Duration: 2 weeks
Location: New York City, USA


Regular deadline: August 10, 2018
Late deadline: August 31, 2018

Cinephilia INSPIRE Residency (CIR) is a program launched by Cinephilia Productions in 2016 in New York City. 

CIR aims to provide an inspiring program and an evaluative time for career and emerging screenwriters and film directors from the Middle East and North Africa to pursue their individual practice and profit from the inspiration found in the diverse cultural landscape of New York City. 

CIR is designed for screenwriters and film directors working on developing their first, second or third fiction or documentary feature film project.

Residents are offered a number of consulting sessions with prominent industry professionals ranging from script doctors, producers, directors and distributors. 

Photo by Fiorella Occhipinti

Photo by Fiorella Occhipinti

Video by Pushpin Films

Residency offers

  • Full Accommodation (a private room in a shared apartment.)
  • Partial travel cost up to $400 (USD) (Economy class return tickets vary in price depending on the city of departure.)
  • One-on-one session(s) with professional script doctors
  • One-on-one session(s) with independent producers
  • One-on-one session with a distinguished film director 
  • One-on-one session with film distributor
  • Meetings with industry professionals (depending on the project needs and status)
  • Screening of residents most recent work or a retrospective of past works + panel discussion
  • Facilitating engagement with local film community in New York City and amplifying networking opportunities
  • A detailed program of inspiring cultural and art events taking place in the city
  • 2 weeks unlimited metro card
  • A precious notebook dedicated to your imagination
  • Selected filmmakers will be welcomed to Cinephilia family as new fellows. Cinephilia provides continuous support during and after CIR. 

Cinephilia Productions does not offer a stipend. 
Cinephilia does not cover travel insurance and visa costs.
We require residents to purchase travel insurance that covers their entire stay. 
Upon request, Cinephilia Productions can provide an official invitation letter to facilitate the visa process. 

If residents wish to stay in NYC more than the 2 weeks period of CIR, residents are fully responsible to cover their own costs of accommodation.

Eligibility requirements

  • Career and emerging screenwriters and film directors are welcome to apply. (Screenwriters working on literary adaptations must provide rights clearance documents. Film directors can be screenwriters-directors or working on directing a screenplay written by a screenwriter.)
  • Must be a citizen of one of the eligible countries (See list of eligible countries below). Applicants may be living anywhere around the world. 
  • Must be in development of their first, second or third feature film project, fiction or documentary. (Experimental films are not eligible.)
  • Must have a proven track record of work such as previous short films, feature film or produced screenplays
  • Must be over 25 years old
  • Must have valid passport
  • Must have good command of English language
  • Collaborative groups must present a single application and if selected, residency will only be provided to one individual in the group.
  • Producers are not eligible to apply. 

Eligible countries

Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates & Yemen. 
** Documentary projects from Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan & Afghanistan are eligible to apply (narrative projects from these countries are not eligible). 


Every screenwriter and film director has a very different approach when it comes to revising their work and as we understand the process carefully, we do not expect from residents to finish writing a new draft or to make immediate progress. We know that being in a new place and benefiting from the experience of being exposed to a new culture will enrich your creative process. We aspire to inspire you.

The program and schedule is designed with the utmost flexibility that allows residents and consultants to work in a friendly manner and tackle the sessions from a productive approach. Our consultants are all working industry professionals and their busy schedules may prevent them from conducting in person sessions. In this case, some sessions might be conducted over Skype. 


ANNA ROSE HOLMER is the 2017 Independent Spirit Award Someone to Watch winner and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015. Her critically acclaimed narrative directorial debut, THE FITS (Venice 2015, Sundance 2016), was released with Oscilloscope Laboratories in 2016 and nominated for Breakthrough Director at the 2016 Gotham Awards as well Best First Feature at the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards. She recently produced Mike Plunkett’s SALERO (IDFA 2015) and Jody Lee Lipes’s BALLET 422 (Tribeca 2014).


SHRUTI GANGULY is a filmmaker based in New York City. She has worked with James Franco and his Rabbit Bandini Productions for the past seven years, and has made several feature films that have gone to Sundance, Venice, Berlin, Telluride and AFI. She recently produced Through You, a narrative VR told through dance, which premiered at Sundance 2017. Shruti was a founding partner at Fictionless, a production company that focuses on branded content, narratives, documentaries, and TV series. Prior to Fictionless, she ran the video departments and developed the video strategy at NYLON, MTV, and Conde Nast (crafting the CLIO-winning 73 Questions series). She is currently producing a feature with Keanu Reeves, and a TV series called Girly with Refinery29 and EP Rashida Jones.

Shruti was a member of Obama’s ECCO committee of entertainment leaders last year and is on the Creative Council for Emily's List. Shruti hails from India, by way of Oman. Shruti received her Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, and was the first graduate of NYU's dual MFA/MBA program at Tisch and Stern.


KARIN CHIEN is a producer, educator and distributor committed to championing independent voices. Karin is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Producer’s Award, and the producer of ten independent feature films, including STONES IN THE SUN (2012), JACK AND DIANE (2012), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011), THE EXPLODING GIRL (2009), THE MOTEL (2005) and ROBOT STORIES (2002).

Her films have won over 100 festival awards, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Films Festivals, been nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards and received distribution in over 30 countries. Karin is the co-creator of Cinema on the Edge, a new global film series celebrating uncensored cinema from mainland China.

Karin is the founder/president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent cinema from mainland China. Karin is also the creator of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Fellowship, a mentoring program for mid-career Asian American media makers. Karin is based in Los Angeles and teaches at Temple University’s Los Angeles film & media program.


MATT HARVEY (distribution consultant) works in acquisitions and production for Sony Pictures Classics.

Recent films he has been involved in acquiring include Paul Verhoeven's ELLE, Meera Menon's EQUITY, Lorene Scafaria's THE MEDDLER, Marielle Heller's DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Damian Szifron's WILD TALES, and Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH.


BRADD SAUNDERS (script consultant) is a screenwriter, screenwriting teacher, film director, playwright, published novelist, short story writer, and freelance journalist with an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His movie, The Lounge People, played in theaters internationally and on Comedy Central, and the Starz Network, and he currently has screenplays optioned and in development on two continents. His play, Detective Nicky Carruthers is Dead, garnered a national playwriting award from the University of Arkansas and was produced at the Powerhouse Theater, in Los Angeles. The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Annual Ball, was a semi-finalist at the Inner City Cultural Center’s theater competition in Los Angeles, and was produced at the Missing Children Theater in New York. He was a screenwriting teacher, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California for twenty-three years and has worked online as a mentor and in workshop settings for Cinephilia Productions. 
Currently, he is a screenwriting teacher and mentor to students throughout America at the Film Connection/Film Institute in Los Angeles, California.


Established in 1972 to address the under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media industry, Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films by and about women. The organization provides services to both users and makers of film, with a special emphasis on supporting work by women of color. Women Make Movies facilitates the development of feminist media through an internationally recognized Distribution Service and a Production Assistance Program.


DARINE HOTAIT (script consultant) is a writer, film director and the founder/director of Cinephilia Productions. Her award winning short films can be seen on BBC, Sundance TV, AMC Networks & Shorts International. She is a published playwright and short story writer. Her literary work has appeared or forthcoming in various publications in print and online. Darine has mentored numerous writing workshops at international film festivals, media conferences and prestigious literary institutions around the world. She has worked as script consultant on more than 200 feature and short film projects in the US and the Arab world. She served as a jury member at film festivals in Sydney, Rotterdam and New York. She holds an MFA in screenwriting and film directing from the Art Center College of Design in California. She resides in New York City.