Film Independent, the organization behind the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has unveiled the six fellows chosen for its annual Directing Lab, a program designed to support emerging independent film directors in prep on their feature films. See the list below.
In a big change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Lab will be a two-part program: a two-week lab taking place virtually from May 4-15, followed by a three-day workshop to be held in Los Angeles later this year. In previous years, it was an eight-week program.
Directing Lab fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions and select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop. Each director then casts actors and rehearses their scenes in the Lab before undertaking a mini-production.
This year’s creative advisers and guest speakers include Daniel Barnz, Alex O’Flinn, Susanna Fogel, Sheila Hanahan Taylor, Karyn Kusama, Wyatt Garfield, Lisa Robertson and Chloé Zhao..
“In these uncertain times, Film Independent vows to continue our mission to support filmmakers whose bold visions embody independence and diversity.” said Lisa Hasko, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “As we celebrate twenty years of this Lab, we are pleased to present another group of incredible directors with the limitless potential to spark conversation, explore ideas and transform our world.”
The 2020 Directing Lab participants and their projects are:
The Flat Earth
Director-Writer: Laura Nasmyth
When he can no longer afford his diet of energy drinks and jellybeans, a young man enters into a surreal journey through a world of alternative facts and conspiracy theories, across the flat earth he lives on.
Frybread Face and Me
Director-Writer: Billy Luther
Two adolescent Navajo cousins from different worlds bond during a summer herding sheep on their grandmother’s ranch in Arizona, as they learn about their family’s past and themselves.
Director: Lisa Steen
Louise, 28, aimless, recently single, sort of a musician, millennially depressed without admitting to it, drunkenly slips down a set of icy stairs and breaks her hip, landing her in a therapy ward full of elderly women. There, she makes an 86-year-old friend and faces the truth about aging – it happens to everyone.
Little Con Lili
Director-Writer: Gabriela Garcia Medina
A 10-year old girl determined to see her dying father is forced to partake in small-time scams by her con-artist mother.
Director-Writer: Victoria Rivera
A headstrong female free-diver makes the perilous voyage to Malpelo Island to track hammerhead sharks, aboard a fishing boat with an all-male crew who prove to be as dangerous as the predators she’s after.
Our Own Devices
Director: Nicole Perlman
In the 22nd century, an artificially-intelligent SmartHome prides itself on taking proper care of its Owner — despite the fact that she (along with all of humanity) have long-since perished. Then one day a mysterious trespasser breaks into the hermetically-sealed house, in search of food, shelter, and the hope of human connection.