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Film Independent Seals Netflix Deal, Announces 2015 Documentary Lab Fellows

Film Independent Seals Netflix Deal, Announces 2015 Documentary Lab Fellows

LA nonprofit Film Independent has selected 10 filmmakers and six projects for the 2015 Documentary Lab, a five-week intensive program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentaries.

Film Independent has also unveiled a year-round partnership with doc juggernaut Netflix (“The Square,” “Virunga”) to support documentary filmmakers. Netflix is now the official supporter of all Film Independent’s documentary initiatives, including the annual Documentary Lab, the Documentary Competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival and all the documentary elements in Film Independent’s educational programs. 

READ MORE: Why Netflix Shelled Out for Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation”

With Netflix’s support, this year’s Lab includes a finishing fund for selected projects. The lab is designed to provide creative feedback to filmmakers, and to help them strategize distribution and marketing.

This year’s Lab advisors are documentary filmmakers Lucy Walker (“Crash Reel”), Eddie Schmidt (“Twist of Faith”) and Linda Goldstein Knowlton (“Code Black”). Guest Speakers include Doug Blush (Editor, “20 Feet From Stardom”), Marah Strauch (“Sunshine Superman”) and Jennifer Arnold (2015 Sundance doc “Tig, A Small Act”). 

READ MORE: “Crash Reel” Documentarian Lucy Walker Knows Where She’s Going

Past Documentary Lab projects include 2014 Sundance Grand Jury prize winner “Rich Hill,” “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” “We Women Warriors” and more.

The 2015 Documentary Lab projects and Fellows are:

Title: “Becoming April March”
Director/Producer: Craig Jackson
Producer: Stephanie Levy
Logline: A striking portrait of an 80-year-old burlesque icon. “Becoming April March” is an exploration of one woman’s struggle with aging and her last-ditch attempt at securing the fame and fortune she chased in her youth.

Title: “My Country, No More”
Directors: Rita Baghdadi, Jeremiah Hammerling
Producer: Rita Baghdadi
Logline: “My Country, No More” reveals the complexities of rural life in the North Dakota oil boom as a farming community fights industrialization. Filmed over three transformational years, the film poses a fundamental question: what and who are we willing to sacrifice in our pursuit of progress?

Title: “Real Boy”
Director/Producer: Shaleece Haas
Logline: Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager with musical aspirations, embarks on a journey to find his voice—as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man.

Title: “Soledad”
Director: Cassidy Friedman
Producer: Carmen Osterlye
Logline: Three men painfully seek rehabilitation through a radical process of cathartic storytelling before getting released from one of California’s most violent and overcrowded prisons.

Title: “The Peacemaker”
Director/Producer: James Demo

Logline: “The Peacemaker” follows Padraig O’Malley, an international peacemaker who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq – to chronicle, over five years, Padraig’s journey as he works a peace making model based on his recovery from addiction.

Title: “What Lies Upstream” 
Director: Cullen Hoback

Producer: John Ramos

Logline: What starts as a simple investigation into a chemical spill unravels into a massive mystery, ultimately showing, with unprecedented access, why the American political system is fundamentally broken.

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