Middle East Lab sets up tent

Sundance unveils 7 projects for event

The Sundance Institute will unveil on Friday the seven projects selected for its third annual Middle East Screenwriters Lab to take place Sunday through Nov. 1 in a Bedouin tent in Jordan.

The Lab is run by Jordan’s Royal Film Commission in consultation with the Sundance Institute and is part of the institute’s Feature Film Program to support emerging helmers from around the world.

The seven projects range from across the region, with entries from Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Morocco and Syria.

Sundance Institute associate director Alesia Weston returns as creative director of the Lab, while creative advisers include helmers Nabil Ayouch (“Ali Zaoua”), Yousry Nasrallah (“The Door to the Sun”), Mary Harron (“The Notorious Bettie Page”) and screenwriter Shawn Slovo (“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”).

“We asked ourselves where the great storytellers were and who we could learn the most from and it was clear that the Middle East was right at the top of that list,” Sundance Institute exec director Ken Brecher told Daily Variety. “There’s an extraordinary range of storytelling already going on and we felt that there was an up-and-coming generation of writers there that would benefit from this Lab.”

The Lab will take place in an eco-site in the Jordanian desert, where the seven filmmakers will develop their scripts in intensive workshops and one-to-one sessions.

The seven projects are:

“Brahim,” Chadi Zeneddine, Lebanon

“The Building,” Suhad Khatib, Jordan

“Dancing at the Checkpoint,” Ismael El Habbash, Palestinian Territories

“Detroit Unleaded,” Rola Nashef, USA/ Lebanon

“A Place for Atlas’ Feet,” Sali Ma Ben Moumen, Morocco

“Samba da mazooz,” Hicham Ayouch,Morocco

“Sammy Paradise,” Eyad Zahra,USA/Syria