The Disney Athena List Development Grant

The Disney Athena List Development grant is given to a writer/director of a project that is a winner or finalist of the Athena List. The winner receives a $10,000 grant that will assist them in the development of their feature-length script.

Preference will be given to candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities in film. Examples of underrepresented communities include but are not limited to people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, older women filmmakers, filmmakers in their second or third career, and others.

2024 Disney Athena List Development Grantees

SKRRT! by Gabriela Garcia Medina and Katherine Craft
When a teen girl with muscular dystrophy learns she’s been accepted into Harvard but can’t afford to go, she gathers a crew of high school frenemies to attempt an impossible car heist during Art Basel Miami.

Gabriela Garcia Medina is a Cuban-American writer/director. Her short film LITTLE CON LILI won Best of Fest at HBO Women in Comedy Festival, Best Short Contest NBC, winner of LALIFF Best Short Film, distributed HBOMax, and later optioned to Netflix . Gabriela’s short film THE 90 DAY PLAN, won Best of Fest at HBO Women in Comedy Festival (2020), Best Short Film – Powderkeg/Feigco Entertainment, official selection PBS LatinXperiene, acquired by Warner Bros OneFifty, and distributed with HBOMax. Gabriela’s musical short comedy BERTIE THE BRILLIANT was made in collaboration with WarnerBros OneFifty and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). BERTIE THE BRILLIANT premiered at the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences as part of the NFMLA IN FOCUS: LatinX & Hispanic Cinema. It screened at OUTFEST: Fusion Family Day, LA PRIDE (presented by NFMLA) , PBS Shorts Film Festival,  Hollyshorts, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, and distributed with PBS. Gabriela’s feature film LITTLE CON LILI was Top 5 on the LatinX List (The Black List) and is in development with Mandalay Pictures.

Gabriela is the NFMLA 2023 Filmmaker of the Year, a Rideback Rise fellow (2023-2024). She is an Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences Film Accelerator fellow, a Film Independent Directing Lab fellow, and a Hedgebrook Screenwriting Lab fellow. Gabriela received her BFA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, with a major in Theater, and a double minor in Chicano/a Studies and African American Studies. She holds two MFA degrees from California Institute of the Arts. Prior to being a filmmaker, Gabriela was a spoken word poet. She has performed at over 1000 colleges/universities and has opened the stage for artists including Pitbull, Mos Def, and the Black-Eyed Peas, as well as for political figures including Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters.

Katherine Craft is a born and raised Texan with low vision who has been known to introduce herself multiple times to the same person at a party. She has extensive experience as a playwright and theatre maker – she has an MFA in Screenwriting from the  University of Texas at Austin, and holds an MA in Applied Drama from Goldsmiths College at the University of London. She’s the creator and writer of the Audible Original series Shaky, currently in production and slated to premiere spring 2024. She also wrote on the Emmy-nominated Apple TV+ series Best Foot Forward and is the creator and writer of the Snap Original Series Kappa Crypto, an NBC/Snap production.

She received an HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, and her pilot Halfway, written as part of the program,  premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. She has written and produced several short narrative films, including June, which won first place in the HBO 2018 Asian Pacific American Visionaries showcase, and Charlotte and Charlie, which was a finalist in the 2019 PBS Online Film Festival.  She also founded Conspire Theatre, a nonprofit that uses theatre to work with women during and after incarceration, and was a teaching artist for arts education organizations in Austin, Chicago, and London. She was the Hotline Coordinator for the Lilith Fund, an abortion fund in Austin, TX, for six years. She currently splits her time between LA and Austin.


Inaugural Disney Athena List Development Grantee (2023) 

Laylayon by Nic Yulo
When a pragmatic retired nurse is forced to relocate her American-born family to her ancestral home in a cursed village buried deep within the Philippine jungle, she discovers that she must face the ghosts of her past or risk losing her children forever.’Nic Yulo is an author-illustrator and writer-director based in NYC. Her work has received an Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Award, a Breaking Barriers Grant for Female Directors, an Adobe Design Achievement Award, a Chinonye Chukwu Emerging Writer Award, and been featured at the Sloan Film Summit presented by Film Independent. A Columbia University M.F.A Film Program graduate and a NYWIFT Scholarship Awardee, she has been twice-selected to attend the Athena Film Festival Writers Lab, named a 2021 SFFILM Rainin Grant Finalist, a Finalist for SeriesFest’s Women Writing Competition in partnership with Kyra Sedgwick’s Big Swing Productions, and a Top 15 semi-finalist for SeriesFest’s Women Directing Mentorship in partnership with Shondaland. I

n 2021, Nic was inducted, as a game writer, into the BAFTA Newcomers Program. She is also a BAFTA Vance Byrd Mentor and a juror for the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards. Nic is a writer for Ubisoft’s AAA game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, and its Splinter Cell, Terminator, Rainbow Six Siege, and later episodes. Nic is a current winner of Athena Film Festival’s 2023 Athena List and the Inaugural Disney Development Grant for her Philippine Gothic horror feature Laylayon. Nic’s author-illustrator debut, Patch of Sky, sold in a four-house auction and was published by Dial Books for Young Readers. Her second book, Out of the Blue, will be released in the summer of 2023, also by DBFYR, an imprint of Penguin Random House.



The Disney Athena List Development Grant is sponsored by