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IFP Announces Narrative Line-Up for Its Annual Independent Filmmaker Labs

by Erik Luers on June 8, 2015

Brooklyn, NY (June 8, 2015) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the ten narratives selected for the 2015 Independent Filmmaker Labs, IFP’s annual year-long fellowship for first-time feature directors. The creative teams of the selected films are currently attending the first week’s sessions – The Time Warner Foundation Completion Labs – taking place June 8-12 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP.

Featuring a stylistically diverse slate of sci-fi, fantasy, drama, young adult, comedy, hybrid and horror, this year showcases films from filmmakers across the nation. 70% of the creative teams hail from outside of New York and Los Angeles. 90% films were shot outside of these hubs, in locations such as the Bahamas, Iceland, Mexico and the Amazon, as well as Georgia, Rhode Island and Florida.

“The selected projects in year’s Narrative Labs reflect IFP’s commitment to all-inclusive content and is emblematic of the growing presence of personal stories told and made outside the two major U.S. hubs for filmmaking,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP. “We look forward to helping these talented filmmakers bring their visions to life.”

Amy Dotson, IFP’s Head of Programming, added: “This year’s films are helmed by risk-takers pushing the boundaries of film and storytelling in exciting new directions. We are delighted to a take risk on them as well and assist in introducing their extraordinary and unique new voices to industry and audiences alike.”

The selected projects for the 2015 IFP Narrative Lab and Lab Fellows are:


Albion: Rise of the Danaan

A twelve-year-old girl who has had to take care of her father is transported to the mystical world of Albion, where she discovers that she alone is the key to saving an entire race of people. Fellows: Castille Landon (Director, Writer), Dori Sperko (Producer)


The Arbalest

A famous, eccentric, recluse toy inventor agrees to his first interview after years of a self-imposed vow of silence to unveil his new invention. Fellows: Adam Pinney (Director, Writer, Editor), Alex Orr (Producer)



On a romantic getaway to Iceland, Riley and Jenai, a young American couple, suddenly discover everyone on earth has disappeared. As Riley struggles to survive and Jenai attempts to reconcile the mysterious event, they must reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world. Fellows: Andrew Sullivan (Director, Writer), Geoffrey Orthwein (Director, Writer), Kent Genzlinger (Producer)


Donald Cried

After Peter LaTang’s last living relative passes away, he returns to a small New England town where he grew up. When the bus arrives, he can’t find his wallet so he calls his childhood friend Donald Treeback for some help. What was supposed to be just a ride turns into a long day’s journey through their awkward past. Fellows: Kris Avedisian (Director, Writer), Jesse Wakeman (Writer, Producer), Kyle Martin (Producer)


Hunky Dory

A dive bar drag queen’s life takes a dramatic turn when his ex drops their 11-year-old son off at his apartment and vanishes. Fellows: Michael Curtis Johnson (Director, Co-Writer, Producer), Tomas Pais (Co-Writer, Producer, Lead Actor), Magela Crosignani (Director of Photography)


Icaros: a vision

By Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi. An American woman with breast cancer travels to the Amazon in search of a miracle. Thanks to a young shaman who is losing his eyesight, she learns instead to confront her ‘susto’: the disease of fear. With the help of Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic plant medicine, and the Icaros, magical healing songs, they both gain a new vision of their destiny. Fellows: Matteo Norzi (Co-director, co- writer), Abou Farman (Producer), Elia Gasull Balada (Editor), Adella Ladjevardi (Co-Producer)


Katie Says Goodbye

Katie Says Goodbye is the story of a seventeen-year-old waitress who prostitutes herself to support her deadbeat mother, while saving for her dream of escaping to San Francisco. When she falls in love with an ex-convict, things quickly turn south, testing her determination for a better life. Fellows: Wayne Roberts (Director, Writer, Producer), Eric Schultz (Producer), Carlo Sirtori (Producer)


Live Cargo

A young couple mourning the death of their baby retreat to a remote Bahamian island where they become entangled in a turf war between a dangerous human trafficker, an aging island patriarch and an obsessive homeless youth. Fellows: Logan Sandler (Director, Writer), Thymaya Payne (Writer, Producer), Lauren Brady (Producer), Randolph Hearst Harris (Producer)


Lupe Under the Sun

Blurring the line between narrative and documentary, with a cast of non-actors, and set in the agricultural heartland of California’s Central Valley, Lupe Under the Sun takes inspiration from the director’s own grandfather to tell the story of an aging Mexican immigrant. Estranged from his family in Mexico, crushed by backbreaking work and poverty, Lupe struggles to come to terms with his life choices. Fellows: Rodrigo Reyes (Director, Writer), Su Kim (Producer), Manuel Tsingaris (Editor)



When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, reclusive inventor Marcus Milton retreats to his family home along the New England coast. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desires. Is he losing his mind or has something terrible burrowed deep within him? Incubating. Waiting until the climate is right. Fellows: Owen Long (Director, Writer), Steven Weisman (Writer, Producer), Chris Haney (Producer)


About the Independent Filmmaker Labs


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. 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. Supervising 2015 Narrative Lab leaders include Jon Reiss, director/producer and author (Bomb It!Think Outside the Box Office), Susan Stover, producer (Welcome to the Dollhouse; High Art; Happy Accidents) and Peter Phok, producer (The House of the Devil; The Innkeepers; The Sacrament). Individual workshop mentors include, amongst others: Music Supervisor Barry Cole (Notorious); film editors Alan Canant (Songs My Brothers Taught Me; Hellion) and Marc Vives (The Adderall Diaries; I Used to be Darker); marketing and PR experts RJ Millard (Obscured Pictures); producers Howard Gertler (Shortbus; How to Survive a Plague), David Hinojosa (Nasty Baby) and Chris Ohlson (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter) along with fellow filmmakers Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room; Blue Ruin), Rose Troche (Go Fish, The L Word) and Josephine Decker (Thou Wast Mild and Lovely).


Apart from the Completion Labs, all Narrative Labs fellows will receive one-to-one mentorship from working filmmakers including Leah Meyerhoff (I Believe in Unicorns), Andrew Droz Palermo (One & Two; Rich Hill), Stacie Passon (Concussion), Matthew Porterfield (I Used to Be Darker) and Todd Rohal (Uncle Kent 2; The Catechism Cataclysm), as well as Lab alumni mentors who will guide them through the Labs, festival circuit and beyond.


Following the Spring Lab, the Lab Fellows will return for additional sessions in September (Marketing Lab & Independent Film Week) and December (Distribution Lab) as they put the finishing touches on their films.


Eight narrative alumni from the most recent class of 2014 Filmmaker Labs are already finding success on the current festival circuit including Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015 Sundance, 2015 Cannes), Matt Sobel’s Take Me to the River (Sundance 2015), Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again (Locarno 2014, Sundance 2015), Takeshi Fukunaga’s Out of My Hand

(2015 Berlinale), Carleton Ranney’s Jackrabbit (Tribeca 2015), Cameron Nelson’s Some Beasts (Dallas 2015), Joey Kuhn’s Those People (Seattle 2015) and Andrew Dresher’s Beatbox

(Provincetown 2015).


The program has an eleven year history of discovering and supporting the early work of today’s rising stars in independent cinema including Aron Gaudet & Gita Pulapilly’s Beneath the Harvest Sky, Alexandre Moors’ Blue Caprice, Stacie Passon’s Concussion, Daniel Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces, Kat Candler’s Jumping Off Bridges, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Tim Sutton’s Pavilion, Andrew Dosumnu’s Restless City, David Lowery’s St. Nick, Lucy Mulloy’s Una Noche, Keith Miller’s Welcome to Pine Hill and Alex Karpovsky’s Woodpecker.


In addition to lead sponsor the Time Warner Foundation, additional sponsors of The Independent Filmmaker Labs include 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, and SAGIndie. Lab partners include The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, BMI, and Rooftop Films.


Press Contacts:


RJ Millard, Obscured Pictures, [email protected]

Kory Mello, Obscured Pictures, [email protected]


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