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by Brian Brooks
April 26, 2010 5:55 AM
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Sundance Names 13 for June Directors & Screenwriting Labs

On the set of "The Strength of Water" near the Sundance resort. Image courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Thirteen projects were selected by the Sundance Institute for its June Directors and Screenwriters Labs, taking place at the Sundance Resort in Utah June 1 - 25. Spearheaded by Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Feature Film Program, and Artistic Director Gyula Gazdag, this year's crop of participants include projects hailing from the United States, Ireland, the Middle East, Romania, Spain and Uzbekistan.

Over the course of the Directors Lab, the Fellows work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors and professional production crews, shooting and editing key scenes from their screenplays. Described as an "intense hands-on process," the selected Fellows workshop text, collaborate with actors with the aim of developing a visual language for their film. Directors Lab Fellows also join in the week-long Screenwriters Lab with five additional projects to participate in individualized story sessions under the guidance of established screenwriters.

This year's Creative Advisors include Robert Redford, Allison Anders, John August, Ronan Bennett, Walter Bernstein, Caleb Deschanel, John Gatins, Michael Goldenberg, Keith Gordon, Randa Haines, Ed Harris, Michael Hoffman, Elizabeth Kling, Christine Lahti, Doug McGrath, Peter Medak, Walter Mosley, Jeremy Pikser, Howard Rodman, Ira Sachs, Susan Shilliday, Brad Silberling, Elena Soarez, Stewart Stern, Joan Tewkesbury, Audrey Wells, and Tyger Williams.

The participants and projects selected for the 2010 Directors Lab (with descriptions provided by Sundance Institute:

"40 Days of Silence" by Saodat Ismailova (writer/director), Uzbekistan: Four generations of women under one roof in Uzbekistan look to each other for comfort as they try to overcome their destinies.

"Bluebird" by Lance Edmands (writer/director), USA: In the frozen woods of an isolated Maine logging town, one woman’s tragic mistake leads to unexpected consequences, shattering the delicate balance of her community.

"Drunktown's Finest" by Sydney Freeland (writer/director), USA: Three Native Americans - a rebellious father-to-be, a devout Christian, and a promiscuous transsexual - find their self-images challenged, and ultimately strengthened, as they come of age on an Indian reservation.

"Martha Marcy May Marlene" by Sean Durkin (writer/director), USA: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

"My Favorite Nightmare" by Myna Joseph (writer/director), USA: A willful teenager, pregnant with her cousin’s child, travels to New York for an abortion, only to discover that her unpredictable father has followed her.

"The Perfect Moment" by Ondi Timoner (director) and Bruce Goodrich (writer), USA: A compelling look at the life of notorious New York photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, "The Perfect Moment" chronicles his extraordinary relationship with singer/songwriter Patti Smith, his complex, tortured sexuality, and illuminates the impact his singular art made on our culture.

"The Ruined Cast" by Dash Shaw (writer/director), USA: Told with hand-drawn animation, a disconnected family is thrown into chaos when the scientist father loses the test subject of his experiment with appearance-altering technology.

"Shelter" by Kasem Kharsa (writer/director), Egypt/USA: When an Iraqi refugee is wrongfully accused of war crimes, he must piece together his muddled memories in order to save himself, unaware that one of his victims, a Gypsy orphan, is slowly hunting him down.


The participants and projects joining the directors at the 2010 June Screenwriters Lab (with descriptions provided by Sundance Institute):

"Aqui Y Alli" (Here and There) by Antonio Méndez Esparza (writer/director), Spain/USA: In this unexpected take on the traditional immigrant story, a man returns home to his small village in Mexico, hoping desperately to make enough of a living there to support his family and avoid an uncertain future back in the United States.

"Nobody Walks" by Ry Russo-Young (co-writer/director) and Lena Dunham (co-writer), USA: When a driven young artist invades the home and family of a Hollywood sound designer helping her finish her first film, their professional connection triggers a sexual and emotional entanglement that lays bare the needs, narcissism, and questionable morality of everyone involved.

"Run and Jump" by Steph Green (co-writer/director) and Alibhe Keogan (co-writer): When her husband returns home after suffering a stroke that has left his personality fundamentally changed, a spirited Irish woman struggles to rebuild her family while finding comfort in an American ethnographer sent to document the recovery process.

"Wolf" by Bogdan Mustata (writer/director), Romania: In this surreal tale, a young boy's dearest wish is realized when his absent father is quite literally reborn and joins the family once again.

"Zero Motivation" by Talya Lavie (writer/director), Israel: A sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.

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