Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, announced the producers selected for its 18th annual Producing Lab.
This five-week intensive program prepares Creative Producers for the ever-changing film landscape, both creatively and strategically, through intense project workshop sessions and intimate conversations. Filmmakers work with the Lead Producing Mentor Rebecca Green (I’ll See You In My Dreams, It Follows), with whom they will workshop their project as a group during the lab and through follow-up one-on-one meetings to craft a strategy that propels their projects forward. Fellows also attend sessions with guest speakers that delve more specifically into the different aspects of producing including development, financing, production and distribution. The Lab culminates in a daylong pitch session and meetings with established executives that offer participants valuable practical experience while further expanding their industry networks and introducing their projects to a larger cross-section of the industry.
This year’s Guest Speakers include: Len Amato, President of HBO Films; Giulia Caruso (Columbus); Michael Hartman of Ziffren Brittenham; Ali Herting of A24; Ray Mansfield of QC Entertainment; Amanda Marshall of Cold Iron Pictures; Sara Murphy (If Beale Street Could Talk, Gemini); Avril Z. Speaks and Nijla Mu‘min (Jinn); Anita Surendran of Gary Krauss Sandler Des Rochers; and Ryan Zacarias (A Ciambra, Mediterranea).
The 4th annual Sloan Distribution Grant, a $50,000 grant to help maximize the distribution for a film that explores science and technology themes or that depicts scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways, was awarded to To Dust, written and directed by Shawn Snyder and produced by Alessandro Nivola and Josh Crook. The film stars Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig and will be released in early 2019. Film Independent also previously awarded the annual $30,000 Sloan Producing Lab grant to Clay Pruitt, for his project Bell.
The 2018 Producing Lab filmmakers and projects are:
Producer: Clay Pruitt
Logline: From the controversy surrounding his invention of the telephone, to his lesser known work with eugenics, this is the untold story of famed inventor Alexander Graham Bell, whose love for his deaf wife changed the course of history, for better and for much worse.
Producer: Aimee Lynn Barneburg
Logline: A heartbroken woman steals away to her estranged lover’s lake house in the Pacific Northwest where she becomes entangled with a teenage girl.
Title: Flash Before the Bang
Producer: Delbert Whetter
Logline: A ragtag deaf track team and their checked-out coach must overcome their school’s indifference, outsiders’ low expectations and their own self-doubts to make it to the state track and field championship.
Title: Hollow Point
Producer: Diana Ward
Logline: Six strangers must overcome their fears and each other in order to survive when they are trapped at a desert crossroads in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Producer: Georgina Gonzalez
Logline: A gift from a dead neighbor inspires a lonely man to open up and rediscover life as he starts a relationship with her through her old belongings.
Title: Selah and the Spades
Producer: Lauren McBride
Logline: Selah Madewell, 17, rules the student body of The Haldwell School with an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. By turns charming and callous, Selah chooses who to keep close and who to cut loose, walking the fine line between being feared and loved.