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A scene from the 2020 North Fork TV Festival, which was held drive-in style at Borghese Vineyards in response to COVID restrictions. (Photo: Courtesy North Fork TV Festival)

In its sixth year, the North Fork TV Festival has changed up the storyline. The festival, which annually hosts a competition for independent pilots seeking distribution, this year is adding a pitch forum designed to help writers turn their nascent ideas into great television.

The North Fork TV Festival, including the pitch forum, will be held August 4-6 in Greenport. The forum is the brainchild of new program director Bryce Norbitz, who brings experience running artist development programs for the Tribeca Film Festival. Norbitz, who relocated this year to East Marion, continues to oversee Tribeca’s Untold Stories program to support under-represented filmmakers and the Through Her Lens workshop for women in film.

The festival, founded by Noah Doyle, has always aimed to create a supportive community for independent creators, and organizers said this year’s version will double down on that goal. “It’s so nice to be able to do something here where I live and I love it, and we know community is very important to everyone on the North Fork,” said Norbitz.

Five writers will be selected to participate in the three-day pitch forum. They’ll receive one-on-one mentorship and pitch training from filmmakers, showrunners, agents and other experts attending the festival. (Past stars in attendance have included Kelsey Grammer, Chris Noth, Constance Wu and Assif Mandvi.) On the final day, the creators will present a 5-minute pitch of their series to an expert panel, and winners be selected.

Bryce Norbitz, program director of the North Fork TV Festival pitch forum. (Photo: Sara Austin)

In partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the pitch forum will select two projects “dedicated to exploring compelling and realistic portrayals of science, math and technology,” according to a release. Another prize, sponsored by The Gersh Agency, will go to a project that exemplifies strong character development and great storytelling.

What’s needed now is you. Applications for the forum are due May 27, and Norbitz would love to find some local talent to elevate. “I’d like for some writers out here to apply and come,” she said. “There are so many artists on the North Fork, and I’d like to find that crowd who are on the emerging level.”

Writers should apply at this link and will be asked to supply a pilot script and short treatment covering major series arcs and central characters. You can use the code NORTHFORKER to get 20% off the application fee.

In addition to the pitch forum, the pilot competition continues this year with categories including best TV pilot (drama), best TV pilot (comedy) and best web series pilot. No public showings of the winning pilots have been announced yet, but watch this space for updates.

The festival is co-chaired by Haleigh Raff, head of talent at NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. “The North Fork TV Festival prides itself on showcasing and premiering rising TV pilots and this year we are excited to continue this tradition,” she said in a statement. “The Independent Pilot Competition is the cornerstone of our event and each year, our audience is introduced to new, talented voices who are the future of content creation. We encourage you to be one of those voices and look forward to watching your pilots!”