Independent Filmmaker Project Labs Going Virtual For 2020; 26 Projects Set For Three Programs

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EXCLUSIVE: The Independent Filmmaker Project on Thursday unveiled 26 feature and series projects set to participate in the indie organization’s three annual yearlong IFP Filmmaker fellowship programs for first-time filmmakers: The IFP Filmmaker Labs’ Documentary Lab, Narrative Lab and Episodic Lab.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all will take place virtually, with the Documentary Lab now underway and running through Friday. The Episodic Lab, for series projects in development for TV and digital platforms from new creators, will run June 1-5, and the Narrative Lab, for feature films by directors currently in post-production on their debut features, is set for June 15-19.

The Narrative Lab supports fellows through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their debut features, providing support from staff and mentorship from leading filmmakers. The Episodic Lab provides knowledge, resources and mentor support necessary in writing pitches and creating development strategies.

All 2020 projects will participate in the 42nd IFP Week’s Project Forum in September.

“Over the years our labs have become a crucial foundation of IFP’s commitment to independent
storytelling, providing a platform for creatives to expand their network and further develop their
process, while utilizing valuable resources along the way,” IFP executive director Jeff Sharp said. “We felt it was more imperative than ever to produce this year’s labs and continue supporting our community with the high level of guidance and mentorship for which we are known.”

Here’s the full list of this year’s fellows:

(Through May 22)

Cusp – In a Texas military town, three teenage girls confront the dark corners of adolescence at the end of a fever dream summer. This raw vérité portrait dives down the rarely seen rabbit hole of modern girlhood. Parker Hill (Director, DP), Isabel Bethencourt (Director, DP), Zachary Luke Kislevitz (Producer)

Everything You Have Is Yours – As choreographer Hadar Ahuvia deconstructs Zionism through dance, she must first confront the embodiment of the Israel/Palestine conflict within her own family. Her work cracks open when she begins to wrestle with the power structures inherent in her artistic collaboration. Tatyana Tenenbaum (Director), Colin Nusbaum (Editor)

Free Chol Soo Lee – A crusading journalist becomes the match that ignites a powerful movement to free a wrongly convicted man from prison. Then, idealism and reality collide. Eugene Yi (Director, Writer), Julie Ha (Director, Writer), Su Kim (Producer)

Hollow Tree – Three young women coming-of-age along the Mississippi River in a time of rapid climate change. Kira Akerman (Director, Writer), Chachi Hauser (Producer), Monique Walton (Producer)

Not in My Mother’s House – Due to the sensitivity of subject matter the film description is not being released at this time. Sandra Itäinen (Director, Writer, Producer, Editor, DP), Chelsi Bullard (Producer)

Our Daughters – Against all odds, a single white mother makes a bold move and chooses an Indian American couple as her twin daughters’ adoptive parents. Now eight, the twins want to meet their birth mother; Our Daughters captures what unfolds. Chithra Jeyaram (Director, Producer, Editor, DP), Nico Opper (Consulting Producer), Leah Nichols (Animator), Yuhong Pang (Assistant Editor)

Silent Beauty – An autobiographical exploration of filmmaker Jasmin López’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. Jasmin López (Director, Writer, Producer), Chelsea Hernandez (Producer), Sarah Garrahan (Editor), Bron Moyi (DP)

Untitled PRC Project – A portrait of China’s economy, charting the changing nature of labor, production, and aspiration in the People’s Republic of China. Jessica Kingdon (Director, DP, Editor), Kira Simon-Kennedy (Producer), Nathan Truesdell (Producer, DP, Editor)

What We Leave Behind –– For the past 20 years, 89-year-old grandfather, Julian Moreno, has embarked on a monthly, 17-hour bus ride across the US-Mexico Border in order to visit his family that now lives in the U.S. Iliana Sosa (Director, Producer), Isidore Bethel (Editor)

Women on the Outside –– An intimate portrait of family and friendship, this film follows millennial Kristal Bush as she strives to rebuild bonds broken by incarceration. Zara Katz (Director, Writer, Producer, DP), Lisa Riordan Seville (Director, Writer, Producer, DP), Kiara C. Jones (Producer, Writer)

(June 1-5)

Afro — After a high-school altercation, a Black math whiz experiences a natural hair transformation and is recruited by an underground network of people-of-color that seeks cultural change by any means necessary. Jenn Shaw (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer)

Autom Reign — Dystopian sci-fi drama series set in a world where automation has radically altered society and confronted humanity with its own obsolescence. Sofian Khan (Creator), Roy Wol (Producer)

First Generation — Set in San Jose, California pre-social media era, we follow Jaime, a misled Vietnamese-American teen, as she bears the weight of two diverging worlds. Jeannie Nguyen (Creator, Writer)

HighBread — A collegiate dramedy that highlights the lives of a baker, a burnout and an international student on the brink of breakdown as they collectively break bread and cultural stereotypes over a Boston-based marijuana-bakery. Jayesh Jaidka (Creator, Producer), Daniel Blanda (Writer), Harjot Kaur (Executive Producer)

Mary — Mary was taken from her home by a shapeless shadow when she was a child. Now, 12 years later she finds herself out of its clutches and back into the light, but how long can she keep running? Daisy Borders (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Chloe Erwin (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Ryan Cunningham (Producer)

Mexican Ghost Stories — Visions haunt Tlaloc, a budding Mexican-American rapper estranged from his family, and launch him into a mystical journey through 400 years of his grandfather’s ghost stories. Daniela Cortes (Creator, Writer), Suzanne Jurva (Creator, Producer), Alvaro Saar Rios (Writer)

Miracle Lake — A teenage girl loses touch with reality after joining a school-sponsored hypnosis program. Based on true events. Blair Waters (Creator, Writer)

Red Curtain — A one-hour mystery anthology series set in various cities of the former Soviet Union — where history and magic, reality and superstition, art and politics mix to create mind bending modern day fables. Garin Hovannisian (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer), Alec Mouhibian (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer)

Stardust — Based on the real kidnapping that inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, 11-year-old Sally Horner must struggle to escape practiced criminal Frank La Salle as he forces her to travel across 1940s America for two years. Adapted from Tammy Greenwood’s acclaimed novel Rust & Stardust. Matthew Kaundart (Creator, Writer), Eric Cook (Producer, Executive Producer), Gina Resnick (Producer, Executive Producer)

• Tenure — A naïve Iranian film school professor must learn how to use sex, money, and power to fight his cutthroat colleagues and win a job for life, all while chasing his fading Hollywood dreams. Ronald Eltanal (Creator, Writer), Alireza Khatami (Creator), Payman Maadi (Executive Producer)

(June 15-19)

Homebody — A little boy gets to live as a woman for a day when he sends his spirit into his
babysitter’s body. Joseph Sackett (Director, Writer), Joy Jorgensen (Producer), Alan Wu (Editor)

Ludi — An immigrant nursing assistant stops at nothing to send money back home to Haiti, launching her into a nightlong purgatory through Miami’s private care-taking world. Edson Jean (Director, Writer), Mark Pulaski (Producer), Fabiola Rodriguez (Producer)

Ma Belle, My Beauty — As two recently married musicians adjust to life in France, their beloved ex, who abruptly disappeared from their relationship years ago, finally visits. Marion Hill (Director, Writer, Editor, Producer), Ben Matheny (Producer), Kelsey Scult (Producer)

Poser — A misfit podcaster interviews artists and musicians in an effort to forge her own identity, but in doing so, loses herself even further. Noah Dixon (Director, Writer, Editor), Ori Segev (Director, Editor), Brett Reiter (Producer)

Shapeless — Ivy, a struggling New Orleans singer fighting to hide an eating disorder, must face her addiction—and the monsters that come with it—or risk losing everything. Samantha Aldana (Director), Lizzie Guitreau (Producer), Stephen Pfeil (Producer)

Superior — On the run Marian returns to her hometown after six years, slowly reconnecting with her identical twin sister, Vivian, until their two worlds begin to collide. Erin Vassilopoulos (Director, Co-writer), Grant Curatola (Producer), Patrick Donovan (Producer)

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