Six Selected for Second Year Sundance Annenberg Fellowship
by Eugene Hernandez
Six filmmakers have been named the second annual Annenberg Film Fellows by the Sundance Institute. Hilary Brougher, D.W. Harper, David Kaplan, Stew, Elisabeth Subrin and Taika Waititi, participants in this year's Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program, have been chosen to receive a combination of personal stipends, residencies and creative support. The program marks a five year commitment by Annenberg and Sundance, valued at $5 million.
"These six filmmakers embody the very spirit of the Sundance Institute; they're original, imaginative and wonderfully talented," said Ken Brecher, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute. "We all know how difficult it is to bring films from the page to the screen, but as recipients of Annenberg Film Fellowships, these filmmakers will find it easier to focus on their filmmaking - which, after all, is exactly what they should be doing."
Aimed at fostering a new generation talent, the Annenberg Film Fellows Program offers a range of support. "By providing financial support in the form of assistance grants at critical moments in a film's development, pre-production, and completion, we expect that three features from the first group will start production this year," said Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, Michelle Satter in a statement.
Last year's Annenberg Fellows included Aditya Assarat for "Hi-So," Sterlin Harjo for "Four Sheets to the Wind," Emily Hubley for "The Toe Tactic," Kazuo Ohno for "Mr. Crumpacker and the Man From the Letter," and Alex Rivera for "The Sleep Dealer."
Details of the 2005 Annenberg Fellows and their projects follows (information provided by Sundance Institute):
Hilary Brougher: "Stephanie Daley"
Hilary Brougher grew up in upstate New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she lives today. In 1997, she wrote and directed her first feature, "The Sticky Fingers of Time." The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, played numerous festivals, and was distributed in the U.S. by Strand Releasing. Brougher developed "Stephanie Daley" at the Screenwriters and Directors Labs.
In "Stephanie Daley," pregnant forensic psychologist Lydie Crane is hired to learn the truth behind the case of 16-year-old Stephanie Daley, who is accused of concealing her pregnancy and murdering her infant.
D.W. Harper: "Dreamland"
Los Angeles resident D.W. Harper is an independent filmmaker, video artist, and co-founder of CLC Films. His first feature, "The Delicate Art of the Rifle," has become an indie cult classic, winning numerous international awards and garnering considerable critical praise. In addition to projects in film, he is currently teaching and completing an MFA at the UCSD School of Visual Arts, as well as working as an artist-in-residence at the UCSB Professional Artists Lab. Harper will bring "Dreamland" to the upcoming June Directors/Screenwriters Labs.
"Dreamland" is an unflinching portrayal of the origins of domestic terrorism telling the tragic story of Tim McVeigh, from his boyhood dreams of being a soldier to his life as a man at war with his own country.
David Kaplan: "Year of the Fish"
New York resident David Kaplan has made several short films, including "Little Red Riding Hood," starring Christina Ricci and Quentin Crisp, which premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, was shown in theatres and on television throughout the world, and received numerous international awards. His most recent film, the computer-animated "LOVEDEATH," was commissioned for Lincoln Center's 2003 New York Video Festival. Kaplan has been supported at the Screenwriters and Directors Labs and received his MFA from NYU's Graduate Film School.
Using cutting-edge animation, "Year of the Fish" is a contemporary retelling of the Cinderella story set in the underbelly of New York City's Chinatown.
Stew: "We Can See Today"
Stew is a Los-Angeles based critically acclaimed singer/songwriter whose releases have won numerous "Album of the Year" accolades. Stew's musical-in-progress, "Passing Strange" (co-created with Heidi Rodewald and director Annie Dorsen), which was commissioned by the Public Theater of New York, has been invited for the second year to the upcoming Sundance Theatre Lab. He is presently an artist-in-residence at California Institute of the Arts where he is developing an original musical for its Theater School. Stew will develop "We Can See Today" (co-written by Heide Rodewald) at the upcoming June Directors/Screenwriters Labs as his directorial feature debut.
"We Can See Today" is the vibrant and authentic story of the deeply intimate and complex relationship between two families - one black, one Jewish - living in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles circa 1973.
Elisabeth Subrin: "Up"
New York resident Elisabeth Subrin's award-winning trilogy of experimental biographies have screened widely in the United States and abroad at venues including the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Whitney Biennial. Her work has been featured in solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna International Film Festival, the Film Center at the Art Institute of Chicago, and many universities and art centers internationally. A 2002-2003 Guggenheim Fellow, Subrin is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She developed UP at the Screenwriters and Directors Labs.
In "Up," an opportunity to join the fast-paced world of a dot.com has unforeseen repercussions for a young woman when it triggers a spectacular manic-depressive cycle, causing her to "crash" just as the company collapses in the stock market fallout.
Taika Waititi: "Something Beginning With Love"
Taika Waititi has been recognized internationally for his shortfilm "Two Cars, One Night," which was nominated for an Oscar in the Live Action category in the 2005 Academy Awards. His latest short, "Tama Tu," screened this year at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it received an honorable mention; the Berlin International Film Festival, where it received a special jury prize; and at the Aspen Shortsfest, where it received a special award for its originality. Taika is of Te Whanau-A-Apanui descent, from the east coast of New Zealand. He will develop his first feature project "Something Beginning With Love" at the upcoming June Directors/Screenwriters Labs.
"Something Beginning With Love" is an unconventional comedy about two awkward misfits, for whom life is the question, and love is the answer.