Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for its next prestigious
Screenwriters Lab, which takes place Jan. 10-15 at the Sundance Resort
in Utah. The annual workshops give selected films a leg up in the
independent film community in terms of financing and representation and
make them likely candidates for the institute’s signature film festival,
also in January.
Recent fellows include Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”), Haifaa Al Mansour (“Wadjda”), Andrew Dosunmu (“Mother of George”), David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) and Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”).
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said in a statement, “The Sundance Institute Labs provide an environment that fosters innovation and creative risk-taking to allow artists to really take chances and push themselves and their work. The Labs are the first step in support programs that provides critical year-round and ongoing resources for some of the most talented and innovative independent artists working today.”
Dustin Lance Black, Naomi Foner, John Gatins, Michael Goldenberg, Erik Jendresen, Patty Jenkins and Quentin Tarantino are among next year’s creative advisors.
The projects and Fellows selected for the 2014 January Screenwriters Lab are (info courtesy of the Sundance Institute):
The Buried Life (U.S.A.)
Joan Stein Schimke and Averie Storck (co-writers/co-directors)
archaeologist risks her reputation for the dig of her career, but when
her rock ‘n’ roll sister and overbearing father follow her to the
excavation, she discovers her biggest challenge is facing what’s above
ground. Recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, given to a project that explores science and technology themes and characters.
Joan Stein Schimke was nominated for an Academy Award® for her short film One Day Crossing, which
won several other awards including the Directors Guild of America (DGA)
Best Woman Student Filmmaker, Best Director, National Board of Review
and the Student Academy Award® Gold Medal. Other directing credits
include Law and Order and the short film Solidarity,
which screened at over a dozen festivals including the New York Film
Festival. Stein Schimke is an MFA graduate of Columbia University’s Film
Program and is currently an Associate Professor at Adelphi University
in New York.
Averie Storck is an MFA graduate of Columbia University’s Film Program. Her award-winning short films include Live at Five ,
which won the New Line Cinema Development Award and screened at more
than 30 international film festivals. Prior to filmmaking, Storck worked
for People and Vogue magazines, was a writer for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,
and studied improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. She
currently teaches and directs at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The Father’s Shadow (Brazil)
Gabriela Amaral Almeida (writer/director)
nine year-old girl with strange powers and an obsession with horror
films attempts to bring her mother back from the dead as a means of
connecting with her sick father.
Gabriela Amaral Almeida is a Brazilian screenwriter and director. She is the writer/director of six short films, including The Comforting Hand and A Springtime.
Almeida holds an M.A. in literature and horror cinema and majored in
screenwriting at EICTV, Cuba. She has written for the directors Walter
Salles and Cao Hamburger.
Nicole Riegel (writer)
her rescue as an American P.O.W. in the Iraq war, Jessica Lynch embarks
on a quest to uncover the truth of her captivity; in her fight to
reclaim her personal narrative, she discovers a deeper identity.
Riegel is originally from Ohio and is now based in Los Angeles. Prior
to writing, she served as a soldier in the United States Army. Last year
she adapted Robert Boswell’s short story Smoke for James Franco’s company, Rabbit Bandini. She is a 2013 graduate of the UCLA MFA Graduate Film Program.
Ryan Koo (writer/director)
talented basketball player gets nationally ranked and must choose
between schools, coaches, and belief systems—all at the age of 13. Recipient
of the A3 Foundation Fellowship, given to a filmmaker or project that
furthers the Asian American voice in independent film.
Ryan Koo’s latest short film Amateur can be viewed free online at manchildfilm.com. Amateur is the prequel to the forthcoming feature Manchild,
which has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, and the
Film Society of Lincoln Center. For his “urban western” web series The West Side, Koo and co-director Zack Lieberman won the Webby Award for Best Drama Series and were named two of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film. Koo is also the founder of the website No Film School, which won Total Film’s Best Creative Blog award.
Night Comes On (U.S.A.)
Jordana Spiro (co-writer/director) and Angelica Nwandu (co-writer)
is released from juvenile hall on her 18th birthday with a single
focus: shoot the man who killed her mother. As her rebellious past and
empty future confront her at every turn, her plans derail and Angel
becomes what she wanted and feared.
Jordana Spiro is a writer, director, and actress currently finishing her MFA in Film at Columbia University. Her short film Skin won
the Women in Film Grant at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, an
Honorable Mention Award at SXSW, and was shown at Telluride, Palm
Springs, and AFI among others. As an actress, she has starred in
numerous films and television shows.
from Nigeria, Angelica Nwandu has traveled around the world as an
advocate for foster youth after her own 12 years experience living in
foster care. A recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, she
developed a passion for writing with the hope of being a clear voice for
children in the system. She currently tours nationwide to perform her
Spoken Word Poetry.
Sofia Exarchou (writer/director)
years have passed, and the Olympic Village in Athens, Greece is in
decay. Among the abandoned athletic facilities and new-money tourist
resorts nearby, 16-year-old Dimitris and his friends traverse Greece’s
“glorious” past with the decadence of today, creating a portrait of a
society unprepared for the brutal fall.
Sofia Exarchou is the writer-director of the short films Mesecina and Distance.
She pursued post-graduate studies in Toulouse and at the Stella Adler
Studio in New York. Exarchou is based in Athens, where she received
degrees in Electrical Engineering and Film Studies. Park, whichhas
been developed with the support of the Centre Nationale de la
Cinematographie (CNC, France) & the Eurimages Council of Europe, is
her first feature film.
Patti Cake$ (U.S.A.)
Geremy Jasper (writer/director)
Baccio, aka Patti Cake$, is a big girl with a big mouth and big dreams
of rap superstardom. Stuck in Lodi, New Jersey, Patti battles an army of
haters as she strives to break the mold and take over the game.
Jasper is a music video and commercial director, composer, and
co-founder of the progressive New York production studio LEGS. With his
wife and creative partner Georgie Greville, he has directed VMA
nominated videos for Florence + The Machine, Selena Gomez and others,
and his direction for the “Target Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular” won
a Cannes Gold Lion, TED Prize and was inducted into the MOMA’s
permanent collection. A New Jersey native, he was a recording artist for
Kemado/Hollywood records. Patti Cake$ is his first feature film.
Stranger with a Camera (U.S.A./Northern Ireland)
Oorlagh George (writer/director)
this dramatic thriller, an American girl is stranded in a remote
village in Northern Ireland after her father is arrested on a
20-year-old murder charge tied to the IRA. Compelled by her father’s
secrecy, she sets out to uncover the mysterious family history that he
has kept hidden from her
George is an award-winning filmmaker and artist from Northern Ireland.
In 2012, she won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short for
producing The Shore,
which won over 40 awards in festivals and was released in cinemas
worldwide. George worked as a creative executive and in production on
films such as Beginners and Hotel Rwanda. Her new video installation, OFF SIDES, opens at The Golden Thread Gallery in February.
Swiss Army Man (U.S.A.)
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (co-writers/co-directors)
this absurdist comedy, a hopeless man stranded in the wilderness
befriends a dead body and together they go on a journey to get home.
some Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert are better known as DANIELS, a
directing duo who have made uniquely strange, occasionally award winning
music videos over the past four years for bands like Foster the People,
The Shins, and Battles. They’ve also dabbled in television work for
Adult Swim, directing commercials, and a slew of internet friendly short
films about sweating to death, skateboarding on dogs, and the dangers
of having pockets on your clothes and stuff. They both currently live
and work in Los Angeles. But to be honest, Daniel does most of the work.
Ten Thousand Happiness (U.S.A./China)
Johnny Ma (writer/director)
sudden divorce of their 80-year-old grandfather causes three
generations of a Chinese family to each re-evaluate their relationships
in love, life and happiness in modern Beijing.
Ma was born in Shanghai China and immigrated to Toronto at age 10,
where he learned his first English sentence “Can I play?” He is a DGA
and National Board of Review student-award winning director and a recent
graduate from the Columbia University MFA program. His most recent
short film A Grand Canal screened
at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Other than filmmaking,
Ma enjoys teaching cats how to play fetch like dogs.
We the Animals (U.S.A.)
Jeremiah Zagar (co-writer/director) and Dan Kitrosser (co-writer)
Based on the bestselling novel by Justin Torres, We the Animals
is about the brutal love of a multi-racial working class family, seen
through the eyes of the youngest son, as he discovers his heritage, his
sexuality and his madness.
Jeremiah Zagar is the co-founder of Public Record, a production company in Brooklyn. His documentary, In A Dream, screened theatrically across the US and was broadcast on HBO. His newest film CAPTIVATED: The Trials of Pamela Smart, will premiere in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and air on HBO in 2014.
Dan Kitrosser is an award-winning writer and storyteller living in Manhattan. His plays include The Mumblings (published on IndieTheaterNow.com), Tar Baby, which will go on a national tour in 2014, and the upcoming Dead Special Crabs.
Weather Talk (Chile)
Marcella Said (writer/director)
tells the story of a 40-year-old married woman who realizes the extreme
violence surrounding her once she befriends her horse riding teacher, a
former army colonel who was involved in human rights violations in
Said was born in Santiago, Chile. She graduated from the Catholic
University of Santiago with a degree in Aesthetics, and received her
master’s degree in Media & Language at La Sorbonne University. After
four documentary films, including El Mocito, which screened at the Berlinale Forum in 2011, she directed her first fiction feature The Summer of Flying Fish, which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.