LA-based nonprofit Film Independent has unveiled the nine filmmakers and eight projects selected for the 14th annual Producing Lab, a four-week intensive program designed to train aspiring independent producers. Producers bring a feature-length narrative work-in-progress to the Lab for further development, while meeting film professionals and advisors on the craft and business of independent filmmaking.
This year’s advisors and guest speakers include Ram Bergman, Lisa Bruce, Karin Chien, Eric d’Arbeloff, Lindsay Doran, Cathy Schulman, and Leslie Urdang. The Lab offers year-round support to Fellows, including access to Film Independent’s annual film educational offerings and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Film Independent also awarded the eighth annual Sloan Producing Grant to producer Summer Shelton for feature film project “The Buried Life” by Joan Schimke and Averie Storck. Shelton received a $30,000 production grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which supports science and technology in film. (Sloan prizes have recently been given to “The Imitation Game” and “I Origins.”)
The 2014 Producing Lab filmmakers and projects are:
“37”: Mollye Asher – producer
Based on a true story set in 1964, Kew Gardens, Queens, 37 delves into the lives of three families who witness the murder of Kitty Genovese and do not intervene.
“The Buried Life”: Summer Shelton – producer
A kleptomaniac archaeologist embarks on the dig of her career, but when her dysfunctional family follows her to the excavation, she discovers her biggest challenge is facing what’s above ground.
“Commerce”: Steven Berger – producer
In this psychological drama/thriller, a spiraling compulsion threatens to alienate a Los Angeles businessman, Ken, from his family, and leads to a chance meeting with a young gambler, Pete, who could save or destroy him, in the City of Commerce.
“Dara Ju” (“Better”): Justin Begnaud – producer
The son of a Nigerian ambassador grows up privileged, attends private schools, Harvard, and is recruited by a high-profile, competitive Wall Street institution. All seems picturesque until a pill addiction, an insider trading scandal and his father’s infidelity all catch up to him and shatter his American dream.
“Lord of Vinyl”: Dennis Bartok, Joanna Colbert – producers
“The Lord Of Vinyl” follows the bittersweet life and comic despair of a lonely 40-something Angeleno named Lennie Weisman, who is completely obsessed with jazz, and hides from the disappointment of the world inside the beauty of the music. Lennie unexpectedly finds himself exploring the possibility of new love with an unhappily married post office worker, and at the same time attempting a reconciliation with his estranged 11-year old daughter.
“Operator”: Felipe Dieppa – producer
Joe, a programmer and obsessive self-quantifier, risks losing his marriage when he models the personality for a digital voice on his wife, Emily.
“Shale”: Traci Carlson – producer
Sheila has been put down and controlled for the entirety of her 50-year marriage to John, a shale pit owner in the forests of Oregon. One night, she leaves John without a word. Having no skills to navigate the real world, Sheila becomes desperate and imposes on her granddaughter for food and shelter as she struggles to find work and overcome her past. Eventually, Sheila must return to John’s bleak shale pit to confront him and her greatest fears.
“Slash”: Brock Williams – producer
A teen’s online, erotic fan fiction leads him to discover truths about his own sexuality when his newfound notoriety forces him out into the real world. A world he may not be ready to enter.