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Coming Soon: ‘Alaska Is a Drag’ Takes Big Post-Production Prize at US In Progress Initiative

Coming Soon: 'Alaska Is a Drag' Takes Big Post-Production Prize at US In Progress Initiative

US in Progress is a unique film industry event in two parts, connecting European buyers and American independent filmmakers, running since 2011 annually. It is a joint initiative of the Polish New Horizons Association and the French Champs-Elysées Film Festival (in collaboration with New York- and Paris-based Black Rabbit Film).

Two market-type events take place, first in Paris, France in June (during Champs- Elysées Film Festival), and then in Wrocław, Poland (hosted by the American Film Festival) in October.

US in Progress aims at strengthening the trans-Atlantic film industry collaborations and partnerships, to strike distribution and post-production contracts. It helps European film professional to establish working relationships with new emerging American film talent, presenting 4-6 independent American projects in final production stages to top European buyers (sales agents, distributors and festival programmers), post-production houses and festivals in order to help them achieve completion and to foster the circulation and distribution of American indie films in Europe.

US produced projects are selected from open online call for entries, open from January to April 6th for Paris and April 6th to August 31th for Wrocław.

The fifth edition of the US in Progress co-production forum was held just last week, October 22-23rd, 2015, which included screenings of 6 feature projects selected from fifty American independent feature-length submissions, all in final editing stages. And at the end of the event, Shaz Bennett’s “Alaska Is a Drag” was the big winner, received the jury award for post-production services worth up to $40,000 for the project, which will include color correction from Chimney Poland, a score composed by Maciej Zielinski from Soundflower Studios, and a final sound mix from Toya Studios, as well as an offer to acquire TV rights from Ale Kino+.

The film, which is writer/director Bennett’s feature adaptation of her award winning 2012 short of the same name, is produced by Fishbowl Films and 4248 Productions. It stars Matt Dallas, Jason Scott Lee, Margaret Cho, newcomer Martin L. Washington Jr. and Christopher O’Shea.

Describes as “Rocky meets Hedwig,” the film tells the story of an aspiring teenage drag queen named Leo, who dreams of International super stardom. “Leo stands out in a crowd and that’s not always a good thing in the fish canneries. He gets beat up a lot. His sister Tristen teaches him to fight back and after a particularly brutal fight, he gets recruited to join the boxing team. His sparring partner, Declan forces him and his sister to face the real reason they’re up to knees in fish guts.”

The comedy/drama, also Bennet’s feature debut, was developed through Naked Angels and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.

As it heads into its final stages nearing completion and an eventual eyed 2016 premiere, watch an old trailer for the 2012 short film (not the upcoming feature), for an idea of what’s coming:

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