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Sundance Institute Selects 22 Fellows For 2013 Documentary Edit & Story Labs (Projects On Senegal & Somali Make The Cut)

Sundance Institute Selects 22 Fellows For 2013 Documentary Edit & Story Labs (Projects On Senegal & Somali Make The Cut)

I was hoping that we were seeing the beginning of the end of what I call “Somali pirate movie fever,” but looking at the below list of new projects selected for the 2013 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Labs, we’re in for at least one more (that we know of anyway).

I just hope this one is much more comprehensive in how it tells its story, than most of the films that have preceded it.

The Sundance Institute today has announced the selection of 22 Fellows representing nine documentary film projects to participate in the Labs, taking place from June 21-29, and July 5-13 at Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah.

Each session of the Documentary Edit and Story Labs pairs director and editor teams with world-renowned documentary filmmakers and Sundance Institute staff to support creative risk-taking around issues of story, dramatic structure and character development.

I’ll return to profile any of the below titles that would be of most interest to this blog, including An African Spring, and Street Fighting Man.

The full list below:

A Blind Eye (U.S.)
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Editor: Amanda Laws
The voice of an American camerawoman explores the nature of cinematography and what she has failed to see while filming in Afghanistan through her encounters with two Afghan teenagers. Najeeb, a one-eyed boy, struggles to hide what really haunts him, while a bold teenage girl must decide how much she will risk to be visible. A U.S. Military surveillance blimp in the sky over Kabul tracks their every move.

Elephant in the Room (U.S.)
Co-directors and Editor: Ed Pincus, Lucia Small
Producer: Mary Kerr
Two filmmakers of different generations turn the camera on each other to explore friendship, legacy, loss and living with terminal illness. Told from two points of view, Elephant in the Room offers a unique, raw, personal glimpse into a creative partnership and the difficulty of capturing the preciousness of life.

The Last Hijack (U.S., Netherlands)
Co-directors: Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting
Editor: Edgar Burcksen
Mohamed, an experienced Somali pirate, assembles his team to conduct his final hijacking. Increasing pressure from his family and future wife to quit an increasingly dangerous profession provide the backdrop for this dramatic tale about survival in a failed state.

Street Fighting Man (U.S.)
Director: Andrew James
Editor: Jason Tippet
In a new America where the promise of education, safety and shelter are in jeopardy, three Detroit men fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations.

Totonel (Romania)
Director: Alexander Nanau
Editor: Mirceau Olteanu
What happens when we discover that we can get more from life than our parents have to offer?

Fellows will be joined by DFP staff and Creative Advisors to jointly engage in the creative process. Editors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Victor Livingston (Crumb), Kate Amend (Birth Story), Jean Tsien (Drivers Wanted) and Tom Haneke (American Teen). Directors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Carol Dysinger (One Bullet Afghanistan) and Robb Moss (Secrecy).

An African Spring (U.S.)
Director: Elizabeth ‘Chai’ Vasarhelyi
Editor: Jay Freund
In the Spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement erupted to protect one of Africa’s oldest and most stable democracies.

The Homestretch (U.S.)
Co-Directors: Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly
Editor: Leslie Simmer
Four homeless teenagers brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school, and life alone on the streets to build a brighter future. Against all odds, these kids defy stereotypes as they learn to reach out for help and create new, surprising definitions of home.  

Rich Hill (U.S.)
Co-directors: Tracy Draz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo
Editor: Jim Hession
Rich Hill chronicles the turbulent lives of three boys living in a dying Midwestern town, witnessing their struggles up close as they fight to have self-worth, a sense of belonging and a family bond. Despite deep need, these boys still have hope. There is still the dream of transformation: that cycles of poverty can be broken, that love will sustain, that hard work will be rewarded, and that even they can live the American dream.

Strong Island (U.S.)
Director: Yance Ford
Editor: Shannon Kennedy
Haunted by the violent death for over 20 years, Strong Island is the director’s meditation on loss, the impact of grief over time and the illusive meaning of “justice.”

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