Sundance Institute to Present a Week of Creative Film Producing Initiatives

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the participants for its annual Creative Producing Labs and Creative Producing Summit, both held the week of July 29 at the Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah. These activities are part of the Institute’s year-round Creative Producing Initiative, which encompasses a series of Labs, Fellowships and other events that support independent producers.

Eleven projects will participate in the Labs (July 29 – August 2), where they will work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors to advance their creative, communication and problem-solving skills in all stages of a film’s journey from script development to distribution. These Producing Fellows will also receive ongoing creative and strategic support throughout the year, as well as direct granting for further development and production. This year’s Fellows represent eleven projects identified by the Institute’s Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program and Fund.

Immediately following the Labs, the Summit (August 2-4) takes place. The Summit is an invitation-only gathering that connects 42 producers and directors, including the Producing Fellows, with more than 40 top independent film industry leaders for three days of case study sessions, panels, roundtable discussions, one-on-one meetings and pitching sessions. Multimedia artist Doug Aitken, whose installation Sleepwalkers was featured in New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival, will deliver a keynote opening address on storytelling and the creative process.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Independent producers play a crucial role in finding, championing and shaping original cinematic voices. We look forward to gathering with mentors and colleagues to support these talented Producing Fellows at our Lab and Summit.

The Feature Film Creative Producing Lab allows narrative feature film producers to work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors to develop their creative, communication and problem-solving skills in all stages of film production. This year’s Creative Advisors include producers Paul Mezey (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Maria Full of Grace), Mary Jane Skalski (Hello I Must Be Going, Win Win), Jay Van Hoy (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Beginners) and Anthony Bregman (Our Idiot Brother, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and directorsNicole Holofcener (Please Give, Friends With Money) and Todd Louiso (Hello I Must Be Going, Love Liza).

The Fellows and projects selected for the 2013 Feature Film Creative Producing Fellowship are:

Mark Silverman Honoree & Producer: Rowan Riley
Adelaide Aldridge is cunning, charming, and so obsessed with attention that she’s willing to shoot herself with a BB gun. When she meets a troubled young paramedic who seems capable of giving her the attention she so craves, the two form a flirtatious relationship based on staging fake medical emergencies. Told through an unapologetically comedic lens, Adelaide is about human connection, self-discovery, and the dangerous nature of first love. (Writer/Director: Liliana Greenfield-Sanders)

Originally from New York, Rowan Riley is an LA-based producer who works at Anonymous Content. Prior to arriving at Anonymous, she worked in the Film Finance Department at CAA and the Lynn Pleshette Literary Agency. In her spare time, she programs the Wassaic Film Festival with Liliana Greenfield-Sanders and occasionally blogs for The Huffington Post.

King Jack
Producer: Gabrielle Nadig
When shouldered with the responsibility of watching his younger cousin for the weekend, a delinquent 15 year-old finds himself stumbling towards maturity while struggling against the neighborhood bully. (Writer/Director: Felix Thompson)

Gabrielle Nadig is a New York-based producer and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based production company, Buffalo Picture House. As Head of Production at Buffalo, Gabrielle has helmed projects for clients such as Gucci, Volvo, and the New York City Ballet. She has produced multiple short films that have gone on to screen at festivals including SXSW, Tribeca, and the London Film Festival. Prior to Buffalo, Gabrielle worked for legendary independent producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler at Killer Films.

Papaw Easy
Producer: Brett Potter
Under the watch of his vain, ‘Modern Christian’ uncle, a shy boy forges an unlikely partnership with a foul-mouthed, down and out playboy. (Director: Martha Stephens, Writers: Martha Stephens and Karrie Crouse)

Brett Potter is a co-founder of Calavera USA, a New York-based production company. As a narrative producer, he’s shown features and shorts at festivals all over the world including Sundance, Cannes and SXSW. As a commercial producer, his work has been featured on MTV, Pitchfork, SPIN and more. His recent credits include Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sundance 2011), The Fort (Sundance 2012), Burma (SXSW 2013)and The Places Where We Lived (SXSW 2013). Brett grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pardon My Downfall
Producer: Chris Ohlson
Pardon My Downfall tells the story of The Jibcutters, a country-western band as infamous for their debauchery as their musical talents, as they try to recapture their previous magic on one final tour through the American South. (Writers: David Zellner & Nathan Zellner, Director: David Zellner)

Chris Ohlson is an Austin-based producer whose first narrative feature, The Overbrook Brothers,directed by John Bryant, premiered in competition at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and was released by IFC Films. Ohlson also exec produced Paul Gordon’s award-winning The Happy Poet, which screened at more than 40 festivals worldwide, including The Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section and was a co-producer of Bryan Poyser’s Lovers of Hate, which world premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Ohlson has also won numerous advertising awards for his commercial work and has created a handful of experimental narrative shorts that have screened at galleries and museums around the world.

Solitaire King
Producer: Shrihari Sathe
Newly released Palestinian political prisoner, Ziad, does not feel he is the hero everyone hails him to be. Unable to relive past basketball glory, nor attain the girl of his future; Solitaire King follows a hallucinating Ziad determined to become the champion he believes is expected of him. (Writer/Director: Bassam Jarbawi)

Shrihari Sathe has an MFA-Film Degree from Columbia University and has received fellowships from the PGA, HFPA, IFP and Film Independent to name a few. Sathe’s feature productions have premiered at prestigious film festivals – Pervertigo (2012 Warsaw & Mumbai) and It Felt Like Love (2013 Sundance & Rotterdam). He is currently in post-production on his feature directorial debut Ek Hazarachi Note (1000 Rupee Note).

Producer: Caroline Oliveira
Rabih, a young blind man, searches for a record of his own birth after discovering that his identity card is a forgery. He travels across Lebanon and gradually descends into a Kafkaesque encounter with a nation unable to retell his or its own past. (Writer/Director: Vatche Boulghourjian)

Caroline Oliveira produced the short film The Chair, which was part of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection’s Short Film Competition and won several awards including Best Narrative short at SXSW’12 and at LAFF’12. Caroline is currently developing Tramontane with the support of the Venice Biennale College Cinema and the Doha Film Institute. Oliveira was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and holds an MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program.

The Documentary Film Creative Producing Lab allows documentary producers to work intensively with award-winning Creative Advisors to hone their craft. The Lab includes workshops on financing, production and creative distribution for documentary films. This year’s Creative Advisors include Bonni Cohen (Producer, The Island President), Julie Goldman (Producer, God Loves Uganda), publicist David Magdael (TCDM Associates) and sales agent Josh Braun (Submarine Entertainment).

The Fellows and projects selected for the 2013 Documentary Film Creative Producing Fellowship are:

An African Spring
Director: Chai Vasarhelyi
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.

Chai Vasarhelyi is an award-winning director and producer. Her first film, A Normal Life, won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. Her second film, Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love was released in theaters in the U.S. and internationally.

Chicago Boys
Director: Carola Fuentes
The film tells how a group of Milton Friedman’s disciples – backed by a military dictatorship in the ’70s – managed to turn Chile into the first and most extreme model of neoliberalism in the world.

Native Chilean Carola Fuentes has worked in investigative television journalism since 1993 as an on-camera reporter for the news department. She worked for six years in the investigative unit of Teletrece, the main news program for Canal 13. In 1999 she became Canal 13′s correspondent in New York and Washington, D.C.

The Hand That Feeds
Directors: Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick
Twelve undocumented immigrant workers take on a well-known New York City restaurant chain owned by powerful investors. This David and Goliath story explores what it takes for ordinary people to stand up for their dignity, and win.

Rachel Lears is a freelance shooter/producer and as a director of independent film and video projects, With Robin Blotnick, she recently wrapped post-production as writer/producer on a new feature documentary, Gods and Kings. She has also reported on U.S. politics and culture for Telesur and In These Times magazine, and completed a PhD in Cultural Anthropology in 2012.

Robin Blotnick has worked in film for over ten years, in motion picture development, and as a professional film and video editor. His third feature documentary just won the “Intangible Culture Prize” at the RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Films (Scotland, June 2013). He has also worked on creative activism projects with the Yes Men.

Radical Love
Director: Hillevi Loven
Producer: Chris Talbott
Cole, a transgender Christian teen in rural North Carolina, searches for love and a spiritual community to call home.

Hillevi Loven is a filmmaker, producer and still photographer based in Brooklyn. In collaboration with MIT anthropologist Natasha Scholl, she co- directed the documentary, Buffet: All You Can Eat Las Vegas, She has produced collaborative work with the Brooklyn art collectives Uniondocs and OVO, and is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers’ Collective.

Chris Talbott is a writer, director, producer and president of Cause Effect Agency (, mobilizing celebrities and media-makers to further excellent causes.

Street Fighting Man
Producer: Sara Archambault
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. (Director: Andrew James)

Sara Archambault is Program Director at the LEF Foundation, and Programmer/Co-founder of the award-winning documentary film series The DocYard. She was the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and is also frequently an advisor, juror, moderator, and panelist with a number of film festivals.

The Creative Producing Summit is a three-day, invitation-only gathering that connects 42 independent producers and filmmakers with more than 40 top film industry professionals including producers, distributors, sales agents, financiers and exhibitors to build a dialogue on film producing and the state of the independent film industry. In addition to the opening keynote by Doug Aitken, other programmed events include case study sessions, panels, roundtable discussions, one-on-one meetings and pitching sessions. Panelists include Michael Barker (Sony Classics), Mary Jane Skalski (Next Wednesday), Tom Quinn (Radius), Paul Mezey (Journeyman), Rena Ronson (UTA), Anthony Bregman (Likely Story), Diane Weyermann (Participant), Jay Baker (CAA), John Sloss (Cinetic), Jess Search (BritDoc), Victoria Cook (Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz), Ava DuVernay (Writer/Director/Producer) and Josh Braun (Submarine). For a full list of panelists visit

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by The Annenberg Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Cinereach, DCM Productions, Mumbai Mantra Media, LTD., National Endowment for the Arts, B.Co, Philip Fung – A3 Foundation, RT Features, Indian Paintbrush Productions, Time Warner Foundation, NHK Enterprises 21, Inc., SAGIndie, The Ammon Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and Sundial Pictures, LLC.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund is supported by 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 Feature Film Program
Since its founding in 1981, the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has supported an extensive list of leading-edge independent films through a year-round and robust system of  Labs, Fellowships and Grants. FFP films making their theatrical premieres this year include Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station (winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival), David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, and Andrew Dosunmu and Darci Picoult’s Mother of George. Additional notable films supported over the program’s history include Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Andrei Zyvagintsev’s Elena, Craig Zobel’s Compliance, Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil, Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, Dee Rees’ Pariah, Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s Half Nelson, Andrea Arnold’s Red Road, Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know, Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now, Debra Granik’s Down to the Bone, Josh Marston’s Maria Full of Grace, Peter Sollett’s Raising Victor Vargas, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry, Lucrecia Martel’s La Cienaga, Walter Salles’ Central Station, Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexie’s Smoke Signals, Nicole Holofcener’s Walking and Talking, Allison Anders’ Mi Vida Loca, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight, Tamara Jenkins’ Slums of Beverly Hills, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund 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 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, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, 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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