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IFP Announces Narrative Line-Up for it’s Annual Independent Filmmaker Labs

by Website Update on June 11, 2012


Filmmakers from San Francisco, Brooklyn, Miami, and Vermont

Selected for Year-long Mentorship

New York, NY  (June 11, 2012) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the ten narrative features selected for the 2012 Independent Filmmaker Labs, IFP’s  annual year-long fellowship for first-time feature directors.  The creative teams of the selected films, chosen from a national pool of submissions, join the 8th edition of the Labs taking place June 11-14 in New York City.

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 exclusively on low-budget features (<$1million), the Labs provide filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films. Twenty projects (10 documentaries and 10 narratives) are selected for the Lab fellowship each year.

“We are thrilled to welcome another talented class of emerging filmmakers to the Narrative Labs,” says IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente. “With the majority of films from the 2011 Labs premiering at  international festivals and many garnering top awards, the Labs are truly helping filmmakers succeed by providing invaluable marketing, distribution, and engagement strategy resources and by connecting their work to new audiences.”

Alumni projects with recent premieres on the festival circuit include Susan Yousef’s Habibi (Venice 2011), Ryan O’Nan’s The Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best (Toronto 2011, Oscilloscope), Sara Blecher’s Otelo Burning (Durban 2011, London 2011, Busan 2011),Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Sundance, Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films 2012), Keith Miller’s Welcome to Pine Hill (Grand Prize Narrative Feature Slamdance 2012) Lucy Mulloy’s Una Noche (Berlin 2012, Tribeca 2012), Matt Ruskin’s Booster, Nir Paniry’s Extracted, Tim Sutton’s Pavilion (all SXSW 2012), Jenny Deller’s Future Weather, and Andrew Seaman’s Nancy Please (both Tribeca 2012). Additional independent filmmakers of note who got their start at the IFP Labs include Dee Rees (Pariah), Todd Rohal (The CatechismCataclysm, Nature Calls), Amy Seimetz (SunDon’t Shine), Dia Sokol Savage (MTV’s 16 and Pregnant), and David Lowery (the upcoming Ain’t ThemBodies Saints with Rooney Mara).

“I truly don’t know what I would have done without my IFP angels in my corner. The amazing, family-like staff there poured knowledge into me, attempting to fill any gaps in experience I had, while constantly challenging me to be the most hard working, courageous, creative filmmaker I could be,” says The Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best director Ryan O’Nan. “And it didn’t stop there. They were invaluable when it came to festivals, marketing and eventually navigating which distributor we would choose to release our film.”

Since 2005, 128 documentaries and narrative features have participated in the Labs, with 78% of the projects completed and premiered at major U.S. and international festivals, with 61% having distribution on a variety of platforms beyond festivals. 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.

Former Lab features currently in theatres includes The Brooklyn Brothers Beat The Best (Oscilloscope) Andrew Dosunmu’sRestless City (AFFRM), Alrick Brown’s Kinyarwanda (AFFRM), and John Henry Summerour’s Sahkanaga (Southern Circuit Tour); Additional Lab alumni whose films have been recently distributed include Dee Rees’ Pariah (Focus Features), Brady Kiernan’s Stuck Between Stations, (Wreckin Hill), Zeina Durra’s The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (IFC), Victoria Mahoney’sYelling To The Sky(MPI), and Tariq Tapa’s Zero Bridge(Film Desk).

The Labs provide multiple levels of mentorship throughout the process. The 2012 Lab Leaders are producer (Redacted, Coffee & Cigarettes)and IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente, FILMMAKER Magazine Editor In Chief and producer (Gummo) Scott Macaulay, Jon Reiss, director and author (Bomb It!; Think Outside the Box Office); the Lab is produced and overseen by IFP Head of Programming Amy Dotson. Each project will also receive one-to-one feedback and mentorship from top directors and producers throughout the Labs; this year’s mentors include directors Katherine Dieckmann (Motherhood), Larry Fessenden(The Last Winter), Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson), Neil LaBute (In The Company of Men),Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), and David & Nathan Zellner (Kid Thing).

Individual workshop leaders include, amongst others: composer Peter Nashall (The Deep End), editors Sabine Hoffman (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee), Andrew Hafitz(The Last Days of Disco), Lee Percy (Boys Don’t Cry), and Mark Vives (Septien), and case-study producers Gretchen McGowan (Goldcrest Films), Peter Phok (The Innkeepers) and Josh Mond (Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene). The Labs will also include a number of experts on web presence, audience building, outreach, and distribution: Nick Kadner (Google Labs), Marissa Shrum (Mother Advertising), Hal Siegel (Murmur), Lina Plath & Claire Anne Darrah (Frank PR), and Caspar Newbolt (Version Industries).

The Independent Filmmaker Labs program is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Artists Public Domain, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild and Time Warner Foundation. Lab partners include The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, BMI, Eastman Kodak Company, Rooftop Films, 92YTribeca, and the Sundance Documentary Film Program.

The selected projects for the 2012 Narrative Lab and Lab Fellows are:

Bastards of Young

Four early-30s friends meet at what ends up being their last annual Halloween party; but instead of celebrating career success are forced to confront darker realities: adultery, divorce, pregnancy – the basic issues that make adulthood more complicated than anyone expects it will be. Life in your 30s: not old, but definitely not young anymore. Fellows: Josiah Signor (Director/Writer), Robert Profusek (Producer), Ryan Silbert (Producer). Brooklyn, NY

Blue Caprice

Blue Caprice examines of one of the most charged and enigmatic events of the past decade: the 2002 shooting spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C. area and would come to be known as the Beltway sniper attacks. The film tells the story of the two snipers, Lee Malvo and John Williams, during the months leading up to the shootings, piecing together clues in an attempt to understand the circumstances and motives behind their horrific actions. Fellows: Alexandre Moors (Director/Writer), Kim Jackson (Producer), Stephen Tedeschi (Producer). New York, NY


Abby is a lesbian housewife from the suburbs. By day, as her kids sit in school, she becomes a prostitute for women. Fellows: Stacie Passon (Director/Writer), Rose Troche (Producer), Anthony Cupo (Editor). Montclair, NJ

El Empantanado

Juan escapes after years in captivity at the mercy of FARC. His wife, Andrea, admits having an affair with his friend, Daniel. Not being free of sin, Juan decides to forgive. He and Andrea accompany Daniel to Key Largo for a diving weekend. There, Juan’s PTSD forces them to confront their darkest secrets.

Fellows: Felípe Echavarría (Director/Writer/Editor), Maggie Drayton (Producer), David Marcus (DP). Miami, FL

Go Down Death

Based on the folktales of Jonathan Mallory Sinus, a man loses his leg to make himself whole, a frail boy learns the meaning of malignant, the village outcast must protect his precious face, ghosts haunt a war hero (but he’ll haunt no one), mysterious explosions kill everyone, and Mr. Severe the Overseer watches the whole thing on film. Fellows: Aaron Schimberg (Director/Writer), Vanessa McDonnell (Producer/Editor).

Brooklyn, NY

Hide Your Smiling Faces

After a neighborhood tragedy, two adolescent brothers confront grief, love, violence, and their own mortality amid a surreal natural landscape. Hide Your Smiling Faces is an atmospheric exploration of rural American life through the often distorted lens of youth. Fellows: Daniel Patrick Carbone (Director/Writer/Producer), Matthew Petock (Producer), Zachary Shedd (Producer). Brooklyn, NY

I Believe In Unicorns

Davina escapes her obligations to her disabled mother by running away with an older boy in a whirlwind of romance and adventure. As their new relationship turns emotionally and then physically abusive, she attempts to escape to a fantasy world but ultimately must learn to face her stark reality and reconnect with the life she left behind. Fellows: Leah Meyerhoff (Director), Heather Rae (Producer), Becky Laks (Editor). Brooklyn, NY

Karaoke Girl

Balancing fact and fiction, dream and reality, Karaoke Girl follows Sa, a young country girl who works at a karaoke bar in Bangkok to support her family back home.Fellows: Visra Vichit Vadakan (Director/Writer), Samina Akbari (Co-Producer), Perry Blackshear (Editor). San Francisco, CA

Land of Tomorrow

Set in a rural community in America’s heartland, Land of Tomorrow tells the story of Betty, a wife and mother who fights to save her family’s farm-supply business. When her husband Frank falls ill and their son Finley gets into college, the financial pressures become too much, and Betty commits an unthinkable crime for the sake of her loved ones. Fellows: Kimberly Levin (Director/Writer), Kurt Pitzer (Producer), Francesc Sitges-Sardá (Editor). New York, NY

The Forgotten Kingdom

Atang Mokoenya is an aimless young man who spends his days idling in the slums of Johannesburg. When his father dies, Atang must give up his selfish ways and fulfill his father’s humble last wishes: to be buried in the rural mountain kingdom of Lesotho, the country they left 15 years earlier in hopes of a better life. Fellows: Andrew Mudge (Director/Writer/Editor), TR Boyce (Producer), Terry Leonard (Executive Producer). Vershire, VT


About IFP
After debuting with a program in the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers – voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP fosters the development of 350 new feature and documentary films each year through its Project Forum of Independent Film Week, Independent Filmmaker Labs and projects in its fiscal sponsorship program. IFP believes that independent films enrich the universal language of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. The organization has fostered early work by leading filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith.



For more information on IFP, please contact:

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

Rose Vincelli, Producer & Program Manager, IFP (212) 465-8200 x226