Current Student Anika Benkov Participates in New York Stage and Film Company’s Filmmaker’s Workshop

BY Felix van Kann, July 31, 2020

The Bitter Pill, a feature film project written by current student Anika Benkov, was chosen to participate in New York Stage and Film Company's Filmmaker's Workshop. Benkov is one of 14 filmmakers to be selected to the prestigious program and will participate in one-on-one mentorship, round table discussions with industry leaders, and close collaboration with the other members of the group in the development process of their script.


The Bitter Pill is a romantic-comedy-gone-wrong between an internet misogynist and a radical feminist who used to be childhood best friends, and reunite as failed young adults, living in their parents' basements, and working at Whole Foods.


"The Bitter Pill is about a young man undergoing a crisis of masculinity,” Benkov said in a statement. “It's a dark comedy that deals with themes of hate, shame, misogyny, mental illness, sadomasochism and friendship.” Benkov also expressed gratitude for the award. “I feel so lucky to take part in a program that really supports new artists and their voices, as well as honored to be included amongst its very talented participants.”

Anika Benkov is a nonbinary playwright, filmmaker and performer based in NYC. They come to film through documentary, theatre, and creative fiction. In addition to being workshopped via NYSAF Filmmaker's Workshop, The Bitter Pill was a semifinalist for the Sundance Development Lab. Benkov has also been selected for a JFI (Jewish Film Institute) Completion Grant for their short film, The Binding of Itzik, and has had their pilot selected for the Sloan Screenplay Mentorship program at Columbia University.


“For me, good writing is about facing fears and naming problems that we're so uncomfortable with, they've become unspeakable to us,” Benkov said. 


The Filmmakers' Workshop serves a specially curated group of film and TV writers each year. It focuses on fresh, ambitious work and prepares writers for success in a competitive industry. The Workshop’s process-oriented approach mirrors its celebrated development of new plays and musicals. This year, the program has been redesigned as a virtual workshop to provide even deeper engagement and creative solutions, and for early-career screenwriters and TV writers during a time of uncertainty. It will run through 2020-21, with weekly virtual engagement through the fall, culminating in a summer residency during the 2021 Powerhouse Season.