Sundance Institute is delighted to introduce our six new Women at Sundance Fellows, a diverse group of filmmakers working as producers and directors in the documentary and narrative fields. Though they are at various stages in their careers, all are actively attempting to fulfill their potential and create sustainable careers in a highly competitive environment.
The Fellowship Program matches women filmmakers from Sundance Institute’s acclaimed programs with industry leaders and decision makers for a yearlong, individualized fellowship program. Beginning with a daylong group orientation, the incoming class is challenged to set goals and measurable benchmarks and to submit reports throughout the fellowship year. Through a generous gift by The Harnisch Foundation, each fellow is matched with a professional coach to help support her throughout the year. Sundance and Women in Film/LA also arrange opportunities for fellows to network and expand their learning—including an annual Financing Intensive designed to educate approximately 100 female filmmakers in all aspects of seeking, securing, and managing funding for their films. Women at Sundance Fellows as well as a curated group of artists from Sundance Institute programs and collaborating organizations are invited to attend.
Most notably, fellows are supported with a stipend to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival, where they participate in one-on-one industry meetings to advance their projects, group seminars with industry experts, sessions with professional coaches, as well as screenings and events. At the annual Women at Sundance Brunch, a community of 400 artists, industry, opinion makers, activists and supporters gather to celebrate Festival films made by women and to take stock of both accomplishments and the work yet to be done. In 2015 the Brunch featured an electric conversation between Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, moderated by Pat Mitchell.
Read more about our incredible fellows and mentors below.
Lyric R. Cabral
Lyric R. Cabral is a filmmaker and photojournalist who visualizes stories seldom seen in mainstream media. Her documentary work explores the intersections of race, religious expression, and surveillance in post-9/11 America. In support of her journalism, Cabral has received artist grants from BBC Storyville, the Independent Television Service, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Bertha Foundation, New York State Council of the Arts, International Documentary Association, and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. (T)ERROR, Cabral’s first documentary feature co-directed with David Felix Sutcliffe, received a Special Jury Prize for Breakout First Feature at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury prize at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Cabral was chosen by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film (2013) and American Photo Magazine named her one of 15 international photographers to watch. Cabral has worked as still photographer for the documentary films Out In The Night (2015), Very Semi Serious (2015), and ADAMA (2011). Her photojournalism has been recently published through Aperture Foundation, Gordon Parks Foundation, National Geographic Channel UK, and the Nation, and her images are held in collection at the Whitney Museum for American Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Currently Cabral is producing a short documentary profiling citizen journalists whose videos, documenting police violence, catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement. Her photography is currently on exhibition with “Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument.”
Jessica is a Brooklyn-based creative producer and communications strategist. She is currently producing the feature documentary and interactive game, Roll Red Roll, an immersive thriller examining rape culture in small town America. Jessica produced Speed Sisters (2015), an intimate and action-filled story about the first all-women racecar driving team in the Middle East. She co-produced the Peabody Award winning short My Neighbourhood (2012), exploring the human impact of settlements in East Jerusalem, and produced its companion web series Home Front (2011). Jessica associate produced Budrus (2009), which won over a dozen international awards, including the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. She was a key driver behind the film’s engagement strategy, which was recognized with the PUMA Impact Award. Jessica was previously the Director of Communications at Just Vision, where she produced films for seven years with director Julia Bacha and led communications strategy in support of Palestinian and Israeli community organizers and human rights defenders. Her work is featured regularly in major media outlets like MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post, The Economist and Al Jazeera. Jessica has an M.A. in religion and society from Wake Forest University and also studied at Georgetown’s Graduate School of Foreign Service in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies where she researched gender and nationalism in the Middle East.
Grace Lee is an independent producer/director and writer working in both narrative and non-fiction film.She directed the 2014 Peabody Award-winning documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs, which The Hollywood Reporter called”an entertainingly revealing portrait of the power of a single individual to effect change.” The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it wofn its first of six festival audience awards before its broadcast on the PBS series POV.Her previous documentary The Grace Lee Project won multiple awards, broadcast on Sundance Channel and was called “ridiculously entertaining” by New York Magazine and “ a funny but complex meditation on identity and cultural expectation,” by Variety. Other feature directing credits include Janeane From Des Moines, set during the 2012 presidential campaign, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival as well as American Zombie, a personal horror film, which premiered at Slamdance and is distributed by Cinema Libre. Grace received her MFA in Film Directing from UCLA Film School where her short film “Barrier Device”, starring Sandra Oh and Suzy Nakamura, won a Student Academy Award.Grace returns to her alma mater and other universities frequently as a guest speaker and lecturer. She has served on panels including the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival, POV’s EdComm, Center for Asian American Media, and the International Documentary Association. Most recentlyin 2014 and 2015,she produced and directed two documentaries for PBS:Makers: Women In Politicsand Off The Menu: Asian America.
Gabrielle Nadig is an award-winning producer and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based production company, Buffalo Picture House. As Head of Production at Buffalo, Gabrielle has helmed award-winning commercial and corporate projects for clients such as Gucci, Stuart Weitzman, IFC, Etsy.com and the New York City Ballet. Most recently, Gabrielle produced the Sundance Institute supported narrative feature film, King Jack. King Jack premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival where it took home the Narrative Audience Award and was called, “A stylish, sensitive coming-of-ager,” by Variety.The film will continue its festival run during 2015, with an international premiere in London in September. The film will have a theatrical release in the spring of 2016. Gabrielle has produced multiple short films that have screened at film festivals around the world including SXSW, The Palms Springs Short Film Festival and the London BFI Film Festival. Prior to her work at Buffalo Picture House, Gabrielle worked for legendary independent producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler at Killer Films, on films such as At Any Price starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. During her time at Killer, Gabrielle oversaw the financial and physical management of the production company and the dozens of projects in various stages of development. Gabrielle is from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received The Student Producer Award in 2009. Gabrielle is a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, an alumni of the 2015 Rotterdam Producing Labs and an alumni of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Producer’s Network.
Jennifer Phang is the 2015 recipient of the inaugural San Francisco Film Society Women’s Filmmaker Fellowship, which provides a grant of $40,000, office, networking and development support toward a genre project.At Sundance 2015, Jennifer Phang’s sophomore feature Advantageous won the U.S. Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize. The film was supported by the the Sundance Feature Film Program and the San Francisco Film Society Filmmaker Residency.The film was bought by NETFLIX at Sundance. Advantageous was the feature adaptation of Phang’s 2012 short film Advantageous which was commissioned by ITVS. It opened the third season of the Futurestates sci-fi series and screened at Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, Comic-Con and other international festival, winning numerous awards. Phang’s award‐winning debut feature Half-Life premiered in 2008 at the Tokyo International and Sundance film festivals. It went on to screen at SXSW and was distributed by Sundance Channel. Phang has also directed and edited Glass Butterfly, a visual effects heavy music video, and edited and produced Moon Molson’s Sundance short Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, which premiered in Sundance in 2011 and won awards internationally. A Berkeley-born daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian father and Vietnamese mother, Phang graduated from the MFA directing program at the American Film Institute.
Pamela Romanowsky is a Brooklyn based writer and director. Her debut feature film The Adderall Diaries (starring James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Christian Slater and Cynthia Nixon) premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and will be released by A24 in 2016. Pamela is a member of The National Board of Review, she is an alumnus of The Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting, Directing, Sound Design labs and Creative Producing Summit, and she holds an MFA in Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Pamela’s short films include Tar (starring James Franco and Mila Kunis), which constitutes a portion of the multi-director omnibus film The Color of Time (2014) and Gravity (2012), which won awards on the festival circuit. She is an NYU Purple List honoree, a Film Society of Lincoln Center Artist’s Academy participant, and the recipient of Sundance’s Indian Paintbrush Feature Film Grant. Pamela studied behavioral psychology at Macalester College and verité documentary filmmaking with Barbara Kopple. She is a bit of a pyromaniac, and retains just enough of her pre-med education to talk you down from your WebMD diagnosis. She’s very curious about how things work, especially people.
R.J. Cutler is a filmmaker, television producer and theater director. Most recently Cutler produced the Showtime documentary feature, Listen To Me Marlon, directed by Stevan Riley. Last summer his narrative film debut If I Stay (starring Chloe Grace Moretz) was released by Warner Bros and MGM. Cutler’s other work includes the documentary films The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, Thin, The September Issue, The World According to Dick Cheney and Listen To Me Marlon; the documentary television series American High, Freshman Diaries, The Residents and 30 Days; and the prime time drama series Nashville. Cutler began his career as a theater director, directing such world premieres as Kevin Heelan’s Right Behind the Flag (starring Kevin Spacey), Jonathan Larson’s Superbia, and Lucy Simon & Marsha Norman’s The Secret Garden. Cutler’s first film, The War Room, was nominated for an Academy Award and he is the recipient of numerous awards including an Emmy, a Peabody Award, a GLAAD Award, two Cinema Eye Awards, and two Television Academy Honor Awards. In 2009, the Museum of Television and Radio held a four-day retrospective of his work. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jane, his daughter Madeleine and their dog Dexter.
Julie Goldman founded Motto Pictures in 2009. She is an Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films. Julie is executive producer of two films that premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets and Best of Enemies, which was recently released by Magnolia Pictures. 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets won a Special Jury Prize, was released by Participant Media and acquired by HBO for US broadcast. Julie produced Indian Point, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and executive produced The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. She also executive produced The Kill Team and Art and Craft, both released by Oscilloscope and shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award. Julie produced three films that premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: Gideon’s Army, Manhunt and the Oscar shortlisted God Loves Uganda. She produced The Great Invisible, which won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize and was released by RADiUS TWC; We Are The Giant, which premiered at Sundance; A Place at the Table, which was released by Magnolia Pictures, and the Oscar shortlisted Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Julie produced Buck, winner of the Sundance Documentary Audience Award, shortlisted for an Academy Award and one of 2011’s top five grossing documentaries. She consulted on the Academy Award-winning The Cove and produced the Oscar shortlisted Sergio. Some of Julie’s earlier films include: Easy Riders Raging Bulls, Cat Dancers, In The Shadow Of The Moon, Better The World, What Remains, Once In A Lifetime and Sketches Of Frank Gehry.
Gordon began his professional life as an actor, starring in films including Carpenter’s Christine, De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and Home Movies, the comedy Back To School, as well Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz. He simultaneously performed extensively in New York Theater both on and off Broadway. Gordon’s first foray into filmmaking came when he co-wrote and co-produced the independent feature Static, which earned him the Best Actor award at the Madrid Film Festival. From then on, Gordon wrote and directed films such as The Chocolate War and A Midnight Clear, both nominated for IFP/Spirit Awards. Gordon produced and directed Mother Night and adapted Scott Spencer’s mysterious, romantic novel Waking the Dead. Gordon went on to direct The Singing Detective, an update of the classic BBC series, adapted by the original writer – the legendary Dennis Potter – just before his death. In recent years, Gordon has also directed many creatively adventurous television pieces, including multiple episodes of Fargo, Homeland, The Leftovers, Dexter, The Killing, Nurse Jackie, The Bridge, Oliver Stone’s Wild Palms mini-series, Night Visions, and Gideon’s Crossing, along with episodes of Masters of Sex, House, Rubicon, The Strain, Homicide, and Showtime’s award-winning anthology Fallen Angels, among others. He directed the pilot episode for The Sundance Channel’s critically acclaimed Rectify, and served as the series’ co-executive producer for its first season. He was recently named “one of the 25 best directors working in TV” by Indiewire. Gordon has spent 10 summers as an advisor to young directors at the renowned Sundance Filmmaker’s Lab. He has also taught and mentored for the American Film Institute, IFP/Film Independent, and USC.
Jenji Kohan began her writing career on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air after graduating from Columbia University. Her series writing credits include Mad About You, Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, and Tracy Takes On…, for which she received an Emmy Award in 1999. She has developed and produced multiple pilots and series, including Showtime’s Weeds. Her latest project, Orange Is the New Black, is now streaming on Netflix.
Michelle MacLaren is an Emmy Award winning Executive Producer and Director whose recent credits include Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and The Leftovers.
Originally from NH, Rosemary Rodriguez graduated Cum Laude from Brandeis University. She moved to NYC where she wrote and directed her first feature Acts of Worship. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, including the John Cassavetes Award for Best Feature, and received a glowing review from The New York Times. After that, Rosemary was accepted into the John Wells Women and Minority Fellowship, where she began directing television. Her episodic TV work includes Jessica Jones for Marvel/Netflix, Empire, The Good Wife, where she is a regular director (17 episodes, including the 100th), Manhattan, Outsiders, Rake, Elementary, Vegas, Low Winter Sun, Hell on Wheels, and Rescue Me (where she was first woman director in five seasons). Upcoming shows include Bryan Cranston’s Sneaky Pete and Denis Leary’s Sex, Drugs Rock & Roll. Rosemary wrote, directed and produced her second feature, Silver Skies, with George Hamilton, Jack McGee, Valerie Perrine, Alex Rocco, Barbara Bain, Mariette Hartley, Heather McComb, Micah Hauptman; executive produced by Fred Roos (St. Vincent, Lost in Translation, The Godfather movies) and Arthur Sarkissian (the Rush Hour franchise). She’s developing a Showtime series Florent, with Alan Cumming. Her next feature is Loose Girl, based on the best-selling memoir by Kerry Cohen. Rosemary is the fourth Vice President of The Directors Guild of America. She lives in New York and Los Angeles with her comedian husband and producing partner Nestor Rodriguez.
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro is co-creator, writer, and producer of Lifetime series UnREAL, which is based off her award-winning short film Sequin Raze. Shapiro and co-creator Marti Noxon are currently in production on UnREAL’s second season. Shapiro was one of eight women chosen for AFI Directing Workshop for Women in 2013. She grew up in Santa Barbara, started writing at five- years-old, and graduated Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in Fiction Writing and Filmmaking. She came of age in New York indie film, interning first at Killer Films with Christine Vachon, and going on to screen her work at festivals such as New Directors/ New Films MoMA/ Lincoln Center.
With thirty-one independent feature films under her belt, Andrea Sperling has been one of the most prolific producers of the past two decades. She produced her first feature at the age of 21 and never looked back, helping foster the careers of critically acclaimed filmmakers such as Gregg Araki, David Ayer, Jamie Babbit, James Ponsoldt and Drake Doremus. In 2014, Sperling was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and made her first foray into television, Executive Producing Jill Soloway’s series TRANSPARENT. In its first season, the show garnered 12 Emmy Nominations, 5 Emmy Wins and 2 Golden Globes. Together Sperling and Soloway recently formed Topple, a production company with an exclusive deal at Amazon.