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IFP Supports Diverse Storytellers with Inaugural Audio Story Lab

by April Bethea on April 27, 2018

Brooklyn, NY (April 27, 2018) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the projects selected for the inaugural Audio Story Lab, IFP’s first foray into supporting makers with serialized audio projects. The two-day intensive program runs April 26-27 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP.

Based off the long-running IFP Filmmaker Labs and, more recently, the Screen Forward Labs dedicated to serialized content creators, the IFP Audio Story Lab will support groundbreaking audio artists with the necessary tools and mentorship to move their projects and careers forward. As part of IFP’s ongoing commitment to diversity, the IFP Audio Story Lab inaugural projects are made up of more than 50% women creators, and over 70% of the creators are diverse in regards to gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

The IFP Audio Story Lab is but one part of a broad expansion on the part of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center into supporting audio storytellers. Filmmaker Magazine, a publication of IFP, also just launched its first-ever podcast series, Back to One, dedicated to the craft of acting. 

And in addition to the Lab, the Made in NY Media Center is currently in the planning stages of its second Podcast Certificate Program, a program that teaches up-and-coming podcasters the editorial and technical skills to kick-start a career in podcasting. The Podcast Certificate Program is produced in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, with the support of Voxnest and an outstanding Advisory Board featuring audio thought leaders from Gimlet, Midroll, The New York Times, and more.

“With the Audio Story Lab, IFP continues to demonstrate its willingness and excitement over supporting storytellers across the spectrum of film, TV, web, immersive, and now, audio,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “We are thrilled to provide further support for our community of artists pushing boundaries in audio and podcasting.”

About the IFP Audio Story Lab

Under the leadership of Zach Mandinach, IFP’s Senior Program Manager & Producer, the Audio Story Lab will provide participants with the knowledge, resources, and mentor support for developing their project both creatively, through story development and sound editing workshops, and strategically, with discussions on pitching, marketing, and releasing your audio project in today’s increasingly crowded audio landscape. As with all IFP programs, the Audio Lab will create a space in which artists can transparently discuss their artistic goals and the challenges that accompany their work in an effort to demystify the making and releasing process and bolster a notion of career sustainability for groundbreaking audio artists.

The Lab is open to audio projects are serialized and story-driven. Fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid style projects are eligible, and projects can be either short-form or long-form series. At minimum, creators must have at least a representative sample, from a trailer to multiple episodes recorded, to be considered for the Lab.

The Audio Story Lab Leader will be Kerry Donahue (Director of Training, PRX) with additional mentorship and speakers from ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcasts, Criminal, Gimlet Media, Homecoming, New York Public Radio, Pineapple Street Media, Serial, Stitcher Premium, Studio 360, Undone, Vocal, WNYC’s Radio Rookies, and more. The Audio Story Lab will also include a Case Study of Heaven’s Gate, with Senior Producer Ann Heppermann.

About the IFP Audio Story Lab Projects 

The seven selected projects represent a mix of genres ranging from young adult fantasy and sci-fi, to hybrid autobiographical fiction and comedic nonfiction, and more.

  • • Appearances –– Shahnaz is an artist who struggles with being a good Iranian daughter. She keeps her work (making a sex podcast), her friends (all weirdos), and her partner (a drug addict) all a secret from her family. But Shahnaz fails to notice that she isn’t the only one with secrets, and that everyone’s secrets are about to explode. Sharon Mashihi (Creator, Host, Producer), Kaitlin Prest (Executive Producer, Editor), and Monique Laborde (Assistant Producer).
  • • Dedicate It –– A private message in plain sight. Dedicate It interviews authors and artists about the people they’ve dedicated their work to. We talk to the people we admire most about the people they admire most to create a collection of stories about gratitude, friendship, mentorship, family, and love. Emily Ludolph (Creator, Host, Producer) and Ben Lillie (Executive Producer).
  • • Homegirls in the City –– Homegirls in the City takes a chopped and screwed approach to storytelling—where stories are collected and rewritten to read in first person as a cohesive 10-minute narrative. From brunching to job hunting to mid-week panic attacks, this is a collection of stories from homegirls who are honest with themselves, each other, and the world. Ivana Renee Tucker (Creator, Host, Producer, Executive Producer, Editor).
  • • Josh and Selma Forever and Ever –– A boy, a cuttlefish, and a misguided quest for eternal life. Or, how Josh learned to live with change. Jason Gots (Creator, Producer, Executive Producer, Editor).
  • • Keeper One –– A belt buckle found in the ruins of Chicago in 2025 could be a teenage girl’s ticket off the planet–and onto one of the space colonies orbiting above. Brontë Mansfield (Creator, Co-Producer), Brian Fabry Dorsam (Co-Producer), and Cher Vincent (Editor).
  • • Other Men Need Help –– In each episode of Other Men Need Help, Mark Pagán dissects the ways “other” men avoid accountability, cling to power, mask insecurities, and quietly scream for connection. Mark Pagán (Creator, Host, Executive Producer, Editor).
  • • School Colors –– School Colors takes on difficult questions and hard truths about race, class, and democracy in American cities, through the story of one public school district in the iconic Black neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Max Freedman (Creator, Producer, Editor) and Mark Winston Griffith (Creator, Host, Producer).

About IFP

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include IFP Week, IFP Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, IFP Gotham Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents an ever-growing network of 10,000+ storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 39-year history, IFP has supported over 12,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000+ filmmakers.