Seven fellows participate in a cross-disciplinary program reimagined for the next wave of storytellers
NEW YORK—February 11, 2020— Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for independent artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive, and Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts, and have announced seven fellows participating in the 21st annual Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross in Wyoming, currently taking place February 3–21, 2020. This year, the retreat was renamed (formerly the Sundance Institute Playwrights & Composers Retreat) to reflect its cross-disciplinary structure.
After more than two decades of success, the Residency will continue to provide the transformative benefits of uninterrupted time for creative work. This year’s participants experience a fresh energy that mirrors the changing landscape of contemporary storytelling – one that is increasingly fluid and cross-genre. Fellows enjoy blocks of solo creative time to create, augmented with organic conversations where they can reflect on process. While Sundance Institute has curated several artists who identify theatre as their primary discipline, for the first time, the group of selected fellows represents a multidisciplinary range of artistic work. As always, the Residency remains dedicated to uninhibited creativity, professional growth and peer mentorship.
“The refreshed format of this year’s Residency is deeply timely,” said Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s interim Director, Christopher Hibma. “We’re grateful for the Ucross team’s collaboration in devising innovative and exciting ways to support artists in responsive and evolving ways, to best reflect how they’re pushing the boundaries of form across disciplines.”
“We are excited about this year’s newly configured Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “Connecting artists of varying disciplines has long been an invaluable part of the Ucross vision. We are honored to support this extraordinary group of artists with the gift of time and space for creative work at our inspiring location on the High Plains of Wyoming.”
The retreat is one of 25 residency Labs the Sundance Institute hosts each year for independent artists in theatre, film, new media, and episodic content. This particular long-tested retreat in Wyoming is made possible through a partnership with Ucross. More than 90 artists have benefitted from the partnership between Ucross and Sundance in the last 20 years, including Billy Porter, Hannah Gadsby, Michael R. Jackson, Charlayne Woodard, Jeanine Tesori, Doug Wright, Annie Baker, Adam Guettel, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Tanya Saracho.
The 2020 Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross Foundation fellows are:
DAVID ADJMI: David Adjmi is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Steinberg Prize, and the Whiting Award, among others. His memoir Lot Six is forthcoming from HarperCollins. His play The Stumble is a commission from LCT, and Stereophonic (with music by Will Butler/Arcade Fire) is a co-commission from Second Stage and CTG. Other plays include Marie Antoinette, Elective Affinities, 3C, Stunning and The Evildoers. Stunning and Other Plays and Marie Antoinette/3C are both published by TCG.
HALEY ANDERSON: Anderson is a filmmaker, writer, and visual artist from Houston, TX. She recently graduated from New York University's Graduate Film Program as a Dean’s Fellow. She has been featured in I-D Magazine, Essence, and was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Her work has screened at museums and film festivals including the Barbican in London, The Shed in New York, Tribeca Film Festival and Slamdance.
GENE BACK: Back is a Korean-American composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, NY. A 2019 Sundance Film Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound lab fellow, his work includes award winning films such as Dear Angelica, dozens of international advertising campaigns, and Burning Man: The Musical. A former live member of the electronic/folk band, The Books, he recently co-composed the Netflix series, Unnatural Selection, and composed the score for the narrative feature, Holler.
AZIZA BARNES: Barnes is “blk & alive”. Barnes’ first collection, i be but i ain't, was the 2015 winner of the Pament River Prize from YesYes Books. Their first novel, the blind pig, was published by Not a Cult in 2019. Barnes' play, BLKS, was produced in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theater in 2017, Wooly Mammoth Theater in DC, and MCC Theater in New York in 2019. They are a co-host of the podcast, The Poetry Gods and are a Cave Canem fellow.
CHARLOTTE BRATHWAITE: As a director, Brathwaite is known for her unique approach to staging classical and unconventional texts, dance, visual art, multi-media, site-specific installation, video, film, performance art, plays and music events. Seen in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia, her work ranges in subject matter from the historical past to the distant future illuminating issues of race, sex, power and the complexities of the human condition. She has received awards from Creative Capital, United States Artist, Bellagio, Princess Grace and Julian Milton Kaufman. She is an Associate Professor of Theater Arts at MIT and holds an MFA from Yale University.
KARIM DOUAIDY: Karim is a New York-based Lebanese composer and music producer for theater, film, television and interactive media. Some of his recent work includes the virtual reality play ‘Loveseat’, that premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. He also scored the sonic homage to Polish playwright Tadeusz Kantor called ‘Aujourd’hui c'était mon anniversaire’ directed by Racha Baroud. In 2016, Karim co-founded Chapter Four, an NYC creative studio specialized in spatial audio and immersive music.
RAQI SYED: Syed is a writer and XR Developer. She’s worked professionally as a visual effects artist on films like Tangled, Avatar, and The Hobbit Films. She is a Sr. Lecturer at the School of Design at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where she lectures on the relationship between digital technology and storytelling. Her current XR research is supported by the Sundance New Frontier Story Lab and the New Zealand Film Commission.
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Perry and Martin Granoff; Luma Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Wyncote Foundation—Leonard Haas; Richenthal Foundation; The Carrie Louise Hamilton Foundation; and Francena T. Harrison Foundation.
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. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from Sundance Advisors and connect with each other in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as The Farewell, Late Night, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, 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, Little Miss Sunshine, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, State of the Union, Indecent, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Ucross Foundation
Located in northeast Wyoming in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains, while serving as a responsible steward of its 20,000-acre ranch. Residencies are awarded to nearly one hundred artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers.
Since its establishment in 1981, Ucross has provided more than 2,100 residencies to writers, visual artists, and composers, including such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, Tayari Jones, Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, National Book Award winners Susan Choi and Sigrid Nunez, recent Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
National partners of Ucross include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Alliance of Artist Communities, the Alley Theatre, the Dramatists Guild Foundation, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. In 2020, new collaborations have begun between Ucross and the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. The Ucross Art Gallery is a significant cultural resource for surrounding communities and beyond. For further information, visit ucross.org.