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Film Independent’s 2011 ScreenWriters Lab Projects Announced

Film Independent's 2011 ScreenWriters Lab Projects Announced

Non-profit arts organization Film Independent has announced the 10 screenwriters and film projects for its annual ScreenWriters Lab. The Lab will take place August 15-September 16 and serves as a five-week intensive “designed to help writers improve their craft, and take their current scripts to the next level in a nurturing, yet challenging creative environment,” according to the organization.

Jeff Stockwell, writer of “Bridge to Terabithia,” and Karyn Kusama, director of “Jennifer’s Body,” will serve as the Lab Mentors.

Past Lab participants include Robbie Pickering’s “Natural Selection,” and Minh Nguyen-Vo’s “Buffalo Boy,” Vietnam’s entry into the 2006 Academy Awards.

Full list of participants and a portion of the press release:

LOS ANGELES (August 16, 2011) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has announced the 10 screenwriters and film projects selected for its 12th annual Screenwriters Lab, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West. Taking place in Los Angeles from August 15 until September 16, the Screenwriters Lab is an intensive five-week program designed to help writers improve their craft, and take their current scripts to the next level in a nurturing, yet challenging creative environment. Screenwriter Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia) and Spirit Award nominee Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) serve as this year’s Lab Mentors, with Corey Mandell (Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000), Jacob Forman (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane), Mary Sweeney (Baraboo), and Meg LeFauve (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) as Lab Advisors, and Film Independent Fellow Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance) and multiple Spirit Award winner Mike White (Year of the Dog) as Guest Speakers.

“We’re so excited to work with the writers selected for this year’s Screenwriters Lab,” said Director of Artist Development, Josh Welsh. “Many of the films that have been selected for our other Labs and gone into production began in the Screenwriter Labs. Having the time to fully address the script and make it as strong as possible is absolutely critical before a filmmaker walks onto that first day at set.”

In the Screenwriters Lab, Fellows are advised on the craft and business of screenwriting under the tutelage of the Lab Mentors, and are also introduced to established screenwriters, producers and film professionals who serve as one-on-one advisors. The Screenwriters Lab is provided free to accepted screenwriters, and upon completion, they become Film Independent Fellows, receiving year-round support including access to Film Independent’s annual film educational offerings, on-staff Filmmaker Advisor, and the Los Angeles Film Festival. In addition, Lab Fellows are eligible to join the Indie Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America, West. Recent projects developed through the Lab include Robbie Pickering’s Natural Selection, which swept nearly all the awards at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival; Philip Flores’ The Wheeler Boys, which premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival; Suzi Yoonessi’s Dear Lemon Lima, which premiered at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival; Erin Cassidy and Bruce Pavalon’s We Are the Mods, which won the Best Screenplay award at the 2009 Outfest Film Festival; Beth Schacter’s Normal Adolescent Behavior, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Scott Prendergast’s Kabluey, which premiered at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival; and Minh Nguyen-Vo’s Buffalo Boy, which was Vietnam’s entry to the 2006 Academy Awards.

The 2011 Screenwriters Lab participants and their projects are:

1. Jessiline Berry’s “El Luchador” – A son fights for the respect of his father, but is TKO’d by a family secret that teaches him why confronting the past is the only way he will ever learn to respect himself.

2. Chloé Zhao’s “Lee” – A quiet and daring Lakota boy takes on a dangerous job in order to keep his family together on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

3. Daniela Sea’s and Cami Delavigne’s “Mammoth” – A recluse’s estranged daughter comes to stay and shatters his lonely, stupefied status quo. Has tragedy already damaged Stanley beyond repair? Or can he learn to adopt Bernadine’s joie de vivre?

4. Melanie McGraw’s “Numb for Jesus” – When a 17-year-old girl from a huge Mormon family is left behind at a remote desert gas station on the family road trip, it propels her to explore the world beyond her isolated religious community. But with new vision comes new choices — break her mother’s heart or her own.

5. Gil Kofman’s “Raw” – After eighteen years of marriage, Howie decides, with his wife’s consent, to have an affair.

6. Micky Levy’s “The Education of Tanis Kahlil” – Tanic’s manic-depressive mama is Catholic. Her philandering papa is Jewish. Striving for independence and self-definition, 14-year-old Tanis goes through a series of innocent and not so innocent sexual encounters.

7. Kaitlin McLaughlin’s “The Murphys” – When her Mormon husband asks for a divorce, brazen and wickedly funny Pauline Murphy flees Utah and returns home to Dublin for the first time in ten years. Back home, she must confront her uproarious Irish-Catholic family, her long-lost love, and the secret that forced her to leave in the first place.

8. Jenna Friedenberg’s “The Wish and The Thing” – A troubled LA teen in the throes of postpartum depression finds herself running from her responsibilities to pursue her far-fetched dream of leading a cowboy life on a Texas ranch.

9. Javier Fuentes-León’s “The Woman Who Feared the Sun” – A lonely woman, mortally susceptible to sunlight, faces death when a human cannonball crashes through her roof before sunrise. Their initial violent struggle gives way to trust, love, and a chance to enter the light without burning.

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