Fresh off a slew of announcements, the Sundance Institute has unveiled its twelve projects selected for the annual January Screenwriters Lab, a five-day writers’ workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensely on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers.
This year’s crop of filmmakers, who will be gathering at the Sundance Resort in Utah from January 14-19, are a diverse bunch. Almost evenly split between men and women, they all hail from various regions throughout the world, including the U.S., Mexico, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The creative advisors slated to work with the fellows meanwhile include: Lab Artistic Director Scott Frank, Tony Drazan, Naomi Foner, Susannah Grant, John Lee Hancock, Kasi Lemmons, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Malia Scotch Marmo, Jessie Nelson, Scott Neustadter, Howard Rodman, Ira Sachs, Jennifer Salt, Susan Shilliday, Zach Sklar, Elena Soarez, and Tyger Williams.
“I’m thrilled we are supporting such a diverse group of filmmakers who are bringing audiences into worlds they know intimately and exploring contemporary issues in unexpected and challenging ways,” said Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program in a statement. “These artists are pushing the envelope, delving into the personal and the political, and showcasing their robust individual voices and singular visions with work that is incredibly exciting in a wide spectrum of genres.”
The projects selected for the 2011 January Screenwriters Lab are (synopses provided by the 2011 Sundance Film Festival) :
“Adelaide” / Liliana Greenfield-Sanders (writer/director), U.S.A.
Desperately seeking the attention of her parents, a teenage girl looking for love begins to induce medical emergencies, striking up an unusual relationship with the paramedic who repeatedly comes to her rescue in this indie comedy.
“Adelyne” / Holden Abigail Osborne (writer/director), U.S.A.
A self-reliant country woman is drawn out of her cloistered world when family crisis rears its head.
“confederacy” / Jody Lee Lipes (co-writer/director) and Jeffrey Peixoto (co-writer), U.S.A.
In 1858, Brother Asa Candler signs the sacred covenant of the Shaker community at Pleasant Hill—deception, lust, violence, and all manner of sin will surely follow.
“Eyes of a Thief” / Najwa Najjar (writer/director), Palestinian territories
Returning to his hometown after being imprisoned for 7 years following the Palestinian uprising of 2002, a man searches for the son he never knew and discovers that peace does not necessarily equate with the absence of war.
“Imperial Dreams” / Malik Vitthal (co-writer/director) and Ismet Prcic (co-writer), U.S.A.
Two exceptional young black men from the Imperial Courts projects in Watts find out the hard way that just being American and capable of dreaming doesn’t make them eligible for the American Dream.
“In What City Does It Live?” / Seng Tat Liew (writer/director), Malaysia
The unexpected presence of an African immigrant hiding in a small Malaysian village arouses the superstitions of the local residents, calling into question whether home is defined by the place you live or by the people who surround you.
“La Raya” / Yolanda Cruz (writer/director), Mexico, U.S.A.
Destined to follow in the footsteps of the other men in his village, enterprising 11-year-old Papio has his heart set on emigrating north to the U.S.; after an abandoned refrigerator fortuitously appears, he tries to exploit its value to finance his journey, only to find that it may not ultimately be his destiny to leave.
“Little Accidents” / Sara Colangelo (writer/director), U.S.A.
A small American coal-mining town, rocked by the devastating effects of a mining accident, must now deal with the mysterious disappearance of a 13-year-old boy.
“On Evil” / Carlo Mirabella-Davis (writer/director), U.S.A.
A rural family is plunged into chaos and violence by the return of their unstable daughter 21 years after her mysterious disappearance.
“Providence” / Yaelle Kayam (writer/director), Israel
In this ironic tale of the unsettling routine of a religious and illegal settlement in a lawless territory, 33-year-old Johanna comes from New Jersey to the West Bank, looking for love in all the wrong places.
“Stem” / Diane Bell (writer/director), Scotland, U.S.A.
After her mother suffers a heart attack, a stem cell researcher returns to her birthplace on a journey that challenges her belief in the predetermination of life.
“The Western Habit” / Ian Olds (co-writer/director) and Paul Felten (co-writer), U.S.A.
An Afghan journalist, exiled from his war-torn home to a small community in Northern California, struggles to find a new life for himself in the face of a low-paying job on the local police blotter, a meddling avant-garde theater director, and a sexually charged relationship with his roommate, who also happens to be the town sheriff.