Eric Heisserer is a screenwriter and author. Most recently, he wrote the Netflix hit thriller Bird Box starring Sandra Bullock. He is the creator and showrunner for Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, season one based on the bestselling fantasy novels of Leigh Bardugo. He recently signed a first look deal with Paramount under his Chronology production banner and as such, will produce the English language re-imagining of the Paraguayan thriller Morgue, written, produced and directed by Hugo Cardozo, who will executive produce the project with his producing partner Guido Rud.
He earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for his film Arrival, which opened to box office and critical success and earned him many other accolades, including a WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Directed by Denis Villeneuve from Heisserer’s Black List script. Arrival starred Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and the sci-fi thriller was based on the short story by acclaimed author Ted Chiang.
Prior to Arrival, Heisserer wrote the hit horror film Lights Out, based on the short film by David Sandberg, was a box office and critical hit. Sandberg directed Lights Out and Lawrence Grey, James Wan and Heisserer were all producers on the project.
Heisserer made his directorial debut with the film Hours, which he also wrote, starring Paul Walker and Genesis Rodriguez.
Eric will be judging the Sci-Fi Feature category.
Herschel Weingrod has been a Los Angeles based screenwriter and producer for over 35 years. His credits include Trading Places, Brewster’s Millions, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Falling Down and Space Jam. He’s a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Herschel will be judging the Comedy Feature category.
Dayo Adesokan was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where he spent his childhood watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air re-runs. When he was seven, his family won the Visa Lottery at next to nothing odds and moved to Chicago, Illinois. Growing up an outsider, he developed an early affinity for comedy. His first voicemail greeting was a two-minute clip from Eddie Murphy’s “Ice Cream Man” bit. Callers were not pleased. After earning degrees in Business & Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, he went on to work at a Finance Firm, covertly listening to comedy albums at work and performing stand-up at night. When he told his office he was quitting to pursue stand-up and comedy writing full-time, his boss gave him $11,000 to go pursue his dream. When he told his parents, they scheduled an intervention with their Prophetess, who gave a prophecy saying he was making a mistake. That year, his first script was a Finalist in the 2012 Austin Film Festival. In 2013, he was accepted into the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and moved from New York to Los Angeles on ten days notice. After the program, he worked as a Showrunner’s Assistant on The Game and Being Mary Jane. Shortly thereafter, he was admitted into the 2016 Disney-ABC Writing Program. He has since written on Freeform’s Young & Hungry, ABC’s Downward Dog, IFC’s NGO, and NBC’s Superstore. These days, he and Prophetess rarely speak.
Dayo will be judging the Comedy Pilot category.