Film Independent has launched a new seven-week Documentary Lab, with 14 filmmakers and nine projects participating. The main focus of the program: assist documentary filmmakers on their works-in-progress and provide creative feedback.
Lab mentors include slated to take part include Laura Gabbert ("No Impact Man"), Scott Hamilton Kennedy ("The Garden"), Doug Pray ("Art & Copy"), AJ Schnack ("Convention"), Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer Caroline Libresco, and producers Heather Rae ("Frozen River") and Eddie Schmidt ("Troubadours"). Guest speakers include filmmakers Jen Arnold ("A Small Act"), Jeff Malmberg ("Marwencol"), Chicken & Egg’s Julie Benello, Paradigm Consulting’s Peter Broderick, Donaldson & Callif LLP’s Michael Donaldson, Latino Public Broadcasting’s Luis Ortiz, and ITVS’ Richard Saiz.
The 2011 Documentary Lab filmmakers and their projects are (synopses provided by Film Independent):
1. "Above the Fold, Roberto Gudiño
A one-hour documentary about a group of young Latino journalists who responded to negative portrayals of Latinos in the Los Angeles Times by writing their own stories. Working against the resistance of their editors, they were vindicated in 1984 when they became the first Latino group to win the Pulitzer Prize.
2. "Call Me Kuchu," Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhail-Worrall
Four LGBT Ugandans fight for justice and freedom on the frontlines of Africa’s gay rights movement. At once tragic and hopeful, this is their story.
3. "Gravity," Marah Stauch
This is the awe-inspiring and touching love story of Carl and Jean Boenish, a young couple who invented the sport of B.A.S.E. jumping.
4. "The Light in Her Eyes," Julia Meltzer, Laura Nix
In a world rarely seen by outsiders, Houda al-Habash empowers women by teaching Qur’an at her mosque in Damascus, Syria. The story of one summer at Houda’s school reveals why women are choosing Islam in a rapidly changing world.
5. "The Road to Nasiriyah," Marie-Hélène Carleton, Micah Garen
This film is the extraordinary journey of two American filmmakers documenting the unprecedented looting of archeological sites following the 2003 Iraq war. This documentary is a story of passion; it is a poetic meditation on post-war Iraq and an intellectual thriller that ends in a dramatic kidnapping.
6. "Sick Mick and the Boys," José Asunción, Brian Davis
This film tells the story of the Charlton brothers in their pursuit to break the motorcycle land speed record. Once estranged by prison, drugs and unemployment, the four brothers band together to build a jet-powered motorcycle in their Cleveland garage.
7. "STRAND: A Natural History of Cinema," Christian Bruno, Natalija Vekic
What does it mean to go to the movies? Through an examination of the repertory and revival era in San Francisco, this documentary explores this question while uncovering the hidden history of one of the richest moments in film going.
8. "Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary," PJ Raval
This film captures the experiences of several LGBTQ seniors as they navigate the adventures, challenges and surprises of their “golden years.”
9. "We Women Warriors," Nicole Karsin
This film follows three brave and remarkable native women in Colombia as they nonviolently defend their autonomy amid ongoing warfare.