Sundance Institute Selects Eight Projects for 2015 Documentary Edit and Story Labs

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the eight projects selected for its annual Documentary Edit and Story Labs, taking place in two sessions at the Sundance Resort in Utah from June 19-27 and July 3-11. The Labs are among the highlights of the Institute’s year-round work with documentary feature filmmakers and are part of the 24 residential labs the Institute hosts each year to discover and foster the talent of emerging independent artists in film, theatre, new media and episodic content.

At the Documentary Edit and Story Lab, projects in the later stages of post-production work on rough cuts in a rigorous creative environment that supports risk-taking in story, dramatic structure and character development. Each session of the Lab brings together director and editor teams with world-renowned documentary filmmakers and Sundance Institute staff. Recent projects that participated in the Documentary Edit and Story Lab include (T)ERROR, The Queen of Versailles, Rich Hill, The Kill Team, Gideons Army and The Genius of Marian.

Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Documentary Film Program, said, “The work of this year’s fellows is a reflection of some of the richness and purpose to be found in contemporary non-fiction storytelling. We are excited not just about the projects, but also about the alchemy that will happen on the mountain when these directors and editors, first-time and mid-career, national and international come together to form the creative connections that will continue to inspire them in their brave and challenging work.”

Editors serving as Creative Advisors for the June 19-27 session are Marshall Curry (Point and Shoot), Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (The Law In These Parts), Tom Haneke (Where Soldiers Come From), Mary Lampson (Harlan County), Geoffrey Richman (Racing Extinction) and Jean Tsien (Shut Up and Sing). Editors serving as Creative Advisors for the July 3-11 session are Robb Moss (Containment), Kate Amend (The Case Against 8), Richard Hankin (God Loves Uganda), Shannon Kennedy (Words of Witness), Victor Livingston (The Queen of Versailles) and Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol).

The Documentary Film Program, under the leadership of Tabitha Jackson, believes documentary is an increasingly important global art form and a critical cultural practice in the 21st century and provides year-round support to filmmakers through the Documentary Fund, labs, fellows programs and strategic advice from development to distribution.

Artists and projects selected for the 2015 Documentary Edit and Story Labs:

The Bad Kids
Director: Keith Fulton & Lou Pepe
Editor: Jacob Bricca
At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age story watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called “bad kids.”

Co-Directors: Jessica Dimmock & Christopher LaMarca
Editor: Fiona Otway
Brick reveals the raw emotional and physical experience of being a middle aged to senior transgender woman coming out for the first time in the Pacific Northwest. The film follows three intersecting stories of individuals who have lived their whole lives as men, and have decided this burdensome secret is one they can no longer keep.

Freedom Fighters (working title)
Director: Jamie Meltzer
Editor: Jeff Gilbert
There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by a group of exonerated men who collectively spent decades in prison. They call themselves the Freedom Fighters, and they look to free innocent people behind bars. Freedom Fighters (working title) follows these change-makers as they learn to investigate cases, support each other and rebuild their lives.

Newtown (working title)
Director: Kim A. Snyder
Editor: Gabriel Rhodes
Newtown (working title) explores the complex aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in America’s history that took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six educators on 12/14/12. Over the course of the following two years, the filmmakers use their exceptional access to document interconnected fates within a traumatized community fractured by grief, bonded in otherness, and driven toward a sense of purpose.

Beitar (working title)
Director: Maya Zinshtein
Editor: Noam Amit
In January 2013 a historical transfer deal transported two Muslim football players into the heart of Israel, Beitar JerusalemF.C. One season and one football team in crisis, and behind the story lurks the money and power that will send the club spiralling out of control.

Memories Of A Penitent Heart
Director: Cecilia Aldarondo
Editor: Hannah Buck
Twenty-five years after Miguel repented of being gay on his deathbed, his niece Cecilia goes looking for his long-lost partner Robert and cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. The first-ever documentary to tackle the unresolved wounds of family conflict wrought by AIDS, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a nuanced exploration of faith, love and redemption.

The Peacemaker
Director: James Demo
Editor: Erin Casper
The Peacemaker follows international peacemaker Padraig O’Malley, who helps make peace for others while often struggling to find it for himself. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq – to chronicle five years of his journey working a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction.

The Lovers and the Despot
Co-Directors: Ross Adam, Rob Cannan
Editor: Jim Hession
Following the collapse of their marriage and careers, a celebrity director and actress are kidnapped by movie-obsessed dictator Kim Jong-il. They get a second chance at love and a blank check for films. But at the mercy of a powerful tyrant in the world’s most oppressive state, is their story one of survival or temptation?


The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is made possible by founding support from Open Society Foundations. Generous additional support is provided by Skoll Foundation; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Ford Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Charles Engelhard Foundation;
Arcus Foundation; Cinereach; Discovery; Anonymous; TED; City Drive Films; Time Warner Foundation;
CNN Films; ESPN Films; the Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation; Anonymous; Anonymous; Compton Foundation; SundanceNow Doc Club; Threshold Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Candescent Films; Chicago Media Project; Code Blue Foundation; Kenneth Cole Productions; PBS; Signal Media Project;
WNET New York Public Media; Bert Marcus Productions; the J.A. & H.G. Woodruff, Jr. Charitable Trust; and the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation.


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 new 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 Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, 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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