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Category: From the Labs

Off the Mountain: A Peek Inside the Sundance Institute’s Digital Summer Labs

Dogfight, A Dry White Season, The 40-Year-Old Version, El Norte, Reservoir Dogs, The Wood, Pretty Woman—these are just a few of the memorable independent films that have gone through the Sundance Institute’s summer labs over the past four decades. Bringing together established mentors and exciting talent from a wide range of artistic disciplines, the labs have been a core part of the nonprofit Institute’s mission since the very beginning.
From 1981 up until this year, most of these gatherings have taken place high in the mountains of Utah at the Sundance Resort, an idyllic backdrop that allows participants from all over the world—among them directors, screenwriters, XR artists, actors, playwrights, composers, and editors—to shut out the demands and pressures of the outside world and really focus on their craft.

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Michelle Satter on Reimagining Sundance Institute’s Summer Labs

Michelle Satter is the director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, a post she has held since the Institute was founded in 1981. In the letter below, she offers insights into how the Institute’s signature Labs have been carefully adapted and reimagined to go digital on Sundance Co//ab.
For the thousands who gather in Park City each winter, the Sundance Film Festival is the most visible part of Sundance Institute.

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8 Filmmakers You Probably Didn’t Know Came through the Sundance Labs

Summer at Sundance Institute means one thing: lab season. Our labs are week-or-more-long intensive residency programs pairing budding artists with experienced mentors, all designed to help new voices hone their craft.
And the labs aren’t just on writing or directing (though we have those, too)—we have labs for everything from creative producing to composing music for film to working with VR and new media.

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Here’s What the Sundance Team Is Looking For in Your Artist Application

It can be an arduous, often inscrutable process to find and secure creative support. As part of Sundance Institute’s online learning community, Sundance Co//ab—and in an effort to demystify the application experience—Sundance Institute’s team of artist program
staff convened to talk about the myths, insights, and realities of applying for labs and grants.
These are the people who
know the ins and outs of the Sundance Institute labs and application process, as well as other means of artist support
within the organization.

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How the Theatre Lab Disrupts the Echo Chamber with New Voices

Adam Ashraf Elsayigh is a playwright, translator, producer, and independent scholar who splits his time between Cairo and New York. Adam has recently contributed to our creative communities at our Theatre Labs at both the Sundance Mountain Resort and MASS MoCA.The application for the 2020 Theatre Lab is now open and is available in English, French, and Arabic.

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“Let Go and Be Bold”: Director/Editor Teams on “Rewriting” Their Films During the Edit

As the summer winds down, we’re spotlighting the Feature Film Program’s post-production support through the annual Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship and the Editing Residency, which took place this past June during our annual Directors Lab.
Honoring the memory of beloved Sundance Institute mentor Sally Menke (editor on Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Inglourious Basterds), the Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship supports an emerging narrative editor in advancing their craft and building their career.
2019 Fellow Mónica Salazar’s credits include Honey Boy (directed by Alma Har’el), which won the 2019 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for vision and craft, and the Los Angeles Emmy Award–winning documentary Montage: Great Film Composers and the Piano (directed by Ben Proudfoot).

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“Be Brave and Experiment”: Lab Fellows Share 5 Ways to Hone Your Composing Skills

From graceful piano notes to frenzied violins—what would a film be without a powerful score? Music is a vital part of both fiction and documentary filmmaking, and that’s why Sundance Institute’s Film Music Program empowers aspiring film composers through an annual Music and Sound Design Lab.
This year’s lab took place for two weeks in July at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California. Each composer was assigned either a fiction or documentary film project and then collaborated one-on-one with their project’s director to score a selection of scenes, with guidance from experienced advisors in both the film music and directing fields.

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5 Editing Tips from the Documentary Edit and Story Lab

Getting dropped into a completely new project during post-production and being asked to reimagine structures and refocus on the director’s vision—all in one week—is a tall order. But the contributing editors who attended the Documentary Edit and Story Lab this summer are established documentary filmmakers with years of experience shaping stories, and each of them was carefully matched with a project that they could connect with on a deeper level.
Steph Ching—a DOC NYC “40 under 40” filmmaker based in Brooklyn whose past work includes After Spring and the Emmy-nominated Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon—was paired with Singing in the Wilderness.

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Chasing “The Thing”: Sundance Institute Fellows Describe Their Directors Lab Experience in 3 Words

What’s it like going through Sundance Institute’s signature summer labs? We caught up with a few of the 2019 Directors Lab fellows to get their quick takes on what it was like to fine-tune their projects with support from world-renowned creative advisors and fellow directors in the Utah mountains.
Joey Ally

Joey Ally works with actress Whitney Palmer on set. © 2019 Sundance Institute | Photo by Dan Campbell
Joey Ally stars in her musical, surrealist project The Hater as Dorothy, who gets fired for her liberal extremist views and retreats to her conservative Texas hometown, where she ends up going undercover as a Republican to run against her childhood bully for state congress.

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