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by Ben Travers
June 19, 2013 2:51 PM
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Sundance Institute Chooses Directing & Editing Teams to Participate in Documentary Labs This Summer

Robert Redford is the President & Founder of the Sundance Institute

The 2013 Documentary and Story Edit lab experience at the Sundance Institute has been filled by 22 lucky fellows representing nine documentary film projects. Taking place from June 21-29 and July 5-13 in Sundance, Utah, the sessions allow each two-to-three person directing and editing team to receive guidance from veteran documentary filmmakers as they attempt to finish their projects. The goal of the staff is to support creative risk-taking around issues of story, dramatic structure and character development.

"Sundance Institute provides support to film projects at all moments in their lifecycle, and our Documentary Edit and Story Labs focus specifically on critical moments of postproduction," said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. "As with all of our Labs, we are grateful to the Fellows for sharing their work with us and to the Creative Advisors for their generous and innumerable contributions  to our Fellows’ projects.”

Editors serving as Creative Advisors for the first session are Mary Lampson ("Harlan County USA"), Mary Manhardt ("American Promise"), Jonathan Oppenheim ("The Oath") and Richard Hankin ("God Loves Uganda"), while the directors include Carol Dysinger ("One Bullet Afghanistan") and Ross McElwee ("Photographic Memory"). The July session will host Victor Livingston ("Crumb"), Kate Amend ("Birth Story"), Jean Tsien ("Drivers Wanted") and Tom Haneke ("American Teen") as editing advisors and Carol Dysinger ("One Bullet Afghanistan") and Robb Moss ("Secrecy") as directing advisers.

Take a gander at the full list of selected fellows and their films below: 

A Blind Eye (U.S.)

Director: Kirsten Johnson

Editor: Amanda Laws

The voice of an American camerawoman explores the nature of cinematography and what she has failed to see while filming in Afghanistan through her encounters with two Afghan teenagers. Najeeb, a one-eyed boy, struggles to hide what really haunts him, while a bold teenage girl must decide how much she will risk to be visible. A U.S. Military surveillance blimp in the sky over Kabul tracks their every move.

Elephant in the Room (U.S.)

Co-directors and Editor: Ed Pincus, Lucia Small

Producer: Mary Kerr

Two filmmakers of different generations turn the camera on each other to explore friendship, legacy, loss and living with terminal illness. Told from two points of view,Elephant in the Room offers a unique, raw, personal glimpse into a creative partnership and the difficulty of capturing the preciousness of life.

The Last Hijack (U.S., Netherlands)

Co-directors: Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting

Editor: Edgar Burcksen

Mohamed, an experienced Somali pirate, assembles his team to conduct his final hijacking. Increasing pressure from his family and future wife to quit an increasingly dangerous profession provide the backdrop for this dramatic tale about survival in a failed state.

Street Fighting Man (U.S.)

Director: Andrew James

Editor: Jason Tippet

In a new America where the promise of education, safety and shelter are in jeopardy, three Detroit men fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations.

Totonel (Romania)

Director: Alexander Nanau

Editor: Mirceau Olteanu

What happens when we discover that we can get more from life than our parents have to offer?

An African Spring (U.S.)

Director: Elizabeth ‘Chai’ Vasarhelyi

Editor: Jay Freund

In the Spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement erupted to protect one of Africa’s oldest and most stable democracies.

The Homestretch (U.S.)

Co-Directors: Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly

Editor: Leslie Simmer

Four homeless teenagers brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school, and life alone on the streets to build a brighter future. Against all odds, these kids defy stereotypes as they learn to reach out for help and create new, surprising definitions of home.           

Rich Hill (U.S.)

Co-directors: Tracy Draz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo

Editor: Jim Hession

Rich Hill chronicles the turbulent lives of three boys living in a dying Midwestern town, witnessing their struggles up close as they fight to have self-worth, a sense of belonging and a family bond. Despite deep need, these boys still have hope. There is still the dream of transformation: that cycles of poverty can be broken, that love will sustain, that hard work will be rewarded, and that even they can live the American dream.

Strong Island (U.S.)

Director: Yance Ford

Editor: Shannon Kennedy

Haunted by the violent death for over 20 years, Strong Island is the director’s meditation on loss, the impact of grief over time and the illusive meaning of “justice.”

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