Sundance Institute Selects 22 Fellows for 2013 Documentary Edit and Story Labs

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the selection of 22 Fellows representing nine documentary film projects to participate in the 2013 Documentary Edit and Story Labs, June 21-29 and July 5-13 at Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah.

Built upon the immersive Lab model launched in 1981 by Sundance Institute President & Founder Robert Redford, each session of the Documentary Edit and Story Labs brings together director and editor teams with world-renowned documentary filmmakers and Sundance Institute staff to support creative risk-taking around issues of story, dramatic structure and character development.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Sundance Institute provides support to film projects at all moments in their lifecycle, and our Documentary Edit and Story Labs focus specifically on critical moments of postproduction. As with all of our Labs, we are grateful to the Fellows for sharing their work with us and to the Creative Advisors for their generous and innumerable contributions  to our Fellows’ projects.”

Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund, said, “The Documentary Edit  and Story Labs are unique in the world in their rigor, candor and community-building focus. Films and filmmakers benefit in extraordinary ways from the experience and dedication of some of the most renowned Editing and Directing Advisors in peer-to-peer engagement with staff and other participants over the course of the Lab."

Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellows will be joined by DFP staff and Creative Advisors to jointly engage in the creative process. Editors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Mary Lampson (Harlan County USA), Mary Manhardt (American Promise), Jonathan Oppenheim (The Oath) and Richard Hankin (God Loves Uganda). Directors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Carol Dysinger (One Bullet Afghanistan) and Ross McElwee (Photographic Memory).

A Blind Eye (U.S.)
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Editor: Amanda Laws
The voice of an American camerawoman explores the nature of cinematography and what she has failed to see while filming in Afghanistan through her encounters with two Afghan teenagers. Najeeb, a one-eyed boy, struggles to hide what really haunts him, while a bold teenage girl must decide how much she will risk to be visible. A U.S. Military surveillance blimp in the sky over Kabul tracks their every move.

Elephant in the Room (U.S.)
Co-directors and Editor: Ed Pincus, Lucia Small
Producer: Mary Kerr
Two filmmakers of different generations turn the camera on each other to explore friendship, legacy, loss and living with terminal illness. Told from two points of view, Elephant in the Room offers a unique, raw, personal glimpse into a creative partnership and the difficulty of capturing the preciousness of life.

The Last Hijack (U.S., Netherlands)
Co-directors: Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting
Editor: Edgar Burcksen
Mohamed, an experienced Somali pirate, assembles his team to conduct his final hijacking. Increasing pressure from his family and future wife to quit an increasingly dangerous profession provide the backdrop for this dramatic tale about survival in a failed state.

Street Fighting Man (U.S.)
Director: Andrew James
Editor: Jason Tippet
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.

Totonel (Romania)
Director: Alexander Nanau
Editor: Mirceau Olteanu
What happens when we discover that we can get more from life than our parents have to offer?

Fellows will be joined by DFP staff and Creative Advisors to jointly engage in the creative process. Editors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Victor Livingston (Crumb), Kate Amend (Birth Story), Jean Tsien (Drivers Wanted) and Tom Haneke (American Teen). Directors serving as Creative Advisors for this session are Carol Dysinger (One Bullet Afghanistan) and Robb Moss (Secrecy).

An African Spring (U.S.)
Director: Elizabeth ‘Chai’ Vasarhelyi
Editor: Jay Freund
In the Spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement erupted to protect one of Africa’s oldest and most stable democracies.

The Homestretch (U.S.)
Co-Directors: Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly
Editor: Leslie Simmer
Four homeless teenagers brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school, and life alone on the streets to build a brighter future. Against all odds, these kids defy stereotypes as they learn to reach out for help and create new, surprising definitions of home.  

Rich Hill (U.S.)
Co-directors: Tracy Draz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo
Editor: Jim Hession
Rich Hill chronicles the turbulent lives of three boys living in a dying Midwestern town, witnessing their struggles up close as they fight to have self-worth, a sense of belonging and a family bond. Despite deep need, these boys still have hope. There is still the dream of transformation: that cycles of poverty can be broken, that love will sustain, that hard work will be rewarded, and that even they can live the American dream.

Strong Island (U.S.)
Director: Yance Ford
Editor: Shannon Kennedy
Haunted by the violent death for over 20 years, Strong Island is the director’s meditation on loss, the impact of grief over time and the illusive meaning of “justice.”

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund is made possible by generous support from Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, The Skoll Foundation, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Hilton Worldwide, Cinereach, Wallace Global Fund, Compton Foundation, Emerald Data Solutions, the Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation, The J.A. & H.G. Woodruff, Jr. Charitable Trust, Time Warner Foundation, and Candescent Films.

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nonfiction filmmakers worldwide. The program advances innovative nonfiction storytelling about a broad range of contemporary social issues, and promotes the exhibition of documentary films to audiences. Through the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory, Composers + Documentary Laboratory, Creative Producing Lab, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and a variety of partnerships and international initiatives, the program provides a unique, global resource for contemporary independent documentary film.

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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