Sundance Sets Slate of 12 Projects for January Screenwriters Lab
by Eugene Hernandez
Twelve projects are set for the 2004 Sundance January Screenwriters Lab, which will run January 9-14 at the Sundance Village in Utah. Participating as advisers this year are artistic director Scott Frank, Michael Almereyda, Anthony Drazan, Todd Graff, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Lawrence Konner, Walter Mosley, Frank Pierson, Tom Rickman, John Ridley, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zachary Sklar, Dana Stevens, Audrey Wells, and Doug Wright.
"The projects in this year's lab reflect the diversity of American culture, and continues the Institute's long-term goal of supporting both U.S. and international projects," commented Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Director Michelle Satter in a prepared statement. "Three international projects representing writer/directors from Thailand, Tajikistan, and Pakistan are joining the nine North American projects at the Lab, providing a rich environment for cultural exchange. We're thrilled to support all of these screenwriters, whose stories represent a compelling and unique mix of distinctive voices."
Four films from previous Sundance Feature Film Labs are set to screen at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, including Josh Marston's "Maria Full of Grace," Jacob Kornbluth's "The Best Thief In the World," Debra Granick's "Down To the Bone," and Enid Zentelis' "Evergreen."
Recent lab projects include Peter Sollett's "Raising Victor Vargas," David Gordon Green's "All The Real Girls," Michael Burke's "The Mudge Boy," and John Cameron Mitchell's "Hedwig And the Angry Inch."
The participants and projects selected for the 2004 January Screenwriters Lab are (information provided by Sundance Institute):
Zoe Hopkins (writer/director), Canada
A young Native girl decides to build a relationship with the father she never knew as part of her ceremonial passage into womanhood.
Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft (co-writers), U.S.A.
A deaf high school student with an unthinkable secret uncovers the dark sexual demons lurking beneath the suburban facade of her small New England town.
Aditya Assarat (writer/director), Thailand
A coming of age love story that captures the music, the mood, and the ethos of modern day Bangkok.
Emre Mirza (co-writer) and Paxton Winters (co-writer/director), Pakistan/U.S.A.
A young American soldier experiences another side of the war, and is forced to make a moral and political choice that will change his life irrevocably.
Kazuo Ohno (writer/director), U.S.A.
"Mr. Crumpacker dn the Man form the Letter"
A crass and overbearing bull of a boss decides on a whim to reconfigure his company as a bastion of philosophical inquiry.
Derek Nguyen (writer), U.S.A.
In the California desert town of Red Valley, Detective Tang Tran investigates the disappearance of a Vietnamese high school student following a brutal hate crime - but as the case unfolds, he discovers that nobody is completely innocent... not even himself.
Kieran and Michele Mulroney (co-writers/co-directors), U.S.A.
A frustrated writer spends a lonely winter on Cape Cod, where he is forced to choose between a world-weary superhero, an extinct bird, and a 16-year-old local girl in this coming-of-middle-age story.
Djamshed Usmonov (writer/director), Tajikistan
"To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die"
A young man, unable to consummate his marriage, transcends his impotence through violence.
Stephen Guirgis (writer), U.S.A.
"Untitled Stephen Guirguis Project"
A bike messenger suffering from terminal adolescence rounds up his old crew from the neighborhood to help kidnap their childhood friend who has joined a religious cult.
Richard Press (writer/director), U.S.A.
The true story of Tony Johnson, a charismatic 15-year-old whose struggle with AIDS and a life of abuse brought him devoted friends from all over the world; their devotion only wavered when it began to seem that Tony didn't actually exist.
Goran Dukic (writer/director), U.S.A.
Suicide is not the end, but only the beginning of a fascinating journey through the afterlife for souls in search of what they could not find in their previous lives.
Dael Orlandersmith (co-writer) and Blanka Zizka (co-writer/director), U.S.A.
The love story of a light skinned boy and a dark skinned girl whose relationship collides with the color prejudices of a black community in rural South Carolina leading to a tragic and explosive end.