Creative Lab Hawaii Announces Seven Selected Fellows to Attend and Pitch Projects at American Film Market 2019

Posted on Nov 7, 2019 in News


Zoë Eisenberg and Serge Marcil to Participate in AFM’s Prestigious Pitch Conference

HONOLULU—The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID) continues to grow opportunities for Hawaii’s entrepreneurs, announcing that seven Fellows of its Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Producing and Screenwriting Immersive Programs are participating in the 2019 American Film Market (AFM). The largest film industry market, hosting professionals from across the globe looking to establish partnerships and strike film deals in every stage of development and production, this year’s AFM event will take place in Santa Monica, California now through November 13. Over a billion dollars in deals closed at the American Film Market last year alone.

Two of these CLH Fellows, Zoë Eisenberg and Serge Marcil, have additionally been selected to participate in AFM’s invite-only Pitch Conference program. They will have the added opportunity to pitch their individual projects before a panel of industry executives and an audience of hundreds of attendees on Saturday, November 9. Eisenberg, a screenwriter/producer from Hilo, Hawaii will present Chaperone, a feature length delayed coming of age dramedy set in Hilo, and Marcil, a screenwriter/producer from Līhue, Kauai will spotlight the sci-fi mystery Within.

“These selected participants have put in the hard work on their projects and developed the business acumen through mentorship to confidently pitch to industry insiders in the entertainment industry,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer of DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. “It’s exciting to see what the opportunities at an event of this caliber can offer talent with the right skill set in place, enabling more of our local talent to bring their product to a global market.”

Participants were selected by CLH Immersive Program mentors as stand-out fellows for the high-profile opportunity. DBEDT’s Creative Lab Hawaii team will be accompanying the following fellows to the AFM:

  • Amy Bircher – 2017 Writers Immersive Fellow – Kona, Hawaii
  • Zoë Eisenberg – 2019 Producers Immersive Fellow – Hilo, Hawaii
  • Jennifer Marcil – 2019 Producers Immersive Fellow – Līhue, Kauai
  • Serge Marcil – 2019 Producers Immersive Fellow – Līhue, Kauai
  • Alex Spell – 2019 Writers Immersive Fellow – Hilo, Hawaii
  • Orit Tashman – 2019 Writers Immersive Fellow – Hilo, Hawaii
  • Brayden Yoder – 2017 Producers Immersive Fellow – Oahu, Hawaii

Said Michael Andres Palmieri, executive director, Creative Lab Hawaii, who was instrumental in selecting this year’s participating fellows, “We are excited for what’s in store for these talented CLH Fellows and their dynamic projects at AFM. We are also incredibly grateful for the support of the State of Hawaii Administration and Legislature, our Immersive Program mentors and our strategic partners and supporters such as the Writers Guild of America, West, Producers Guild of America, and the Independent Feature Project to help further important industry connections for our local creatives.”

Additional details on the selected CLH Fellows include:

Amy Alohilani Bircher was born in Hawaii and raised on Hue Hue Ranch on the island of Hawaii. As a young girl, her passion for reading evolved into a love for writing. After graduating from Hawaii Preparatory Academy, she attended Sonoma State University in California, where she earned a degree in Communication Studies. A longtime fan of the romance genre, Amy centers her scripts around meaningful stories of love, family, and friendship. After her acceptance into the State of Hawaii’s Creative Lab program, her spec script, Christmas on Display, was optioned by a company that produces content for major television networks.

Zoë Eisenberg is a writer, independent film and performing arts producer located in Kalapana, Hawaii. The co-founder and Executive Director of the Made in Hawaii Film Festival and performing arts company Aerial Arts Hawaii, Zoë is passionate about supporting and growing the independent art scene in Hawaii. Her previous filmography includes Throuple (2015), Aloha from Lavaland (2016) and Stoke (2018). Her latest project, Chaperone, is a feature length delayed coming of age dramedy set in Hilo, Hawaii.

Jennifer Marcil has an MBA from Loyola University (Chicago). Her work experience includes strategic planning/worldwide budget implementation (Arthur Andersen); investment research, forecasting and published analysis (Phoenix Duff & Phelps); creating projected budgets (Disney Interactive); and branch managing (Bank of Hawaii). Jennifer has worked over 30 years in front of and behind the camera. Moving to Kauai in 2010, she started 4Dventures LLC (dba 4D Media). She produced documentaries The Perfect Song and Nāwiliwili Bay, short films Hoouluwehi and Hihio (HIFF’s Pacific Showcase). Jennifer is executive producer/co-writer for Within (pre-production) and currently developing her romantic comedy Sexy Mamas.

Serge Marcil has directed more than 300 hours of television programming for a wide range of broadcasters, networks and production companies including Discovery and NatGeo. Although he has directed educational children’s television series, factual programs and other television genres, most of Serge’s directing has been in the documentary genre. Serge has been nominated three times by the ACCT for a National Gemini/Gemeaux Award (Emmy equivalent) as “Best Director – Information Program/Series”, and once as “Best Director – Children Program/Series”. In 2012, he co-founded 4D Media on the island of Kauai (in Hawaii) and now produces his own media projects.

Alexandria Spell began her career in comedy, acting, and writing in her hometown of Reno, Nevada. While working as a nurse and raising two children, Alex began doing standup, first as a hobby and then as a paid local act. Alex moved to Hilo to pursue a degree in Physics and found her outlet in a fulfilling creative partnership with Orit Tashman. Alex and Orit have written a half-hour television comedy called Hella Poor. The show hopes to buck the normal trends of television with a diverse cast and biting wit. Hella Poor offers irreverent honesty about poverty, women, and the dream of upward mobility.

Orit Tashman lives in Hilo and has a varied background in engineering, book publishing, baking, and theatre. Together with their creative partner, Alex Spell, they have co-written the pilot for a television comedy, Hella Poor, following the friendship and struggles of college students who are single mothers and deal with systemic poverty, racism, and the patriarchy. Orit and Alex have also created a production company and are currently building a portfolio of films and scripts. Orit believes that television is a major medium of influence and communication in this era, and is committed to producing comedic, thoughtful, and important content to help foster social change.

Brayden Yoder, a native of Honolulu, Hawai’i, and the son of an Indonesian immigrant, spent more than five years at the Film & Television Institute of India, where he first learned to practice his craft in film direction. His most recent short film, Breakdown, gained acceptance to several festivals in North America and around the world, winning the “audience award” at the March 2014 HollyShorts Screening in Hollywood and an “emerging artist” award at the 2014 Taos Shortz Festival in New Mexico. Before moving to the Indian subcontinent, Brayden lived in Sydney, Australia, where he studied screenwriting as part of a master’s in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. Upon his arriving in Los Angeles, Brayden gained selection to the 2014/2015 Writers Guild Foundation’s veterans’ writing program at the WGA West, where professional mentors helped him further hone his screenwriting craft to industry standards. Later that year, his writing gained him admission to the screenwriting accelerator at the Creative Lab Hawaii. He is bringing the feature-length version of his short Breakdown to AFM.

Creative Lab Hawaii Programs will be announced in the first quarter of 2020.

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About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

About CLH (Creative Lab Hawaii Program)
The Creative Lab Hawaii Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion. The CLH Program, a key facet of Hawaii’s creative economy, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity in media, music and fashion/design. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes. Website:

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Media Contacts:

Georja Skinner
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 586-2364

Charlene Chan
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006