13 enroll in S’dance labs

Filmmakers shoot, edit scenes then get feedback

Sundance Institute has selected 13 projects for the annual June Filmmakers and Screenwriters Labs. They include submissions from the directors of “Lost In La Mancha” and “Dahmer,” and filmmakers from Israel, Africa, Iran and Tokyo.

Overseen by Michelle Satter, director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, the labs take place at Utah’s Sundance Village May 27-June 26. In the program’s first three weeks, eight filmmakers collaborate with professional actors and video production crews, shooting and editing key scenes from their scripts.

The Screenwriters Lab is held in the fourth week, when writers involved with five additional projects join for one-on-one story conferences with creative advisors.

Active advisors

Gyula Gazdag returns for his seventh year as the labs’ artistic director. Creative advisors this year include Miguel Arteta, John August, Walter Bernstein, Kathryn Bigelow, Antonia Bird, Anthony Drazan, Sally Field, Keith Gordon, Ed Harris, James V. Hart, Peter Hedges, Michael Hoffman, Christine Lahti, Michael Lehmann, Christopher McQuarrie, Walter Mosley, John Ridley, Tommy Schlamme, Wesley Strick, Jim Taylor, Joan Tewkesbury and Stanley Tucci.

In recent years, this program supported films such as Peter Sollett’s “Raising Victor Vargas,” David Gordon Green’s “All The Real Girls” and Lisa Cholodenko’s “Laurel Canyon.”

Helmers tapped

The eight filmmakers selected for the lab are: n Director Louis Pepe and writer Keith Fulton, who most recently teamed on documentary feature “Lost in La Mancha,” will collaborate on “An Awfully Good Alibi,” in which an out-of-work actor ingratiates himself with an old man and becomes ensnared by his delusional plots.

  • Caran Hartsfield, a recent alumnus of NYU’s graduate film program, will develop “Bury Me Standing.” Pic is a story of five bereaved relatives who struggle after a death in the family. The script was developed at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefoundation Residency in Paris and won the IFP’s Gordon Parks Screenplay Award.

  • Miranda July, whose performances, movies and recordings appeared at MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum and the Rotterdam Intl. Film Festival, will develop “Me And You and Everyone We Know,” a story about children and adults with impossible desires.

  • Hany Abu-Assad, an airplane engineer-turned-documentarian, will develop “Paradise Now,” a story that follows 24 hours in the lives of two Palestinian friends as they become entwined in violence.

  • A graduate of the African Culture Centre’s film school in Johannesburg, Teboho Mahlatsi will develop “Scar,” the story of an impoverished boy on the cusp of fame who reinvents himself in the hardcore image of his friend and protector.

  • Dror Shaul, a film and commercial director from Tel Aviv, will develop “Sweet Mud,” a satirical look at life on a kibbutz.

  • Emily Hubley, who’s been making animated films for more than two decades and most recently animated segments of John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” will develop “The Toe Tactic.” Pic follows a young woman’s search for her wallet through an animated and live-action world.

  • Co-writer and director Elisabeth Subrin and co-writer Evan Carlson will collaborate on “Up,” in which a young woman’s attempt to join the fast-paced world of a dot-com triggers a spectacular manic-depressive cycle. Subrin was a 2002-2003 Guggenheim Fellow, while Carlson’s play “Quickfire” was performed in the Institute of Contemporary Art/London’s Young Playwright’s Festival.

Scripters take a turn

Joining the filmmakers are the five screenwriters selected for the 2003 June Screenwriters Lab.

  • Sterlin Harjo, a Creek/Seminole Nations Indian from Holdenville, Okla., will develop his script “Four Sheets to the Wind,” a story that follows an American Indian family as they come to terms with tragedy.

  • David Jacobson, who wrote and directed “Criminal” and “Dahmer,” will develop “Down In The Valley,” a coming-of-age story about a boy who learns to see reality from a man who can’t.

  • Iranian writer-director Arash Riahi, who works for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, will develop “For A Moment,” which intertwines stories from a group of refugees who must overcome nightmares in order to achieve their dreams.

  • Tokyo-born Mai Tominaga, a writer-director who won the 2003 NHK/Sundance Intl. Filmmakers Award, will develop “100% Pure Wool,” a story that takes place in a magical house where old twin sisters live in a fantasy world filled with junk and junk-monsters.

  • Writer-director Carrie Mae Weems, whose work has been collected by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, among others, will develop “Having A Ball, Wish You Were Here.” The script explores the traditions and social implications of the Ball culture of New Orleans.

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