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Sundance taps 5 for grants

Assarat, Harjo, Hubley, Ohno, Rivera receive support

The Sundance Institute has selected five filmmakers for its initial class of Annenberg Film Fellows.

Aditya Assarat, Sterlin Harjo, Emily Hubley, Kazuo Ohno and Alex Rivera are the program’s first participants and will receive support over a two-year period for their projects. All are veterans of Sundance’s filmmaker and/or screenwriting labs.

Aditya Assarat, who studied film at USC, is developing “Hi-So,” a coming-of-age love story set in modern day Bangkok.

Sterlin Harjo is developing “Four Sheets to the Wind,” which follows a young Native American’s family as they come to terms with tragedy.

Emily Hubley, who provided animated segments for John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” is about to enter pre-production on her animated/live-action feature, “The Toe Tactic.”

Kazuo Ohno is developing “Mr. Crumpacker and the Man from the Letter,” which portrays an overbearing boss who reconfigures his company as a place of philosophical inquiry.

Rivera was also the U.S. recipient of the 2002 Sundance/NHK Intl. Filmmakers award. He hopes to begin production this fall on “The Sleep Dealer,” a futuristic story of an immigrant who struggles to understand love and obligation in a new world order.

The Annenberg program, a five-year initiative, was created last month by a $5 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation to the Sundance Institute.