Film Independent has announced nine projects and their filmmakers for their 11th annual Producers Lab, including Brent Hoff and Malcom Pullinger’s “El Diablo Rojo,” which has been awarded the $25,000 Sloan Producers Grant.
Both the lab and the grant are sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is designed to create and develop scripts and films about science and technology, and to see them into production with global distribution.
The lab is a seven-week program based in Los Angeles that pairs lab fellows with mentors in twice-weekly sessions designed to improve the producers’ craft and move their projects toward production.
This year’s lab mentors are Karin Chien (“Circumstance,” “The Exploding Girl”), Ted Kroeber (“Splinter,” “American Gun”), Gina Kwon (“The Future,” “The Good Girl”) and Meg LeFauve (“The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys,” “The Baby Dance”).
The grant winner, “El Diablo Rojo” is the story of a marine biologist and his team who discover a super swarm of “El Diablo Rojo” squid and must risk their lives to prevent a looming ecological catastrophe.
Both the lab fellows and the grant winner were announced Sunday evening at the Film Independent Forum, which was presented by indieWIRE.
“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and to be able to once again award a Sloan Producers Grant,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development. “Two of the films we’ve awarded this grant to in the past, “Future Weather” and “Valley of Saints,” are in post-production now. I look forward to seeing “El Diablo Rojo” follow the same path.”
Filmmakers were chosen based on the strength of their submitted script, business plan, and creative vision. The Producers Lab is provided free to accepted producers, 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.
Recent projects developed through the Lab include Maryam Keshavarz’s “Circumstance;” Suzi Yoonessi’s “Dear Lemon Lima;” Morgan Stiff’s “Mississippi Damned;” Scott Prendergast’s “Kabluey;” Ted Kroeber’s “American Gun;” So Yong Kim’s “In Between Days;” and Jessica Sanders’ “After Innocence.”
Here’s the full list of 2011 Producers Lab filmmakers and projects. All descriptions provided by Film Independent.
1. A Day With Dandekar – After being forced into retirement, a kindly Indian man goes on a search to find the beloved car his well-meaning daughters have traded away.
Megha Kadakia brings a unique blend of business experience and artistic vision to the world of independent filmmaking. She has secured equity financing and put together numerous deals and services in order to produce her first feature, Raspberry Magic (Audience Award Winner for the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival). Raspberry Magic has screened at over 25 festivals and has acquired domestic distribution through Film Buff, Cinetic Rights Management. Kadakia is currently working on producing her second feature – A Day with Dandekar, with writer/director Leena Pendharkar. Kadakia began her film career at Plinyminor Films, where she helped strategize and market their award-winning independent films, Online and Taking the Wheel. Since then, she has helped produce and finance numerous films, productions and art festivals. In the fall of 2008, Kadakia produced a short documentary featuring Lesa Terry and the Women’s Jazz Orchestra for the World Sacred Music Festival in Los Angeles, and won First Prize/Best Short at the Kansas City Filmmakersʼ Jubilee. She also produced the ever-popular one-woman solo show, Miss India America, a tragically comedic coming-of-age story of actress Meera Simhan. She has raised equity financing for indie films Here and Here After and Kissing Cousins. An avid proponent of art and culture, Kadakia has produced several arts festivals, most recently, Artwallah 2008, 2006, 2005 and the 2005 Artivist Film Festival. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia University, Graduate School of Business. In addition to producing, Kadakia provides strategy and business development expertise to media and entertainment organizations through her company, Blue Velocity Consulting.
2. El Diablo Rojo – Called down to investigate a mysterious disappearance of fish in the Sea of Cortez, a marine biologist and his team discover a super swarm of “El Diablo Rojo” squid and must risk their lives to prevent a looming ecological catastrophe. Based on true events.
Brent Hoff is the editor and co-founder of Wholphin DVD where he films drunk bees, crying competitions, and illegal trans-border volleyball matches. Before that he authored Mapping Epidemics, a book on pandemic disease transmission, made TV at The Daily Show, VH1 and Nickelodeon, and wrote articles about squid. His first feature script, about the last days of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, is currently in production. Hoff was a member of the Sundance 2010 Shorts Competition Jury.
Malcolm Pullinger is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in San Francisco. He produced and edited the critically-acclaimed Winnebago Man, which was released theatrically in 2010. He also produced and edited the Gotham-nominated film Following Sean. He has produced for PBS and Channel 4, and has created programming for various political and nonprofit campaigns, including Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and the Democratic National Committee.
3. Ethel – When Julius Rosenberg and David Greenglass are picked up for being Russian spies, the drama of the communist red scare is played out, not in political machinations, but in a drama where the personal becomes political and family members turn against one another as Ethel Rosenberg is caught in a dilemma where she must choose between her husband — who may or may not be a spy — her dysfunctional family, and her own life.
Anil Baral has recently been accepted to participate in the 2011 Producer’s Guild Diversity Workshop for a television pilot he is writing with his wife and writing partner, Carla Blair. He is currently writing the book and producing a stage musical, One Day, along with the co-writer and financier, Greg Mitchell; the lyricist, Brian Yorkey (who was awarded the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Next To Normal); and the composer, Woody Pak (Wedding Banquet, Making Tracks). In 2009 and 2011, Baral was awarded the Tribeca Institute & Sloan Foundation Screenplay Award & Grant for a biopic on the scientist, Marie Curie, A Noble Affair, co-written with Kathryn Maughan. Baral is also developing various projects including Ethel, a controversial biopic of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, written by Yon Motskin and with Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) attached to play Ethel Rosenberg. He has co-written a television pilot, The Source, and his writing awards include the New York Foundation for the Arts Geri Ashur Screenplay Award and Grant for an epic World War II story about the Gurkha soldiers of Nepal and various short film awards. He was a producer on the internationally successful short musical film Pretty Dead Girl (Sundance, AFI and Tribeca Film Festivals) directed by Shawn Ku. Baral earned a Bachelor of Arts from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Film and Television Department. Before forming Fictitious Features, he worked at some of the most innovative feature film companies, starting in the development department at Good Machine. After a brief stint at Killer Films, he worked for writer/director Adam Brooks (French Kiss, Practical Magic, Wimbledon). Moving to Los Angeles, Baral freelanced as a story analyst for Working Title, was the assistant to Tom Sternberg (Under the Tuscan Sun, Lost Highway, Talented Mr. Ripley, Apocalypse Now) and then worked as the Director of Development for writer/director, Kimberly Peirce (Boy’s Don’t Cry, Stop Loss).
4. 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.
Angela C. Lee is a Los Angeles based independent producer. Her current projects include Left Handed Girl (w/d: Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou), Lee (w/d: Chloe Zhao), and she is developing a feature adaptation of Food Girls and Other Things I Can’t Have by YA novelist Allen Zadoff. Most recently, Lee served as Director of Development for Vox3 Films where she oversaw the company slate including The Widow Clicquot (w: Chris Monger) and Empire City (w: Zayd Dohrn). Lee was also selected as a fellow for the inaugural CAAM Fellowship Program.
5. Man With Van – Made destitute by the recession, an honest electrician bumbles into professional arson to provide for his doting daughter and win back his suspicious ex-wife. But the cost is more than he can afford.
Shrihari Sathe has produced many short films, including A Piece of America, one of four American films presented at Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival (2008) and Breaking the Chain, Golden Palm Award winner at Mexico International Film Festival (2010). Sathe co-produced First Day of Peace, Grand Jury Prize winner at Slamdance Film Festival (2010) and Off Season, a BAFTA (2010) nominee. Shrihari’s films have played at festivals in Greece, Canada, United States, England, France, Italy, India, etc. In 2007, Shrihari assisted on Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s feature film, Delhi 6 as a Director’s Assistant – Visual Effects. Born and raised in Mumbai, Sathe received his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he majored in Film and Video Studies (High Honors), and Global Media and Culture. He has received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA and IFP to name a few. In 2009, Shrihari received the Entertainment Partners’ Best Producer Award at the Columbia University Film Festival. Shrihari has a MFA-Film (Producing) Degree from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in New York. He is a visiting faculty member at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Sathe was a UPM/Associate Producer on Sweet Little Lies, a narrative feature currently in the festival circuit. Sathe’s latest feature production – Pervertigo, a dark comedy is currently in post-production and was selected to be a part of IFP’s Independent Narrative Labs (2011). Shrihari founded Infinitum Productions Pvt Ltd in 2007 to develop/produce feature films and commercials in India/USA and is currently developing various projects.
6. Pit – A boxer who murdered his manager returns to his hometown to fight for the love of his wife, but is recruited to an underground fighting circuit by his victim’s vengeful brother.
Rikki Jarrett is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English and African American Studies. After working in publishing for several years, she attended the USC’s prestigious School of Cinema and Television. After graduation, she went to work in development at Muse Productions, the indie company behind such films as The Virgin Suicides, Buffalo 66, and American Psycho. She has been producing films independently since 2007. Her first feature film, the sci-fi romantic comedy TiMER, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009. She currently resides in Los Angeles and has several projects in development.
7. Raw – Raw is a poignant, authentic, and often funny story about how the introduction of a young woman throws the world of a middle-aged couple and their kids into an unexpected tailspin.
Gil Kofman received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in playwriting. Before that he studied Physics at Cornell and was enrolled in the MFA film program at NYU. He wrote and directed the feature film The Memory Thief – starring Mark Webber and Rachel Miner and was an associate producer/additional editor on the Sundance documentary film Derrida (2002). He also co-edited and acted in You Wont Miss Me (Sundance 2009). Additionally, he shot verité footage for Kirby Dick’s Outrage and This Film Is Not Yet Rated. This summer, he directed a thriller in China called Case Sensitive in Chinese, which was originally work-shopped at the Sundance Producer’s Lab as iCapture. The film had a wide release in China this June. Kofman has had three plays published by Broadway Play Publishing including American Magic with Sonic Youth doing music and Richard Foreman reading one of the parts, and Pharmacopeia, which received a strong LA premiere. His other plays have been produced in London, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Canada. A short fiction piece was previously published in Gordon Lish’s The Quarterly, and he’s currently working on a feature on the life of Rainer Werner Fassbinder called – RWF:The Terror of Dreams Come True with Tanner King Barklow.
Stacy Raskin graduated from UCLA and afterwards, began working as an agent trainee at ICM. She then went on to work at CAA and shortly thereafter began assisting Todd Feldman, the Co-Head of the Motion Picture Literary Department. She was a part of the day-to-day team that worked with such clients as Todd Phillips, Leslie Dixon, David Benioff, Kurtzman & Orci and also worked on the general team of Steven Spielberg and Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. Next she took a position assisting Joel Silver, where she worked side by side with Silver on his entire Warner Brothers and Dark Castle slate that included multiple projects in pre-production, production and post including The Book of Eli and Sherlock Holmes. She also worked in tandem with Silver and the WB marketing team that helped engineer campaigns for all of his Warner Brothers and Dark Castle projects. While there, Raskin brought in specs, targeted projects for Silver’s brand and helped develop his current slate by writing script notes on multiple film projects that were utilized in the development process. She is currently working with writers and directors who have projects in active development throughout the industry.
8. Televisionaries – In an epic battle of wits between two of the 20th century’s most influential figures, a genius inventor faces off against a shrewd tycoon for control over a world-changing technology.
Jonathan Sheldon has worked professionally in Hollywood for the past 15 years in both film and music. Sheldon has written and recorded for MCA Records and has produced a slate of films with acclaimed filmmakers, the Polish Brothers, that star top-tier talent such as Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni, Ed Helms, Virginia Madsen, James Woods and Nick Nolte. In the early 2000s, Sheldon became the Head of Development for Mark and Michael Polish’s shingle Prohibition Pictures. He spent many years learning film development from the ground-up, from financing, screenplay structure and cast attachments, to physical production and coordinating post-production. During this period, Sheldon associate produced the lauded films Northfork, and The Astronaut Farmer. Sheldon also co-authored with the Polish Brothers an influential how-to book published by Harcourt/Brace called The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood. In the recent past, Sheldon produced the Polish Brothers’ films Manure, which stars Billy Bob Thornton and Tea Leoni, and the highly anticipated ensemble comedy Stay Cool. Sheldon is currently producing the documentary My Future Baby: Breakthroughs in Modern Fertility and Televisionaries, a Sloan grant winner at this past TIFF 2011.
9. Three – A college professor, her older husband and her young lover struggle to create a polyamorist relationship that works.
Anna Kerrigan is a playwright, screenwriter and director based in New York City. Her first independent feature film Five Days Gone (which she produced, wrote, directed, edited, and starred in) premiered this summer in both the Brooklyn Film Festival (where she was awarded Best Screenplay) and the Nantucket Film Festival. Her play The Talls premiered this August at Second Stage’s McGinn Cazale Theater. A graduate of Stanford University, Kerrigan has developed plays with Naked Angels, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.