Josh Hutcherson-Directed ‘Ape’ Among 5 Short Films in Conde Nast, Indigenous Incubator

Josh Hutcherson will star in and make his directorial debut with “Ape,” a short film about a schizophrenic man battling lifelong demons, which is one of the five projects selected for “The Big Script” film incubator from Indigenous Media and Conde Nast Entertainment.

Hutcherson, best known for co-starring in the “Hunger Games” movies alongside Jennifer Lawrence, last fall teamed up on the incubator project with Indigenous Media, a next-generation studio formed by filmmakers Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia and Jake Avnet, through his Turkeyfoot Productions banner formed with his mother, Michelle Hutcherson. The project is aimed at finding the best unproduced screenplays submitted via the Black List featuring characters in their late teens or early 20s.

Earlier this year, Conde Nast Entertainment joined as a partner in the incubator. CNE will distribute all five of the shorts on its video hub, the Scene. The short films, produced by Indigenous Media, have the potential to be fully funded and produced as feature-length films based on audience reaction and buzz, according to Jake Avnet.

The five selected screenplays for “The Big Script” film incubator were winnowed down from 2,200 total screenplays from the Black List:

Popular on Variety

  • “Ape” by Jon Johnstone: To take control of his life, Travis Wilker must conquer the hallucinations that plagued his childhood.
  • “Boy in a Backpack” by Bradley Martocello: Pax signs up for a charity race with his quadriplegic brother so he can pay off a drug debt, but he soon realizes that he can’t outrun his past.
  • “Crowbar Smile” by Jamie Mayer: Nate’s simple summer job mowing the lawn of a neighbor woman leads to a life-changing encounter.
  • “Honor Council” by Scott Simonsen: A high school whodunnit about a stoner teacher and the school troublemaker as they discover what it means to be honorable.
  • “Lyra” by Djochoua Belovarski: As Earth falls apart, young-and-in-love Miriam is given an opportunity that can change her future.

Hutcherson directed “Ape,” which wrapped production in L.A. on May 22. All other short films will be directed by the screenwriters. Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia, Jake Avnet, Josh Hutcherson and Michelle Hutcherson will serve as mentors as well as producers on all five films.

“The Big Script” film incubator is one of two incubators from CNÉ and Indigenous Media. The second incubator, “Project: Her,” focuses exclusively on female filmmakers and their mentors, who will include Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland”), Mimi Leder (“The Leftovers”), Betty Thomas (“Private Parts”), Sarah Treem (“The Affair”) and Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”). The program will follow their journeys together through social videos and culminate in the finished project premiering on CNÉ’s digital video network.

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