Musicvideo director Katherine Dieckmann, TV producer Dan Minahan and monologuist Reno are among the 14 participants selected for the January Screenwriters Lab, which runs Jan. 12-17 at the Sundance Resort in Utah.
At the annual workshop, cub filmmakers have honed the scripts that became “El Norte,” “Mi Vida Loca,” “Crush,” “Pie in the Sky,” “Reservoir Dogs” and Ed Burns’ upcoming romantic comedy “She’s the One.”
The lab is the first phase of Sundance’s Feature Film Program. It is followed by the June Filmmakers Lab, a monthlong directing workshop. A second Screenwriters Lab is held during the last week of the Filmmakers Lab, where filmmakers have the final set of story conferences with creative advisers.
The participants and projects selected for the 1996 Screenwriters Lab follows.
* Wendell John Anderson, a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” veteran who will be working on his romantic comedy “With or Without You.”
* Steve Chbosky. His first film, “The Four Corners of Nowhere,” premiered at the festival in 1995, and at the workshop he will be refining his librarian-meets-phone sex operator story, “Fingernails and Smooth Skin.”
* Katherine Dieckmann, a former journalist and the director of R.E. M.’s “Stand” video, will be in residence adapting Leon Rooke’s novel “A Good Baby,” which tells the story of a loner who stumbles upon a babe in the woods.
* Kayo Hatta (“The Picture Bride”) and Roberto Quezada. Hatta won the audience award for dramatic film at last year’s fest, and she is teaming with writer Quezada on adapting Cynthia Kadohata’s novel “The Floating World.”
* James Lecesne. Lecesne is a veteran of the New York cabaret scene; he is working on “Shirley,” the story of a mother who embarks on a journey with her terminally ill daughter.
* Dan Minahan. Minahan worked for two years as a film and video curator at the Kitchen in New York. He recently co-wrote the screenplay for the festival entry “I Shot Andy Warhol,” and at the workshop he will be working on an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”
* Sheila Nayar (writer) and Julie Jacobs (director). Nayar teaches creative writing at Long Island U. Jacobs directed the documentary “No Sense of Crime.” Together they are working on “Jane Doe,” the story of a young medical student’s sexual awakening.
* Tim Blake Nelson. Nelson has acted in several indie pics, including “Amateur” and “This Is My Life.” At Sundance, he will be adapting his play “Eye of God,” which centers around the murder of a woman and the suicide of a young boy in a small Oklahoma town.
* Melissa Painter. Painter, a veteran of production on several indie films, will soon be directing his first feature, “Wild Flowers.”
* Reno. Reno will be working on “Reno Finds Her Real Mom,” a story of the writer/performer’s search for her birth mother, who abandoned her as an infant. Nancy Savoca (“Household Saints”) will direct, and Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and Paula Mazur will executive produce.
* Jordan Roberts. A play-wright and screenwriter, Roberts will be fine-tuning “Defender of the Heart.”
* William S. Yellow Robe Jr. Robe’s plays have been performed at New York’s Public Theatre, the Seattle Group Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum. At Sundance, Robe will adapt his play “The Pendleton Blanket” for the bigscreen.
As in the past, several high-profile screenwriters will work with the attendees. This year’s mentors-in-residence include Alice Arlen (“Silkwood”), Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”), Scott Frank (“Get Shorty”), Todd Graff (“The Vanishing”), James V. Hart (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”), Larry Konner (“For Love or Money”), Richard La- Gravenese (“The Bridges of Madison County”), Chris McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”), Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”), Tom Rickman (“Everybody’s All-American”), Danny Rubin (“Groundhog Day”), Susan Shilliday (“thirty-something”) and Andy Wolk (“Criminal Justice”).