You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sundance selects film lab participants

Sam Waterston, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, John Landis, Penny Marshall, Alan Pakula and Arthur Penn are just some of the cinematic talents who will be shepherding 16 independent filmmakers through the Sundance Institute’s 1994 June Filmmakers Lab.

In past years feature films like Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and Gregory Nava’s “El Norte” benefited from the four-week program in which aspiring directors work closely with mentors. During the program’s final week, a group of screenwriters join the lab.

“Our overriding criterion is finding talent in that particular moment of a career when Sundance can be an infusion of creative energy and help that writer/director turn a corner in launching their career,” Michelle Sater, director of feature film programs for Sundance said Monday.

In all, eight projects were selected for the directors’ lab, out of an applicant pool of 1,500. A description of some of the participating projects follows.

James Mangold’s “Copland” is described as a suburban “High Noon” story.

Columbia University MFA student Tomislav Novakovic made “Children of the Crown,” about a Croatian-American father and his two sons living in the Bronx.

Shawn Schepps, who wrote “Encino Man,” made the Sundance team with her project “Kat and Allison Are Having a Bad Week,” which depicts a perfect woman whose life takes a turn when she meets a junkie.

Lisa Krueger’s Sundance selection “Manny & Lo” tells of two sisters on the lam — one of whom discovers she is pregnant. Her short “Best Offer” played at last year’s festival.

English immigrant Myles Connell’s “The Opportunists” is a tale of Irish emigres chasing the American Dream in New York City. Theresa Connelly’s “Polish Wedding” deals with women juggling their madonna/whore legacy.

Randy Redroad, the first director to receive support from the Sundance Institute’s newly established Native American Initiative, will be working on “indians and cowboys.”

Seasoned film editor Mia Goldman will also be part of the workshop, fine-tuning her family drama “To Have and to Hold.”

On the scribe side, Claudia Shear, whose “Blown Sideways Through Life” was one of this year’s hottest Off Broadway shows, will be attending the workshop. She will be crafting a script called “Five Very Pretty Girls.”

Joining Shear will be former “Saturday Night Live” talent coordinator Neil Levy, whose period piece “Days of Grace” pits brother against brother.

Former assistant costume designer Eric Mendelsohn will be working in the screenwriter’s lab on “Delia,” the story of a loner in the Big Apple.

While her play “Gramercy Park Is Closed to the Public” is scheduled to be produced later this spring by L.A.’s Fountainhead Theatre Co., Toni Ann Johnson will be in Utah soon to whip the script into shooting-ready shape.

Kyung Ja Lee, who has an MFA from the American Film Institute, will be working on “Koreatown Blues,” about the bond between a father and daughter in L.A.’s Koreatown after the 1992 riot.

More Film

  • South Mountain

    Film Review: 'South Mountain'

    “South Mountain” joins the company of “Gloria Bell” and “Diane” as yet another 2019 drama intimately attuned to the literal and emotional plight of a middle-aged woman. In the case of Hilary Brougher’s incisive feature, the female in question is Lila (Talia Balsam), whose quiet life in upstate New York is destabilized by a continuing [...]

  • The Good Girls

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Good Girls'

    The economy’s a mess but Sofía’s hair is perfect in Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls,” a film that is all surface in a way that is not, for once, a negative. The primped, powdered and shoulder-padded story of the fall from grace of a 1980s Mexican socialite is all about buffed and lustrous surfaces [...]

  • ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (Who Totally

    ‘Midsommar’ Traumatizes Early Audiences (But in a Good Way)

    Ari Aster can likely cross off “sophomore slump” from his list of many nightmares. Distributor A24 let loose the follow-up to the director’s widely praised, commercial hit debut “Hereditary” with two buzz screenings, which ran simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Response was almost unanimously positive, if not significantly rattled. “Holy [...]

  • Toy Story 4 Forky

    ‘Toy Story 4’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Toy Story 4.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.53 million through Sunday for 1,073 national ad airings on 38 networks. [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content