Sundance Institute Announces 2019 Documentary Edit and Story Lab Projects

Nonfiction Projects, All Women-Directed, Range
From Intimate Familial Explorations to Experiments in ‘Speculative Nonfiction’

Los Angeles, CA — On June 21, five boundary-pushing nonfiction film project teams will convene at the Sundance Resort in Utah for the 2019 Documentary Edit and Story Lab, Sundance Institute announced today.

Designed to provide time and space to go deep into the language, form, and meaning of these five independent nonfiction films, the Lab combines director and editor teams in the later stages of post-production, with renowned documentary filmmakers, for the process of reimagining or reconceiving dramatic structures, exploring character and story development, and refocusing around the director’s original animating vision for their work.

Documentary Film Program Director Tabitha Jackson, who oversees the process alongside Labs Director Kristin Feeley, said “By gathering these filmmakers together with some of the field’s most compelling creators, we hope to not only advance their projects through the revelatory process of editing, but also to build community and meaningfully expand the realm of imaginative possibility for the film teams themselves.”

Director advisors for the Documentary Edit and Story Lab are Lou Pepe & Keith Fulton (The Bad Kids), and Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation); Editor advisors are Kate Amend (The Case Against 8), Andrea Chignoli (Cielo) and Alex O’Flinn (The Rider).

For the fourth year, the Lab will host a writer-in-residence. This year, Manuel Betancourt will join as part of a program designed to forge deeper understanding of nonfiction film by immersing film critics into the creative process.

The 2019 Documentary Edit & Story Lab projects are:

A Photographic Memory (USA)

Director/Producer: Rachel Elizabeth Seed

Producer: Danielle Varga

A photographer attempts to piece together a portrait of her mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, a daring journalist and a woman she never knew. Uncovering the vast audio-visual archive Turner-Seed produced, including lost interviews with iconic photographers, the film explores memory, legacy and stories left untold.

Rachel Elizabeth Seed is a Brooklyn-based nonfiction storyteller and curator working in filmmaking, photography and writing. Her photography was included in the International Center of Photography’s exhibit on Hurricane Sandy, Rising Waters, and she has produced short films for BBC, Teen Vogue, NBC Left Field and New York Magazine. A recipient of support from the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, the Maine Media Workshops and the Roy W. Dean Grant, she is a 2017 IFP Labs Fellow and director/co-founder of the Brooklyn Documentary Club, an NYC-based filmmaker collective.

Danielle Varga is a creative nonfiction producer based in Brooklyn. She most recently produced Brett Story’s The Hottest August (True/False, SXSW 2019), and co-produced Kirsten Johnson’s award-winning film Cameraperson (Sundance 2016). She was consulting producer on Charm City (Tribeca 2018), This Is Home (Sundance 2018), and her additional credits include Teenage and 1971. Danielle was recently listed on DOC NYC’s 2018 inaugural list of “40 Under 40” filmmakers to watch. She was a 2016-2017 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, has led producing workshops at Union Docs, and has pitched projects at Hot Docs Forum, CPH:DOX Forum and the Sundance Creative Producing Summit.

Fox (USA)

Director: Garrett Bradley

Editor: Gabriel Rhodes

After being given a numerical life sentence for a first time offense in a Louisiana state prison, a mother of six takes on the role of a modern day abolitionist, dedicating the next 21 years of her life to the release of her husband and unification of their family.

Garrett Bradley is a grantee of the 2019 Creative Capital Fellowship and 2017 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellowship and Field of Vision Fellowship. She has received numerous prizes – including the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film Alone, released in February of 2017 with The New York Times OpDocs. Bradley is the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist lead after-school program aimed at developing strong college portfolios and applications for students attending public high schools in New Orleans. Creative Council is supported by The New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC). Bradley lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Gabriel Rhodes’ feature documentary credits include Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Special Jury Prize, 2018 Sundance Film Festival), Newtown, The Witness, 1971, The Tillman Story, Without Shepherds, and Quest For Honor as well as the forthcoming And We Go Green. His work has premiered at Sundance, Cannes, NY Film Festival, Tribeca and many other international festivals. Three of his edited films – The Witness, The Tillman Story & Quest For Honor – were shortlisted for an Academy Award. He received his master’s degree in documentary film from Stanford University in 2000. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons.

Singing in the Wilderness (China)

Director: Dongnan Chen

Editor: Matthieu Laclau

Producer: Violet Feng

After hiding in the mountains for a century, a Miao ethnic Christian choir is discovered and becomes a national sensation. This is an intimate story about two young Miaos and how their faith, identity and love are challenged when they step into the real world of China.

Dongnan Chen’s debut film, The Trail from Xinjiang, a profile of three pickpockets from China’s far west Xinjiang, won Best Documentary Short at Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) and has been widely screened at festivals, universities and museums worldwide. Sound of Vision, a film following a blind man’s exploration of New York, which she worked on as one of the producers, directors and editors, was nominated for an Emmy Award and premiered at HotDocs. Her works have been seen on NBC, NYC TV, Vice and PBS websites. She is a graduate from the documentary program at New York University. Singing in the Wilderness is her first feature length project.

Matthieu Laclau is a French editor who has been working in China since 2008. He studied Film Theory in Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and received his Master’s degree in 2008. In 2013, he won the Golden Horse Best Editing for A Touch Of Sin directed by Jia Zhang-ke and in 2017, the American Chlotrudis Awards Best Editing for Mountains May Depart directed by Jia Zhang-ke. Recently, he edited Still Tomorrow by Fan Jian, Dragonfly Eyes by Xu Bing and Ash Is Purest White by Jia Zhang-ke. In 2019, he completed the editing of two feature films selected in the Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes: The Wild Goose Lake directed by Diao Yinan (Competition) and Nina Wu directed by Midi Z (Un Certain Regard).

Truth or Consequences (USA)

Director/Editor: Hannah Jayanti

Producer: Sara Archambault

Truth or Consequences is a speculative documentary about a small desert town in southern New Mexico. Set in a near future where humans have left Earth for other planets, the film tells the story of the people who stayed. Combining observational footage, archival, and experimental new media, Truth or Consequences is a lyrical meditation on striving, memory, and finding what we’re looking for in the unlikeliest of places.

Hannah Jayanti is a documentary filmmaker who directs, shoots and edits. She believes the art of nonfiction has the power to radically change the way we listen to each other. Her first feature, Truth or Consequences, has received support from Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Points North Institute, Catapult Film, True/False, Jacob Burns Film Center, Puffin Foundation. She’s passionate about making filmmaking accessible and teaches free/low cost media classes around the world.

Through the Night (USA)
Director: Loira Limbal

Editor: Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Producer: Jameka Autry

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality
of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare
Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern
economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider – whose lives
intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

Loira Limbal is an Afro-Latina filmmaker interested in crafting nuanced and revelatory stories about the lives of women of color. Her first film, Estilo Hip Hop aired on PBS in 2009. She is the Vice President and Documentary Lab Director at Firelight Media. Currently, she is directing Through the Night, a feature documentary about a 24-hour daycare center. Limbal is a Sundance Institute Time Warner fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood fellow. She lives in the Bronx with her two children.

Malika Zouhali-Worrall is an editor and director based in Brooklyn, NY. Her

directing credits include the feature documentary Call Me Kuchu (Berlinale 2012),

which was released in North America and Europe, acquired by Netflix and BBC World,and further distributed by the United Nations. Malika’s second film, Thank You for Playing (Tribeca Film Festival 2015), which she directed and edited in collaboration with David Osit, was broadcast on POV, awarded the News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary, and also nominated for Outstanding Documentary Editing. Malika has directed and/or edited short films for ARTE, The New York Times OpDocs, Topic, Vice, and Human Rights Watch. She is currently a San Francisco Film / Catapult Documentary Fellow, and recently received the year-long Chicken & Egg Award fellowship for mid-career filmmakers.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is made possible by founding support from Open Society Foundations. Generous additional support is provided by Ford Foundation; Skoll Foundation; Luminate; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Kendeda Fund; The Charles Engelhard Foundation; Science Sandbox/Simons Foundation; A&E IndieFilms; Genuine Article Pictures; Cinereach; CNN Films; Bertha Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Compton Foundation; Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman; Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation; the Elkes Foundation; Code Blue Foundation; Discovery Channel; RYOT; VICE Studios; Vulcan Productions; WNET New York Public Media; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Adobe; EarthSense Foundation; J.A. & H.G. Woodruff, Jr. Charitable Trust; S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation; and two anonymous donors.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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