Film Independent has named eight recipients of its 2014 Documentary Lab Fellowship designed to aid filmmakers currently in post-production on feature-length docus. Honorees Esteban Arguello & Xuan Jiang, Jamie Sisley & Mayuran Tiruchelvam, Suzanne Joe Kai, Robyn Symon, Nick Spark, Andrew James, Jonathan Matthews, and Jen Heck will receive feedback and strategic distribution and marketing advice from program mentors Doug Blush (Editor, 20 Feet From Stardom), Laura Gabbert (No Impact Man), Caroline Libresco (Sunset Story), Linda Goldstein-Knowlton (Somewhere Between), Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol) and Chris Shellen (Marwencol) during the seven-week program. Here are the fellows and their films:
Title: Jiàoliàn [Coach]
Director/Producer: Esteban Arguello
Producer: Xuan Jiang
Logline: Jiàoliàn is the story of 27 year-old Norman DeSilva, an American who overnight becomes the head coach for the Foshan Longlions, a unique basketball team comprised of Americans, Syrian and Chinese players. Together, DeSilva rallies his team to overcome their challenges in order to win a spot in the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs.
Title: Farewell, Ferris Wheel
Director/Producer: Jamie Sisley
Co-Director: Miguel Martinez
Producer: Mayuran Tiruchelvam, Gerry Kim
Editor: Eugene Yi
Logline: Farewell, Ferris Wheel explores the dual morality of the H-2B seasonal migrant work visa through the lens of the American Carnival and a Mexican town that provides one third of the labor that staffs the carnivals.
Title: Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres
Director/Producer: Suzanne Joe Kai
Logline: When one man’s passion for rock and roll coincides with a cultural revolution, the truth is set free. Like a Rolling Stone is the story of legendary journalist, Ben Fong-Torres, an original editor-writer at Rolling Stone magazine, who brought an honest literary voice to the revolutionary force of music that continues to influence our society to this day.
Title: My Uncle Gloria
Director/Producer: Robyn Symon
Logline: At age 66, Bernard “Butch” Rosichan, a Jewish, balding pot-bellied and homophobic owner of an auto wrecking business undergoes a risky sex change operation. Rosichan is reborn as “Gloria Stein” and attempts to reunite with her dysfunctional family while also becoming a leading advocate for transgender rights.
Director/Producer: Nick Spark
Cinematographer: Bill Megalos
Editor: Susan Metzger
Logline: Rightfooted chronicles Jessica Cox’s struggle to overcome enormous physical and emotional obstacles to become the world’s first armless pilot and her transformation into an activist for the handicapped in America and abroad.
Title: Street Fighting Man
Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Andrew James
Producer: Sara Archambault, Katie Tibaldi
Editor: Jason Tippet
Composer: Zachary Saginaw/Shigeto
Co-producers: Jamila Wignot and Torben Bernhard
Logline: In a new America where the promise of education, safety and shelter are in jeopardy, three Detroit men fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations.
Title: Surviving Cliffside
Director/Producer: Jonathan Matthews
Producer: Richard Bever
Logline: A West Virginia family faces illness, addiction, and gun violence, while their daughter makes a run for Little Miss West Virginia.
Title: We’re With the Band
Director/Producer/Co-Editor/Co-Cinematographer: Jen Heck
Producer: Maria De La O
Cinematographer: Martina Radwan
Editor: Ben Frazer
Logline: Using a band as a cover story, a group of unlikely rebels with dubious musical skills traverse forbidden borders and become entangled in each other’s lives in Israel and Palestine.