Sundance Institute Expands Support For Indie Film Producers With Creative Producing Initiative

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LOS ANGELES, CA – Sundance Institute announced today the expansion of its Creative Producing Initiative designed to nurture emerging independent producers in both narrative and documentary fields. For 2009-2010, the Initiative will include the re-conceived Creative Producing Summit (formerly the Independent Producers Conference), the Creative Producing Lab supporting six Fellows from the Feature Film Program and, new for this year, four from the Documentary Film Program, as well as Sundance Industry Meetings to connect filmmakers with industry members at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

The Creative Producing Initiative is designed to support producers with project-specific support through Labs, grants, and long-term advisor relationships and to also reinvigorate dialogue within the independent producing community. Fellows from four of Sundance Institute’s programs: Feature Film Program, Documentary Program, Sundance Film Festival, and Native American Program have been selected to participate in Creative Producing Initiative activities, bring a wide range of projects, experiences and backgrounds.

“The vitality of independent producers is crucial to the quality and abundance of independent cinema, and we are committed to deepening the Institute’s support with the expanded Creative Producing Initiative,” said Anne Lai, Producer in Residence, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. “We believe this expansion will not only support the next generation of independent producers, but renew the community of veteran producers committed to the vibrancy of independent film.”

The Creative Producing Summit, to be held July 24-26 at the Sundance Resort, is an invitation-only event for up to 40 producers and directors. Over the three-day gathering, the Summit provides a forum for top industry professionals, producers, and directors to focus on three primary avenues of dialogue: narrative producing, documentary producing, and the state of the independent film industry. Twenty panelists representing the best of the independent film industry will be on hand for one-on-one meetings, intimate round tables, and case study reviews. Former participants have reported that this gathering substantially increases their professional networks due to the quality of time with fellow participants and industry panelists who serve as Creative Advisors. Many producers have found creative partners and lifelong colleagues there. The fostering of community among participating producers ad the involvement of key figures in the independent film industry continue to be cornerstones of this newly-conceived Creative Producing Summit. For a list of panelists visit

The Feature Film Creative Producing Lab, a five-day Lab for narrative feature film producers takes place at the Sundance Resort in Utah from July 20-24, 2009, just prior to the Summit. The Lab is designed to develop a producer’s creative instincts in all stages of film production and to evolve his/her communication and problem-solving skills. The fellows will also attend the Creative Producing Summit, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, receive ongoing creative and strategic support throughout the year from industry mentors and the Feature Film Program staff, and also grants for further development and pre-production.

The Documentary Film Creative Producing Lab launches this year scheduled for two-and-one-half days over July 22-24.Invited producers are chosen from a pool of Sundance Documentary Fund grantees and will participate in one-on-one consultations, pitch trainings and presentations aimed at honing the craft or creative documentary producing. They will also attend the Creative Producing Summit and receive on-going creative and technical support throughout the year from Advisors and Documentary Film Program staff.

Sundance Institute receives major support for its Creative Producing Initiative from: B.Co., The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Cinereach, The Ford Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Microsoft, The Open Society Institute, SAGindie, Sheila C. Johnson, The Skoll Foundation and The Wallace Global Fund.

The Fellows and projects attending the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab and selected for the Feature Film CreativeProducing Fellowship are:

  • ARCADIA / Julien Favre
  • BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD / Dan Janvey, Josh Penn
  • ON THE ICE / Cara Marcous
  • SKELETON TWINS / Thomas Woodrow
  • YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW / Mynette Louie

During the Lab, the Fellows work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors, including producers Mary Jane Skalski (The Visitor, The Station Agent), Paul Mezey (Sugar, Half Nelson), Lynette Howell (Phoebe in Wonderland, Half Nelson), and Jay Van Hoy (Treeless Mountain, Old Joy). Filmmakers also advising at the Lab include Azazel Jacobs (Momma’s Man), Cruz Angeles (Don’t Let Me Drown), and Adam Salky (Dare).

Feature Film Creative Producing Lab Project Descriptions

ARCADIA / Julien Favre

Arcadia Greta’s dad is moving the family cross-country, promising a California paradise and packing half the household into a dented station wagon. All that’s missing is Mom.

Julien Favre is a producer at DViant Films, an independent film company based in Los Angeles and Toronto. DViant Films’ first feature, Night Train, written and directed by Diao Yinan, premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD / Dan Janvey, Josh Penn (Mark Silverman Grantee)

Beasts of the Southern Wild – In this epic comedy, a ferocious ten-year-old girl refuses to evacuate her home in the Louisiana Delta without her dying father as the Southern Apocalypse descends upon them.


Dan Janvey Born in New York City, Dan has produced the short films Death to the Tinman and Glory at Sea. He worked on the Obama Campaign as a Field Organizer in Craven County, NC. He currently resides in New Orleans, where he is producing Court 13’s first feature film Beasts of the Southern Wild.


Josh Penn is a Producer for Court 13 International, with whom he produced the film Glory at Sea. He has also produced several music videos for the band MGMT and worked as The Michigan New Media Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He is currently in New Orleans producing Court 13’s first feature film Beasts of the Southern Wild.


ON THE ICE / Cara Marcous (Sheila C. Johnson Fellow)

On the snow-covered Arctic tundra, at the top of the world in Barrow, Alaska, two Inuit teenagers try to get away with murder.

Cara Marcous produced the short narrative film Sikumi (On the Ice), which has won numerous awards including the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the BAFTA/LA Award for Excellence, and has screened at more than 50 festivals around the world. In 2005, she produced the documentary feature When the Season is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska which premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and was acquired by ARTE for multi-broadcast in 34 European countries. She worked for several years in development with acclaimed independent producer Ben Barenholtz and has produced several plays including Lapse at Walkerspace in New York City. Marcous holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in Theater Arts.

SKELETON TWINS / Thomas Woodrow (Steve Bing Fellow)

Estranged twins Milo and Maggie coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how and why their lives went so wrong in this offbeat dark comedy.


Thomas Woodrow is a New York-based independent producer, whose feature film credits include True Adolescents (starring Mark Duplass and Melissa Leo) and Shadows (dir: Milcho Manchevski). Together with his Furnace Films partner Jennifer Lee, he develops multiple genre-inflected, character-driven feature film projects. His television credits include episodes for an Emmy-nominated season of Made for MTV and commercials for J. Walter Thompson, handling clients such as Microsoft, Trident, and JetBlue.


YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW / Mynette Louie

A Singaporean orphan is bought by a brothel, escapes to Hong Kong with an older prostitute, then returns to Singapore to uncover the mysteries of her childhood. Based on a true story.

Mynette Louie A New York-based independent film producer, Louie produced Tze Chun’s award-winning Sundance feature, Children of Invention, co-produced Andrew Bujalski’s critically acclaimed Mutual Appreciation, and was selected by IFP as one of two emerging American independent producers to participate in Rotterdam Lab 2008. She is currently in post-production on P. Benoit’s Ayiti, Ayiti, a Sundance Lab project and winner of the inaugural Time Warner Storytelling Award. She previously worked at the Hawaii Film Office, where she authored the state’s production tax credit, and in business development and marketing at, Jupiter Research, and Time Magazine. She received a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies, focusing on Chinese literature and film, from Harvard University.

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

Documentary Creative Producing Lab Fellows

  • ¿DÓNDE ESTÁN? / Kaye Pyle
  • EL GENERAL / Daniela Alatorre
  • GIVE UP TOMORROW / Marty Syjuco
  • MATCH + / Ann S. Kim

Producers Jennifer Fox (Love & Diane; On the Ropes) and Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water) will serve as creative advisors to the Documentary Creative Producing Lab.

Documentary Creative Producing Lab Project Descriptions

¿DÓNDE ESTÁN? (US/ El Salvador) / Kathryn Smith Pyle (Sundance Documentary Fund)

Margarita Zamora, an investigator and a survivor of the civil war in El Salvador, tracks down disappeared children and reunites them with their families.

Kathryn Smith Pyle is producing a documentary film on Salvadoran children who were separated from their families, with co-producer/director Maria Teresa Rodriguez. Kaye has a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and began her career as a media grant maker at The Philadelphia Foundation, later becoming director of the Samuel S. Fels Fund. She subsequently worked in Latin America at the Inter-American Foundation, responsible for Central America including El Salvador.

EL GENERAL(Mexico/US) / Daniela Alatorre (Sundance Documentary Fund, 2009 Sundance Film Festival)

The great-granddaughter of one of Mexico’s most controversial presidents inherited precious audio cassettes, and a conflicting history of injustices and revolts. In 1810, Mexico waged its war of Independence from Spain; in 1910, the Mexican Revolution ended a thirty-year dictatorship. As we approach 2010, as if frozen in time, the same political cries ring out like an echo from the past.

Daniela Alatorre is the producer of the feature documentary El General, winner of the Best Director award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, which will broadcast on P.O.V. She is recently the producer of the Morelia International Film Festival, one of Mexico’s most important film festivals. Her experience at Morelia and other festivals including Ambulante Documentary Tour have given her production experience and invaluable relationships with Mexico’s film community.

GIVE UP TOMORROW (US/Philippines) / Marty Syjuco (Sundance Documentary Fund)

A high-profile miscarriage of justice landed a young man on death row in the Philippines. Tireless grass-roots campaigning sets off a chain of events that resulted in the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines.

Marty Syjuco is a Tribeca All Access alum. He recently screened a work in progress moderated by Greg Pak (Robot Stories) at the Asian American International Film Festival. He is the producer of Atrapado En La Injusticia (Caught in an Injustice), broadcast on Spanish national television.

MATCH + (US/India) / Ann S. Kim (Sundance Documentary Fund)

Dr. Solomon and her staff launch a matrimonial matchmaking service for their HIV positive patients at the Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) clinic in Chennai, India.

Ann Kim is co-producing/directing Match + with Priya Desai. Ann has produced for various national programs for PBS, including the recent special series Unnatural Causes, as well as Postcards from Buster, Design Squad, and Nova. Her work on independent films includes The Mosque in Morgantown, and Secrecy (2008 Sundance Film Festival). As a college student studying abroad in India, she developed a keen interest in science and health, especially HIV/AIDS.

About Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry, Sin Number, Born into Brothels and Trouble the Water.


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For More Information Contact:

Brooks Addicott

Amy McGee

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