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Sundance Insitute Announces 1998 Lab Participants; Michelle Satter Discusses The Evolution of the La

Sundance Insitute Announces 1998 Lab Participants; Michelle Satter Discusses The Evolution of the La

Sundance Insitute Announces 1998 Lab Participants; Michelle
Satter Discusses The Evolution of the Lab Program

by Mark Rabinowitz

The Sundance Institute has announced the lineup for the June
Filmmakers/Screenwriters Lab. The fifteen projects and their
creators comprise a wide range of stories and styles that now have a
unique opportunity to develop into feature films. Program Founding
Director Michelle Satter discussed the lab in an interview with indieWIRE.
The two-part lab begins with a three-week segment wherein eight
directors shooting key scenes from their projects by collaborating with
professional actors and video production crews. In the fourth week, the
directors are joined by seven writers who workshop their projects with
the help of the lab’s creative advisors.

The participants and projects selected for the 1998 June Filmmakers Lab
are: Yoshiyasu Fujita (Writer/Director), “The Bleep Brothers“; Sherman Alexie
(Writer/Director), “Indian Killer“; Patricia Cardoso (Writer/Director),
Josè Gregorio“; Gina Prince (Writer/Director), “Love and Basketball“;
Myra Paci (Writer/Director), “Searching For Paradise“; Alex Smith
(co-Writer/Director) and Andrew Smith (co-Writer/Director), “The
Slaughter Rule
“; Rodrigo Garcia (Writer/Director), “Things You Can Tell
Just By Looking At Her
“; Evan Handler (Writer/Director), “Time On Fire

While the 1998 Screenwriters Lab will feature the following projects:
Cory McAbee (Writer/Director), “The American Astronaut“; Oni Faida
Lampley (Writer), “The Dark Kalamazoo“; Everton Sylvester (Writer),
Dilly Dally“; Mark Decena (co-Writer/Director) and Tim Breitbach
(co-Writer), “Dopamine“; Ira Sachs (co-Writer/Director) and Michael
Rohatyn (co-Writer), “Forty Shades Of Blue“; Lorna Simpson (Writer),
Wish You Were Here“; Juan Carlos Martínez-Zaldívar (Writer/Director),

Michelle Satter, the Founding Director of the Sundance Institute’s
Feature Film Program spoke with indieWIRE on Tuesday, and was asked
about how the labs have changed since their inception in 1981. “The core
(of the original program) was the June Filmmaker’s Lab. That was the
only program we did during the year. (It) now exists as a year-round
program,” adding, “when we look now at 1988, it’s a program that
involves the screenwriters lab in January and the June directors lab and
the writers lab that immediately follows it.” The Institute works with
the projects throughout the year in different ways. “Sundance exists as
a kind of a resource to the filmmakers that we select in any given year,
which is between 15 and 20 projects.”

Satter also mentioned the various support programs run by the institute
including the recently introduced screenplay reading series. The
Institute used to conduct staged readings only as a part of the labs, but
decided to bring them to New York and L.A. “It’s an opportunity to allow
a writer to see a script on its feet with actors…it really allows
these writers another step in terms of a process (of creating a

During the discussion, Satter touched on an element of the indie film
world discussed at the recent Midwest Filmmakers Conference at
the Cleveland International Film Festival. “In the indie film world,
he producer I think is a key person,” adding that “One of the things we
try to do with each of the projects, and it’s very much an individual
process, is help them find producers, and in many cases help writers
or directors to find agents.” One way in which this is accomplished
by the institute is through inviting the participants from the June lab
to the annual producers conference run at Sundance. Which, according
to Satter, “sort of functions as a kind of cinemart for the June
filmmakers,” allowing them to “set up one-on-one meetings with
six or seven of the producers and companies that are there. It’s not
set up as a market, but a lot of those relationships..will ultimately

Activities for participants continue outside of the labs and
conferences, as well. “As a writer finishes the next draft, we’ll set up
meetings outside of the lab. Right now there’s as much activity going on
outside of the lab, as in fact there is during the lab. Although the
labs are a real focal point for the creative work going on.”

The artistic director of the lab is Gyula Gazdag, and this year’s creative
advisors include: Allison Anders, Jon Avnet, Sally Field, P.J. Hogan, Frank
Pierson, Stewart Stern, Robert Redford and Wally Strick.

[Tomorrow indieWIRE will present a part 2 of our interview with Michelle
Satter, where she discusses the international scope of the Feature Film
Program and the Sundance Institute’s foray into working with film

For a detailed list of participants in this year’s labs please click href=”/biz/biz_980408_SundLabsList.html”>here.

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