premiere episode ‘Fire in the Hole’. He had recurring roles in ‘Mercy’ and ‘The Unusuals’, and has appeared, among others, in the films ‘Eat Pray Love’ and ‘The Dry Land’. He wrote, directed and starred in the independent comedy ‘The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best’, defined as one of the best musical comedies of recent years. ‘The Dry Land’ saw him team up again with both Jason Ritter and Melissa Leo from his earlier film.

Neerja Narayanan – India
Series Expert – Creative Producer

Neerja Narayanan is a creative producer and senior management studio executive with 20 years of experience across multiple facets of the global entertainment industry. She has a track record of culturally relevant content with universal appeal & global reach with over 50 features to her studio division leadership and producer credit across continents. She has set creative & commercial benchmarks including major award nominations and major film festival premieres and festival awards. She has held senior studio positions including SVP for content development and production at major studios including 21st Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and what is now Disney Studios India for global content. She has worked with Channel Four UK, the UK Film Council and leading sales agency Capitol Films in development, international sales/financing, and has worked as artistic director and in programming for leading film festivals in the UK. She has been a speaker at leading international film festivals and advisor for independent film organizations like Sundance Women In Film, the Athena Festival Labs, Seed&Spark, and Film Independent Global Media Makers. She has been Lab Leader for The Gotham Series Labs, run their No Borders program and Film Week and the Lab Leader for the DFI Series Lab. She is currently with a producing deal at Sony Pictures International Productions.

Gabrielle Capolino – USA
Series Project Coach

With over 14 years of experience in film criticism and film studies/theories, Gabriele Capolino is a film and entertainment professional based in NYC, where he works at The Gotham Film & Media Institute (formerly IFP), the oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers in the US. Gabriele works as Senior Manager of International and Episodic Programming, selecting worldwide projects to support via Gotham programs, as well as establishing international partnerships for the organization and producing programs year-round. He has also been the Associate Producer of the Gotham Awards for the past four years. A second-level graduate in Film Studies, with a thesis on cult Iranian-American director Amir Naderi and a second one, focused on the contemporary landscape of the US indie cinema, Gabriele worked for the Biennale of Venice and its Biennale College Cinema programme, and as a film critic for ten years in Italy.

Paolo Ciccarelli — Italy
Series Project Coach

Paolo is a creative and strategic consultant for international production and distribution companies as well
as global studios. His expertise focuses on scouting, evaluation and development of scripted content.
He began his career in 2009 and after spending several years working in London, in 2017, Paolo joined MIA | International Audiovisual Market as coordinator of the newly born drama division, becoming coordinator
of the whole scripted area in 2021.

In 2023 Paolo was then appointed Head of Drama and he now oversees the whole editorial and strategic
line of MIA on global drama industry. Since 2022, Paolo is also consultant to the development department
of Paramount in Italy, where he analyses and evaluates scripted projects for original productions.

Frédéric Pittoors d’Haveskercke – France
Series Festivals & Markets Expert

Frederic Pittoors d’Haveskercke graduated as a lawyer, and worked at the European Commission and StudioCanal before launching his own consultancy company, Baradal. The company works with various production companies in Europe and North America either on a project by project basis or for a global international development strategy. In 2012, Frederic joined the SeriesMania team to create the Coproduction Forum. Since 2008, he has also taught at various schools.

Marc Lorber – UK
Series Expert – International TV Coproductions & Acquisitions

With MENA projects ranging from ‘Justice/Qalb Al Adala’ (OSN/Netflix) to ‘Beyond Borders’ (MBC), Marc is one of the most experienced international multi-genre creative content and programming executives, as well as an Emmy-nominated producer; skilled in conception, acquisition, development, sales, strategic partnerships and co-productions, direct physical production and management/financial oversight, of both scripted and unscripted projects; formats and originals: In the US, the U.K., Canada, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, UAE, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Philippines and extensively across the CIS, MENA and CEE regions, among the 20+ non-English speaking countries Marc has worked or lived in to date.

Marike Muselaers — Belgium
Series Expert – International Financing and Distribution

Marike Muselaers started her career at Fortissimo Films and RTL Netherlands before joining the Lumière team. After more than a 15-year journey in sales, acquisitions and (co-)productions, Marike is now co-leading the Lumière Group as Chief Content and Partnerships Officer. Next to finding partners, money, stories and talent for the Lumière Group, Marike is coaching producers and writers in her role as Financing Tutor for the Midpoint Series Launch program. She also enjoys being a keynote speaker, moderator and consultant at many industry events like Göteborg Film Festival, Berlinale, Cannes Film Festival, NEM Zagreb, SerieSeries, SeriesMania, TV Beats Tallinn, Cinelink Sarajevo, MIPCOM and Content London. Marike holds a Master of Arts and an MBA degree.