The Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for the annual January Screenwriters Lab, which takes place Jan. 9-14 at Utah’s Sundance Village.
In addition to artistic director Scott Frank, the writers will work with support from Michael Almereyda, Anthony Drazan, Todd Graff, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Lawrence Konner, Walter Mosley, Frank Pierson, Tom Rickman, John Ridley, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zachary Sklar, Dana Stevens, Audrey Wells and Doug Wright.
Participants and projects for the 2004 January Screenwriters Lab are:
Zoe Hopkins (writer/director), Canada, “Cherry Blossoms.” A young Native girl decides to build a relationship with the father she never knew as part of her ceremonial passage into womanhood.
Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft (co-writers), U.S.A., “Dot.” A deaf high school student uncovers sexual demons lurking beneath the suburban façade of her small New England town.
Aditya Assarat (writer/director), Thailand, “Hi-So.” A coming-of-age love story set in modern-day Bangkok.
Emre Mirza (co-writer) and Paxton Winters (co-writer/director), Pakistan/U.S.A., “Iraqi Freedom.” An American soldier experiences another side of the war and is forced to make a moral and political choice.
Kazuo Ohno (writer/director), U.S.A., “Mr. Crumpacker and the Man From the Letter.” An overbearing boss decides to reconfigure his company as a bastion of philosophical inquiry.
Derek Nguyen (writer), U.S.A., “Monster.” As detective Tang Tran investigates the disappearance of a Vietnamese high school student following a brutal hate crime, he discovers that nobody is completely innocent — not even himself.
Kieran and Michele Mulroney (co-writers/co-directors), U.S.A., “Paper Man.” A coming-of-middle-age story in which a frustrated writer spends a lonely winter on Cape Cod where he must choose between a world-weary superhero, an extinct bird and a 16-year-old local girl.
Djamshed Usmonov (writer/ director), Tajikistan, “To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die.” A young man is unable to consummate his marriage and transcends his impotence through violence.
Stephen Guirgis (writer), U.S.A., “Untitled Stephen Gurgis Project.” A terminally adolescent bike messenger rounds up his old crew to kidnap a childhood friend who has joined a religious cult.
Richard Press (writer/director), U.S.A., “Virtual Love.” The true story of Tony Johnson, a charismatic 15-year-old whose struggle with AIDS and a life of abuse brought him devoted friends from all over the world — until it began to seem that Tony didn’t exist.
Goran Dukic (writer/director), U.S.A., “Wristcutters.” Posits that suicide is the beginning of an afterlife journey for souls searching for what they couldn’t find in life.
Dael Orlandersmith (co-writer) and Blanka Zizka (co-writer/director), U.S.A., “Yellowman.” Love story between a light-skinned boy and a dark-skinned girl whose relationship collides with the prejudices of a black community.
Previous titles that have emerged from the Sundance Institute’s feature film programs include “Raising Victor Vargas,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Central Station” and “Slums of Beverly Hills.”
The 2004 Sundance Film Festival’s dramatic competition includes four films that were developed at the labs: “Maria Full of Grace,” written and directed by Josh Marston; “The Best Thief in the World,” written and directed by Jacob Kornbluth; “Down to the Bone,” written and directed by Debra Granik; and “Evergreen,” written and directed by Enid Zentelis.