SeriesFest: Season Two announced Farr as the Best Pilot in a Drama and Truth Slash Fiction as the Best Pilot in a Comedy of this year’s Independent Pilot Competition. 34 official selections screened in competition at the Sie FilmCenter this week and showcased works by emerging and established creators and directors. The pilots featured talent including Brad Leland, Jane Lynch, Tim Matheson, Amber Nash, George R.R. Martin, Tahmoh Penikett, Missi Pyle, Maisie Williams and Michael K. Williams.

“We are overwhelmed at the talent showcased in this year’s Independent Pilot Competition at SeriesFest: Season Two,” said Randi Kleiner, CEO of SeriesFest. “Our jury certainly had their work cut out for them in determining the 2016 award winners, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for all 34 of these remarkable pilots.”

The Independent Pilots in the Drama and Comedy categories were deliberated on by an esteemed group of jurors. The Drama jury included Geneva Wasserman (President, WV Enterprises), Jason Ritter (Actor), and Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group); the Comedy jury included Kim Cattrall (Golden Globe Award-winning Actress), Aaron Yoo (Actor), and Janet Pierson (Head of Film, SXSW).

Virgin Produced, the film and television production arm of Virgin group, bestowed the Virgin Produced Choice Award to Distance, Dropping the SoapFive Star, It’s a Hit!Rack & Ruin,Riftworld ChroniclesSupreme Twitterand Truth Slash FictionThese winning pilots will receive the opportunity for distribution via the Virgin Produced Channel onboard Virgin America, Virgin Australia, and in Virgin Hotels. This award is the latest in a series of prizes and initiatives aimed to expand the reach and understanding of exceptional episodic works. The Virgin Produced Award will allow a global audience to discover an impressive selection of pilots while traveling worldwide.

“This year’s SeriesFest Independent Pilot Competition showcased an incredible variety of entertaining and emerging content. We are excited to present the Virgin Produced Choice Award to these 8 pilots that will bring fresh voices to audiences around the world via our Virgin Produced platform,” said Virgin Produced Chief Creative Officer Justin Berfield.

SeriesFest and El Rey Network awarded Life’s a Drag with the inaugural “El Rey Network Diversity in Storytelling Award”. This prize recognizes a deserving pilot that showcases the changing face of America and promotes diversity both in front of and behind the camera. The winning pilot, which will receive a $5,000 cash prize, was voted on by the 2016 SeriesFest Independent TV Pilot Competition jury and El Rey Network’s Vice President of Audience Strategy and Insights, Dawn Holliday-Mack.

"We are so pleased to award Life’s a Drag with the inaugural 'El Rey Network Diversity in Storytelling Award'," said Dawn Holiday-Mack.  “The pilot presented a diverse cast of realistic, authentic and well-rounded characters spanning race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, which contributed to and enriched the storyline.”

The Storytellers Initiative Prize, presented in partnership with YayBig and Parallel Entertainment, was awarded to Claire Epstein’s Amazing Jane. Epstein will receive a development deal with YayBig and Parallel Entertainment. This year’s Storytellers Initiative Live Reading, featuring a cast of professional actors including Game of Thrones’ Harry Lloyd, took place on Saturday, June 25th.

"Parallel Entertainment and YayBig are thrilled to announce the winner of Storytellers Initiative at SeriesFest: Season Two. We had a great pool of submissions this year," said Ben Friedberg, Executive Producer of YayBig Productions. "Each of our writers bring a unique voice and vision to their work. It was a challenge to name a winner, though in the end Claire Epstein's twist on the super hero genre stood out as the winning pilot. We are excited to work with Claire to develop a great scripted half-hour."

“The 2016 Storytellers Initiative finalists represent some of the most exciting and original voices in the comedy writing landscape,” said Kaily Smith Westbrook, CCO of SeriesFest. “We continue to be astounded by the work being created and are proud to have hosted such a strong selection of writers at SeriesFest: Season Two. Congratulations to this year’s winner, Claire Epstein.”

As part of a new program highlighting the ever-expanding storytelling frontier, SeriesFest and Interlude awarded the 48-Hour Interactive Series Jam Prize to The Day Before. Utilizing Interlude's cutting-edge interactive video medium, which enables creators to produce stories that can be actively shaped by the viewer, this two-day hackathon selected 7 groups to participate in a 48-hour creative process to conceptualize and produce a proof-of-concept. The winning team will receive $10,000 in production funds and their interactive series to premiere on Interlude’s entertainment platform Eko.  Additionally, Interlude awarded a runner-up award to Misters Perfect, which will receive $5,000 in production funds and also have the series premiere on Eko.

Below is the full list of awards presented by the SeriesFest juries:

Best Pilot in a Drama:  Farr

Jury Statement:  “The jury would like to congratulate all of the pilots in competition. The pilot we would like to recognize is Farr since we were invested in the characters and storyline. We can’t wait to see how it unfolds!”

Best Actor in a Drama:   Jarod Joseph, CODED

Best Actress in a Drama:   Kelley Gates, Takers

Best Director in a Drama:  Aidan Largey, Farr

Best Writer in a Drama:  Martin Rohé & Jan Galli, Dr. Illegal

Honorable Mention in a Drama: The Donovan of Civilization      

Jury Statement:    “The jury wanted to recognize The Donovan of Civilization for exploring creativity  beyond the limits.”

Best Pilot in a Comedy:  Truth Slash Fiction

Jury Statement:  “As a jury, we decided to recognize work that exists as a true pilot –establishing a mood, conflicts, characters, relationships and an ongoing story that would make a compelling series. With our choices, we wanted to acknowledge and recognize work that surprised us with an authentic and fresh point of view.”

Best Actor in a Comedy: Tahmoh Penikett, Riftworld Chronicles

Best Actress in a Comedy:  Jordyn DiNatale, Truth Slash Fiction

Best Director in a Comedy:  Ben Snyder & Ari Issler, The Come Up

Best Writer in a Comedy: Ben Snyder & Ari Issler, The Come Up

Honorable Mention in a Comedy: Greg Keller, The Come Up

Jury Statement:   “We chose to award Greg with an honorable mention because he was unpredictably hilarious.”

Audience Award:  Riftworld Chronicles

Virgin Produced Choice Award:


Dropping the Soap

Five Star

It’s a Hit!

Rack & Ruin

Riftworld Chronicles

Supreme Tweeter

Truth Slash Fiction

El Rey Network Diversity in Storytelling Award: Ian Verdun, Life’s a Drag

Storytellers Initiative Award:     Claire Epstein, Amazing Jane

48-Hour Interactive “Series Jam” Award:  The Day Before


  • Danny Diaz
  • Taylor Widman
  • Nick Bruso
  • Joey Lopez
  • Hanna Keller
  • Dillon Welter
  • Matt Parenti

48-Hour Interactive “Series Jam” Award Runner Up Award:  Misters Perfect


  • Travis Lindner
  • Justin Terrell
  • Nate Gust
  • Evan Sheppard

The winning pilots will screen again for free on Sunday, June 26th at the Sie FilmCenter.

SeriesFest: Season Two launched on Wednesday, June 22nd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with an Opening Night concert by Grammy and Golden Globe® nominee Sia and the North American Premiere of BBC AMERICA’s The Hunt presented by Emmy Award® winners Alastair Fothergill and Huw Cordey.

For additional information on this year’s SeriesFest, please visit

SeriesFest is an international celebration dedicated to showcasing the best new pilots from established and emerging content creators. At a time when entertainment is expanding and evolving across multiple platforms, the need for a diverse range of programming is greater than ever.  As trailblazers in independent content development, we aim to create a global marketplace for episodic storytelling. The annual SeriesFest takes place in Denver, Colorado—the birthplace of cable television—and brings together industry luminaries, emerging artists, and passionate audiences.  Season Two runs June 22–26, 2016.

SeriesFest is presented in partnership with the Denver Film Society and receives generous support from Comcast and Delta.

For more information, visit and follow @seriesfest on Twitter.