Today, the Sundance Institute announces the participants for its weeklong Creative Film Producing Initiative at the Sundance Resort in Utah. This includes 11 feature film and documentary projects for the Creative Producing Labs, and more than 50 industry leaders for the Creative Producing Summit. The Institute’s Creative Producing Initiative encompasses a year-round series of Labs and Fellowships, nurturing the next generation of independent producers so that they can help sustain and support the vibrancy of independent film.
The Feature Film Creative Producing Lab takes place from August 1st through 5th. It identifies emerging producers and, under the guidance of Creative Advisors, allows them to develop their creative instincts and evolve their skills at all stages of the project. Lab Fellows continue on through the Creative Producing Summit and receive ongoing yearlong mentorship, granting, and a tailored track at the Sundance Film Festival. This year’s Creative Advisors include producers Anthony Bregman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), Heather Rae (“Frozen River”), Mary Jane Skalski (“Mysterious Skin”), Jay Van Hoy (“American Honey”), and more.
Meanwhile, The Documentary Film Creative Producing Lab will take place at the same time as the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab. It brings together emerging documentary feature producers with experienced advisors to improve the creative potential of their projects, while also focusing on the skills necessary to being a successful Creative Producer. This year’s Creative Advisors include producers Daniel Chalfen (“Silenced”), Julie Goldman (“Life, Animated”) and Josh Penn (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).
Immediately following the Labs, the Creative Producing Summit will take place from August 5th through 8th. During this time, industry leaders will participate in panel discussions, roundtable, one-on-one meetings, and more to address critical issues facing producers in this modern landscape. Panelists this year include Nicolette Aizenberg (A24), Len Amato (HBO Films), Michael Barker (Sony Pictures Classics), Mary Ann Marino (Amazon Studios), Ian Bricke (Netflix), Effie Brown (Duly Noted, Inc.), and more than 40 others.
Below are The Fellows and projects selected for the 2016 Feature Film and Documentary Creative Producing Lab.
- “Bull,” Producing Fellow and Silverman Honoree: Monique Walton: In a near-abandoned subdivision west of Houston, a wayward teen runs headlong into her equally willful and unforgiving neighbor, an aging bullfighter who’s seen his best days in the arena; it’s a collision that will change them both. (Co-writer/director Annie Silverstein, co-writer Johnny McAllister)
- “Dey’Dey and His Brothers,” Producing Fellow: Lisa Kjerulff: When a young man violates parole and begins trafficking guns into the neighborhood, the beautiful, fragile life of one family is rocked, and their youngest son Da’Sean has to balance his dreams of being a dancer against the realities of living amidst violence. (Writer/director Nick Bentgen)
- “Leche,” Producing Fellows: Marttise Hill and Julius Pryor IV: Nina, a 9-year-old Dominican with albinism, dreams of blending in amongst her peers until a series of miraculous events put her in the spotlight and make her the target of a jealous classmate’s witch hunt. (Writer/director Gabriella Moses)
- “Monsters and Men,” Producing Fellow: Elizabeth Lodge: After capturing an illegal act of police violence on his cellphone, a Brooklyn street hustler sets off a series of events that alter the lives of a local police officer and a star high school athlete. (Writer/director Reinaldo Marcus Green)
- “Stupid Happy,” Producing Fellow: Mallory Schwartz: In this dark comedy, sisters Jackie and Rachel Gurner are forced to reevaluate themselves, their co-dependent relationship, and for Jackie, her own role as a mom, upon finding out their presumably deceased mother is alive and starring on a soap opera 20 years after abandoning them. (Co-writer/director Hannah Pearl Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock)
- “Share,” Producing Fellow: Tyler Byrne: In this cyber thriller, a disturbing video leaked from a local high school throws a Long Island community into chaos and the national spotlight as they try to unravel the story behind it. (Writer/director Pippa Bianco)
- “Hot Clip,” Producing Fellow: Vincent Reyna: A week after their best friend’s fatal confrontation with a cop, three Southeast Los Angeles skaters spend 24 hours chasing dreams, making trouble, and trying to survive in a community on the verge of exploding. (Writer/director César Cervantes)
- “For Ahkeem,” Producing Fellow: Iyabo Boyd: “For Ahkeem” follows Daje Shelton, a 17-year-old Black girl from North St. Louis, as she strives to graduate from the nation’s only court-supervised public high school. Daje fights for her future as close friends are killed, her sixteen-year-old boyfriend is pulled into the prison system, and nearby Ferguson erupts after the police shooting of Michael Brown. Through Daje’s intimate first-person account, “For Ahkeem” explores the complex web between juvenile justice, education, and race in America today. (Co-directors Landon Van Soest & Jeremy Levine)
- “The Industrial Musicals Movie,” Producing Fellow: Amanda Spain: This is the story of one of Capitalism’s strangest creations and the comedy writer obsessed with rescuing this hidden world from obscurity. (Director Dava Whisenant)
- “13th & Locust,” Producing Fellow: Leah Natasha Thomas: “13th & Locust” is an intimate and in-depth multi-part series that will shed new light on the most contested and divisive death row case in modern American history, the trial of Mumia Abu Jamal. (Director Ted Passon)
- “Charm City,” Producing Fellow: Danielle Varga: As Baltimore and the nation struggle to come to terms with the bitter legacy between the police and the community, “Charm City” will go behind the scenes as citizens and police officers reckon with one another. At a moment that is fraught with increased violence, pervasive fear, and a deepening divide, “Charm City” will take viewers beyond the television news to explore what has become so chronically broken between police and communities. (Director Marilyn Ness)