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IFP announces 10th Anniversary Narrative Slate for Annual Independent Filmmaker Labs and Launch of First Run Theatrical Openings in New State of the Art Theater at Made in NY Media Center by IFP

by Erik Luers on June 6, 2014

Brooklyn, NY  (June 9, 2014) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the ten narrative features selected for the 2014 Independent Filmmaker Labs, IFP’s annual yearlong fellowship for first-time feature directors, a companion to last months documentary Labs features announcement. The creative teams of the selected films, chosen from a national pool of 150+ submissions, are currently attending the first session of the program – The Time Warner Foundation Completion Labs– taking place June 9-13 in New York City.

The 2014 Labs mark the 10th anniversary edition of the mentorship program. Launched in 2005 as a three-day program for eight narrative projects by Filmmaker Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay, the Labs have evolved under the leadership of Amy Dotson, Head of Programming, and Milton Tabbot, Senior Director of Programming, into a successful, year-long program for 20 projects (10 documentary and 10 narrative) with an expansive focus on post-production, marketing, distribution, audience engagement strategy, and career sustainability.

As an extension of the Labs program, IFP has announced the launch of First Run, a new initiative to host weeklong theatrical openings at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP this fall. Beginning with the theatrical debuts of three critically acclaimed IFP Narrative Lab Alumni films, the program will give filmmakers in the process of self-distribution the unique opportunity to gain a much-coveted NYC theatrical week-run. IFP staff will work with each filmmaking team on comprehensive audience engagement and grassroots outreach strategies, assist with publicity, and offer a revenue split to all participating filmmakers.

“We are thrilled to provide our Lab alumni and independent filmmakers in our community the opportunity to build audience and critical acclaim through theatrical release in our new state of the art screening room,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director IFP and the Made in NY Media Center.

Submissions for the First Run screenings will open in July to all IFP program alumni and members, as well as general inquiry. Films will be programmed based on artistic merit and perceived marketplace and audience engagement potential.


As of 2014, the 188 projects that have gone through the Labs have launched first time feature directors such as critically acclaimed filmmakers Lotfy Nathan’s 12 O’clock Boys, Aron Gaudet & Gita Pulapilly’s Beneath the Harvest Sky, Alexandre Moors’ Blue Caprice, Stacie Passon’s Concussion, Michael Collins & Marty Syjuco’s Give Up Tomorrow, Angad Bhalla’s Herman’s House, Daniel Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces, Penny Lane’s Our Nixon, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Tim Sutton’s Pavilion, Bassam Tariq & Omar Mullick’s These Birds Walk, Lucy Mulloy’s Una Noche, Keith Miller’s Welcome to Pine Hill, and Matt Wolf’s Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell.

With a focus on career sustainability, alumni of the Labs who have gone on to find continued success as directors, producers and actors in film, television and webseries. Notable follow-up projects from Lab alumni include David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2008 Alum), Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George (2010 Alum), Kat Candler’s Hellion (2005 Alum), Todd Rohal’s The Catechism Cataclysm (2005 Alum), Keith Miller’s Five Star (2012 Alum), Tim Sutton’s Memphis (2011 Alum), Brian Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky’s Francine (2011 Alum), Patrick Epino’s Awesome Asian Bad Guys (2008 Alum), as well as director/actors Amy Siemetz (2009 Alum) and Alex Karpovsky (2007 Alum), and Dia Sokol Savage, executive producer of the wildly successful MTV series 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom.

Narrative alumni of the most recent Lab “class” of 2013 include Garrett Bradley’s Below Dreams (Tribeca 2014), Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly’s Beneath The Harvest Sky (Toronto 2013), Lou Howe’s Gabriel, (Tribeca 2014), Colin Healey’s Homemakers (IFF Boston 2014), Paul Harrill’s Something, Anything (Sarasota 2014) and Shelli Ainsworth’s Stay Then Go (Minneapolis Film Festival 2014). Previous Lab Alumni currently on the festival circuit also includes Leah Meyerhoff’s I Believe in Unicorns (SXSW 2014) and Kimberly Levin’s Runoff (Los Angeles Film Festival 2014); currently in theaters Daniel Patrick Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces (Tribeca Films), Andrew Mudge’s The Forgotten Kingdom (Kino Lorber) and Aaron Schimberg’s Go Down Death (Factory 25).


The Independent Filmmaker Labs are a highly immersive, free mentorship program supporting first-time feature directors with projects in post-production as they complete, market and distribute their films. Focusing on low-budget features (<$1million), the Labs provide filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films and careers. As part of IFP’s ongoing commitment to diversity, the Independent Filmmaker Labs also seek to ensure that at least 50% of the participating projects have an inclusive range of races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and physical abilities in key creative positions.

The Labs provide multiple levels of mentorship throughout the process, overseen by Amy Dotson, Deputy Director & Head of Programming for IFP, and Dan Schoenbrun, Associate Director of Programming for IFP, as well as supervising 2014 Narrative Lab leaders Scott Macaulay, Editor-in-Chief, FILMMAKER Magazine and producer (Gummo), Jon Reiss, director/producer and author (Bomb It!, Think Outside the Box Office) and director/producer Susan Stover (Glass Chin, High Art, ). Individual one-to-one mentors include Mike Cahill (Another Earth), James Pondsolt (The Spectacular Now), Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), and Craig Zobel (Compliance).

Individual workshop leaders include, amongst others: composer Nathan Larson (Margin Call; God’s Pocket; Boys Don’t Cry), BMI’s Doreen Ringer Ross, editors Michael Taylor (Love is Strange; The Loneliest Planet), Alan Canant (Hellion; Nature Calls), Alan Oxman (Storytelling, Happiness), and Marc Vives (Ping Pong Summer; I Used to Be Darker), filmmakers Kat Candler (Hellion), Hannah Fidell (A Teacher), Jonathan Lisecki (Gayby), Elisabeth Holm (Producer, Obvious Child), Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love), and Shaka King (Newlyweeds); and experts on web presence, audience building, outreach, sales and distribution: RJ Millard (Obscured Pictures), Sara Kiener (Film Presence), Caspar Newbolt (Version Industries), and Josh Braun (Submarine Entertainment).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Ford Foundation, Heineman Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, SAGIndie and Time Warner Foundation generously support the Labs. Lab partners include The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, BMI, and Rooftop Films.

The selected projects for the 2014 IFP Narrative Lab and Lab Fellows are:


A down-on-his-luck musician charts a new path when he is introduced to a group of Brooklyn beatboxers. Fellows: Andrew Dresher (Writer, Director), Chip Hourihan (Producer), Jon Furay (Producer), Chris Branca (Editor).

Christmas, Again

A lonely Christmas tree vendor tries to salvage his holiday spirit as a mysterious woman befriends him. Fellows: Charles Poekel (Writer, Director, Producer), Clare Paterson (Co-Producer).


In the near future, survivors of a global epidemic are plagued by a debilitating symptom of the disease – double amnesia. Claire Carré (Writer, Director, Producer, Editor), Charles Spano (Writer, Producer).

Only a Switch

James saves Emily’s life and they instantly fall in love. Emily’s father leaves James with a decision that will change his life forever. Michael Vincent (Director, Writer, Producer, Editor), Chadd Harbold (Producer, Cinematographer), Jenn Wexler (Producer).

Out of My Hand

A struggling Liberian rubber plantation worker risks family, hearth and home to discover a new life as a Yellow Cab driver in New York City. Takeshi Fukunaga (Director, Writer, Editor), Donari Braxton (Producer, Writer), Owen Donovan (Director of Photography).

Some Beasts

Soon after a young man moves to rural Virginia, he finds that life in Appalachia can be more savage than the world he left behind. Fellows: Cameron Nelson (Writer, Director, Producer, Editor), Courtney Ware (Producer).

Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Songs My Brothers Taught Me explores the unique world of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through the eyes of Jashaun, a young spirited Lakota girl, whose faith in her family and community is tested when her brother Johnny threatens to leave the only place they’ve ever known. Chloé Zhao (Writer, Director, Producer), Mollye Asher (Producer), Umar Riaz (Editor).

Take Me to the River

A teenager’s plan to come out at his family reunion gets derailed when a bloodstain on his cousin’s dress makes him the suspect of abuse. Fellows: Matt Sobel (Writer, Director, Producer).

Those People

A young painter is torn between a lifelong obsession with his infamous best friend and a promising new romance with an older, foreign pianist. Fellows: Joey Kuhn (Writer, Director, Producer), Kimberly Parker (Producer), Sarah Perlman Bremner (Producer).

The Wild

Two unlikely computer prodigies must team up to discover the truth behind their mutual friend’s mysterious suicide – leading them down a dangerous and revelatory path. Fellows: Carleton Ranney (Writer, Director), Rebecca Rose Perkins (Producer), Joe Stankus (Producer). Austin, TX.


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 Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film 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 a 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 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at

For more information on IFP, please contact:

Amy Dotson, Deputy Director & Head of Programming, IFP (212) 465-8200 x203

Milton Tabbot, Senior Director, Programming, IFP (212) 465-8200 x207

Jody Arlington, Director of Communications, IFP [email protected], 202.316.4316