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IFP Names 10 Features for Documentary Lab

Ten first time feature documentary filmmakers are taking part in the 2010 Independent Filmmaker Labs in New York City this week, the IFP announced today. As previously announced, the documentary lab is part of an expanded year-round program for 20 projects (ten each in narrative and documentary categories) drawn from a national pool of submissions of low-budget features which have not yet completed post-production.

This week’s lab takes three principals of each selected project through intensive day-long workshops giving them technical, strategic, and creative input to assist them in bringing their projects to completion. The labs are led by producers Lori Cheatle (“The Kids Grow Up”) and Lesli Klainberg (IFC’s “Indie Sex”) and director/DIY guru Jon Reiss (“Think Outside the Box Office”), who function as mentors for the selected filmmakers. Individual workshops focus on diverse topics including music supervision, composing, editing, and post-production with experts including, among others, Barry Cole (“Trouble the Water”), T Griffin (“The Canal Street Madam”), Mary Manhardt (“Racing Dreams”), Jonathan Oppenheim (“The Oath”), Goldcrest Post, and Sound Lounge.

Beyond these practical, hands-on discussions, lab participants are also individually mentored before and after the Lab by established directors and producers Robert Bahar (“Made in LA”), Doug Block (“51 Birch Street”), Ross Kauffman (“Born into Brothels”), Anne Makepeace (“Rain in a Dry land”), Elizabeth Mandel (“Arctic Son”), Andrea Meditch (“Man on Wire”), Michel Negroponte (“Jupiter’s Wife”), Nancy Roth (“Operation: Dreamland”), Ira Sachs (“Married Life”), and Marco Williams (“Banished”).

When introducing this year’s documentary lab fellows, Milton Tabbot, IFP’s Senior Director, Programming, said in a prepared statement, “The Labs exist to help ensure that their debut features achieve maximum impact, both artistically and in defining and reaching their audiences in a constantly shifting landscape of distribution and exhibition.”

The 2010 Documentary Lab projects and fellows are listed below, with descriptions provided by IFP:

“25 To Life”
William Brawner was infected with HIV before he turned two and kept it a secret for over 20 years. Now he seeks redemption from the women of his promiscuous past and embarks on a new phase of life with his pregnant wife, who is HIV-negative.
Fellows: Michael L. Brown (Director, Producer); Yvonne Shirley (Producer)

“Damelo Todo” (Give Me Everything)
Los Angeles bar Silver Platter is a refuge for transgender women who have immigrated from Mexico and Central America fleeing war, poverty, and prejudice. A present-day Stonewall, drag shows meet avant-garde performance artists, giving rise to new alliances and modes of resistance.
Fellows: Wu Ingrid Tsang (Writer, Director); Felix Endara (Producer); Suzanne Mejean (Editor)

“Dear Mandela”
South Africa promised to eradicate the slums by 2010 in time for the Soccer World Cup. Three extraordinary young slum dwellers journey from the chaos on the streets to the highest court in the land to join their communities in resisting mass evictions. Their efforts unleash a deadly backlash, putting Mandela’s promise of a ‘better life for all’ to the test.
Fellows: Dara Kell (Director, Producer, Editor); Christopher Nizza (Director, Editor)

“Fambul Tok”
This insider’s view of an unprecedented post-conflict forgiveness program enters the lives of offenders who confess to crimes, and victims who forgive them, beginning together the process of reconciliation.
Fellows: Sara Terry (Director, Producer); Brian Singbiel (Editor)

“Give Up Tomorrow”
Simultaneously a murder-mystery and an exposé of endemic corruption in the post-Marcos Philippines, “Give Up Tomorrow” looks intimately at the case of Paco Larrañaga, a young Spanish mestizo sentenced to death for the abduction, rape, and murder of two Chinese-Filipino sisters on the island of Cebu.
Fellows: Michael Collins (Director, Producer); Marty Syjuco (Producer); Sara Kiener (Outreach Director)

“Our School”
The film follows three Roma children – Alin, Beniamin, and Dana – strugling to break down the barriers of segregation as they move from a dead-end segregated school into a mainstream school where they will learn together with Romanians.
Fellows: Mona Nicoara (Director, Producer); Miruna Coca-Cozma (Director); Erin Casper (Editor)

“The Patron Saints”
A disquieting and at times surrealistic exploration of an assisted living facility. Bound by first-hand ruminations of Jim, the nursing home’s youngest and recently disabled resident, the film is a revealing portrait of the changing nature of bodies and minds.
Fellows: Brian Cassidy (Director, Producer, DP, Editor); Melanie Shatzky(Director, Producer, DP, Editor)

Puppet interweaves a big picture look at the fraught history of American puppetry (its marginalization as children’s theater and its sudden explosion as high art) with an intimate thread following Dan Hurlin, a downtown artist who is creating a complex puppet work about the strange life of an eccentric, Depression-era photographer.
Fellows: David Soll (Director, Producer, DP, Editor); Jared Ian Goldman (Executive Producer); Andrew Schwartztol (Associate Producer)

“A Rubberband is an Unlikely Instrument”
Walter Baker is an eccentric, multi-instrumentalist struggling to find his creative voice in NYC even as he must also bear the roles of family man and business owner. An unexpected Texas family gathering triggers deeper conflicts that find him grappling to reconcile fractured roots in the South and at home.
Fellows: Matt Boyd (Director, DP, Editor); Jason Ross (Producer); Michael Carter (Editor)

“Salmon Dreams”
A young Tlingit Indian makes a pilgrimage to remote rural Alaska to spend a summer living off the land and preparing traditional food, a winter’s supply of smoked salmon. He is forced to confront the dichotomy between his history and the modern world he lives in, creating a parallel with his culture’s disintegration and struggle to revitalize itself.
Fellows: Luke Griswold-Tergis (Director, Producer, Writer, DP); Maureen Gosling (Editor)