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IFP Announces 26 Projects Selected for 2020 Documentary, Narrative, & Episodic Labs

by Zach Mandinach on May 21, 2020

Brooklyn, NY (May 21, 2020) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today twenty-six feature projects and series selected to participate across three labs over the next month: The IFP Filmmaker Labs’ Documentary Lab (currently running through May 22) and Narrative Lab (running June 15 – 19) for feature films by directors currently in post-production on their debut features; and the IFP Episodic Lab (running June 1 – 5), for outstanding series projects in development for TV and digital platforms from breakthrough creators.  In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all labs will take place virtually.

The IFP Filmmaker Labs support first-time feature filmmakers through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their debut features, providing support from IFP Staff and mentorship from leading industry members and filmmakers.  The IFP Episodic Lab provides the teams of creators/writers and producers/EPs with the knowledge, resources and mentor support necessary for writing strong pitches and creating solid development strategies. The 5-day program is composed of workshops, case studies, and particular attention is given to study the inner workings of the writers room.

“Over the years our Labs have become a crucial foundation of IFP’s commitment to independent storytelling, providing a platform for creatives to expand their network and further develop their process, while utilizing valuable resources along the way.  We felt it was more imperative than ever to produce this year’s labs and continue supporting our community with the high level of guidance and mentorship for which we are known,” said IFP Executive Director Jeff Sharp.

Recent documentary feature releases that had been mentored through previous Labs have included RaMell Ross’ Oscar-nominated Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Sandi Tan’s Shirkers; Elan Bogarin and Jonathan Bogarin’s 306 Hollywood, and recent festival premieres such as Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe’ Red Heaven (SXSW, CPH:DOX), Bo McGuire’s Socks on Fire and Sami Khan and Mike Gassert’s The Last Out (Tribeca), and Zeshawn Ali’s Two Gods (Hot Docs). Recent narrative feature releases include Lara Jean Gallagher’s Clementine; Bora Kim’s House of Hummingbird; Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife; Christina Choe’s Nancy; and 2020 festival premieres such as Danny Madden’s Beast, Beast (Sundance); Marnie Ellen Hertzler’s Crestone (SXSW, True/False); and Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri’s Eyimofe (Berlin). Projects from the 2019 Episodic Lab are currently in development with production companies after having completed the program.

The IFP Filmmaker Labs and the IFP Episodic Lab provide multiple levels of mentorship throughout the process, and all 2020 Lab projects will automatically participate in the 42nd IFP Week’s Project Forum taking place September 20-25.

The IFP Labs operate under the artistic direction of the IFP programming staff: Senior Director of Programming Milton Tabbot and Program Manager, Nonfiction, Charlotte Reekers (Documentary Lab); Director of Narrative Programming, Zach Mandinach (Narrative Lab); and Senior Manager, Episodic and International Programming, Gabriele Capolino (Episodic Lab).

The 2020 Labs are also overseen by Lab Leader mentors Angela Tucker, Director/Producer ((A)sexual, Paper Chase, Black Folk Don’t, Belly of the Beast [prod.]) for the Documentary Lab; Mia Bruno, Film Distribution and Marketing Strategist/Impact Producer (The Great Hack, Always in Season, 306 Hollywood) for the Documentary and Narrative Labs; and Neerja Narayanan (Creative Producer at Sony Pictures International Productions), and Nathalie Perus (Founder of French in Motion, and former Producer / Script Manager on International scripted series and Executive at Canal+ and Fox International Channels) for the Episodic Lab.

The 2020 IFP Labs and Fellows include:

IFP DOCUMENTARY LAB (May 18-22, 2020)

  • Cusp –– In a small Texas town, four wild-spirited teenage girls search for freedom and personal agency as they each break away from their past traumas. This raw vérité portrait dives down the rarely-seen rabbit hole of modern girlhood. Parker Hill (Director, DP), Isabel Bethencourt (Director, DP), Zachary Luke Kislevitz (Producer)
  • Everything You Have Is Yours –– As choreographer Hadar Ahuvia deconstructs the history of Israeli/Palestine through dance, she must first confront the embodiment of Zionism within her own family. Her work cracks open when she begins to wrestle with the power structures inherent in her artistic collaboration. Tatyana Tenenbaum (Director), Colin Nusbaum (Editor)
  • Free Chol Soo Lee –– A crusading journalist becomes the match that ignites a powerful movement to free a wrongly convicted man from prison. Then, idealism and reality collide. Eugene Yi (Director, Writer), Julie Ha (Director, Writer), Su Kim (Producer)
  • Hollow Tree –– Three young women coming-of-age along the Mississippi River in a time of rapid climate change. Kira Akerman (Director, Writer), Chachi Hauser (Producer), Monique Walton (Producer)
  • Not in My Mother’s House –– Due to the sensitivity of subject matter the film description is not being released at this time. Sandra Itäinen (Director, Writer, Producer, Editor, DP), Chelsi Bullard (Producer)
  • Our Daughters –– Against all odds, a single white mother makes a bold move and chooses an Indian American couple as her twin daughters’ adoptive parents. Now eight, the twins want to meet their birth mother; Our Daughters captures what unfolds. Chithra Jeyaram (Director, Producer, Editor, DP), Nico Opper (Consulting Producer), Leah Nichols (Animator), Yuhong Pang (Assistant Editor)
  • Silent Beauty –– An autobiographical exploration of filmmaker Jasmin López’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. Jasmin López (Director, Writer, Producer), Chelsea Hernandez (Producer), Sarah Garrahan (Editor), Bron Moyi (DP)
  • Untitled PRC Project –– A portrait of China’s economy, charting the changing nature of labor, production, and aspiration in the People’s Republic of China. Jessica Kingdon (Director, DP, Editor), Kira Simon-Kennedy (Producer), Nathan Truesdell (Producer, DP, Editor)
  • What We Leave Behind –– For the past twenty years, 89-year-old grandfather, Julian Moreno, has embarked on a monthly, 17-hour bus ride across the US-Mexico Border in order to visit his family that now lives in the US. Iliana Sosa (Director, Producer), Isidore Bethel (Editor)
  • Women on the Outside –– An intimate portrait of family and friendship, this film follows millennial Kristal Bush as she strives to rebuild bonds broken by incarceration. Zara Katz (Director, Writer, Producer, DP), Lisa Riordan Seville (Director, Writer, Producer, DP), Kiara C. Jones (Producer, Writer)

 

IFP EPISODIC LAB (June 1-5, 2020)

  • Afro— After a high-school altercation, a Black math whiz experiences a natural hair transformation and is recruited by an underground network of people-of-color that seeks cultural change by any means necessary. Jenn Shaw (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer)
  • Autom Reign — Dystopian sci-fi drama series set in a world where automation has radically altered society and confronted humanity with its own obsolescence. Sofian Khan(Creator), Roy Wol (Producer)
  • First Generation — Set in San Jose, California pre-social media era, we follow Jaime, a misled Vietnamese-American teen, as she bears the weight of two diverging worlds. Jeannie Nguyen(Creator, Writer)
  • HighBread— A collegiate dramedy that highlights the lives of a baker, a burnout and an international student on the brink of breakdown as they collectively break bread and cultural stereotypes over a Boston-based marijuana-bakery. Jayesh Jaidka (Creator, Producer), Daniel Blanda (Writer), Harjot Kaur (Executive Producer)
  • Mary — Mary was taken from her home by a shapeless shadow when she was a child. Now, 12 years later she finds herself out of its clutches and back into the light, but how long can she keep running? Daisy Borders(Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Chloe Erwin (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Ryan Cunningham (Producer)
  • Mexican Ghost Stories — Visions haunt Tlaloc, a budding Mexican-American rapper estranged from his family, and launch him into a mystical journey through 400 years of his grandfather’s ghost stories. Daniela Cortes(Creator, Writer), Suzanne Jurva (Creator, Producer), Alvaro Saar Rios (Writer)
  • Miracle Lake — A teenage girl loses touch with reality after joining a school-sponsored hypnosis program. Based on true events. Blair Waters(Creator, Writer)
  • Red Curtain — A one-hour mystery anthology series set in various cities of the former Soviet Union — where history and magic, reality and superstition, art and politics mix to create mind-bending modern day fables. Garin Hovannisian(Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Alec Mouhibian (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer)
  • Stardust — Based on the real kidnapping that inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, 11-year-old Sally Horner must struggle to escape practiced criminal Frank La Salle as he forces her to travel across 1940s America for two years. Adapted from Tammy Greenwood’s acclaimed novel Rust & StardustMatthew Kaundart(Creator, Writer), Eric Cook (Producer, Executive Producer), Gina Resnick (Producer, Executive Producer)
  • Tenure— A naïve Iranian film school professor must learn how to use sex, money, and power to fight his cutthroat colleagues and win a job for life, all while chasing his fading Hollywood dreams. Ronald Eltanal (Creator, Writer), Alireza Khatami (Creator), Payman Maadi (Executive Producer)

 

IFP NARRATIVE LAB (June 15-19, 2020)

  • Homebody — A little boy gets to live as a woman for a day when he sends his spirit into his babysitter’s body. Joseph Sackett (Director, Writer), Joy Jorgensen (Producer), Alan Wu (Editor)
  • Ludi — An immigrant nursing assistant stops at nothing to send money back home to Haiti, launching her into a nightlong purgatory through Miami’s private care-taking world. Edson Jean (Director, Writer), Mark Pulaski (Producer), Fabiola Rodriguez (Producer)
  • Ma Belle, My Beauty — As two recently married musicians adjust to life in France, their beloved ex, who abruptly disappeared from their relationship years ago, finally visits. Marion Hill (Director, Writer, Editor, Producer), Ben Matheny (Producer), Kelsey Scult (Producer)
  • Poser — A misfit podcaster interviews artists and musicians in an effort to forge her own identity, but in doing so, loses herself even further. Noah Dixon (Director, Writer, Editor), Ori Segev (Director, Editor), Brett Reiter (Producer)
  • Shapeless — Ivy, a struggling New Orleans singer fighting to hide an eating disorder, must face her addiction—and the monsters that come with it—or risk losing everything. Samantha Aldana (Director), Lizzie Guitreau (Producer), Stephen Pfeil (Editor)
  • Superior — On the run Marian returns to her hometown after six years, slowly reconnecting with her identical twin sister, Vivian, until their two worlds begin to collide. Erin Vassilopoulos (Director, Co-writer), Grant Curatola (Producer), Patrick Donovan (Producer)

 

ABOUT THE IFP LABS

Now in their sixteenth year, the IFP Filmmaker Labs support first-time feature filmmakers when they need it most: through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their debut features. Through their participation, Filmmaker Labs Fellows receive support from IFP Staff and mentorship from leading industry members and filmmakers. Selected Fellows take part in three modules of the Lab: the Completion Lab in May, IFP Week in September, and a Marketing & Distribution Lab in December.

Now in its second year, the IFP Episodic Lab provides the teams of creators/writers and producers/EPs with the knowledge, resources and mentor support necessary for writing strong pitches and creating solid development strategies. The 5-day program is composed of workshops, case studies, and particular attention is given to study the inner workings of the writers room. After completing the Lab in June, the projects are included in the Project Forum’s slate at IFP Week, where teams pitch their projects to buyers, production companies, networks and other Industry players.

 

SUPPORT FOR IFP LABS

The IFP Labs are made possible by the generous support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and SAGindie. Together, we are partnering to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers.

 

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, and the IFP Gotham Awards. 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 41-year history, IFP has supported over 12,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000+ filmmakers. More info at www.ifp.org

 

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