Film Independent has picked 6 emerging independent film directors for its 18th annual Directing Lab, an intensive eight-week program designed to support the directors on their feature films.
Daniel Barnz (Cake, Phoebe in Wonderland), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Friends with Money) and James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour, The Spectacular Now) are the 2018 Directing Lab Creative Advisors. Additional Advisors and guest speakers include: Ruth Atkinson, Rodrigo García, Catherine Hardwicke, Alex O’Flinn, Lisa Robertson, Nancy Schreiber, ASC, Emily Schweber and Chloé Zhao.
Under the guidance of established industry professionals who serve as Creative Advisors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions, and select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop. Each director then casts actors and rehearses their scenes in the Lab before undertaking a mini-production; Film Independent provides Fellows with digital camera, lighting and sound packages and small stipends to shoot their scenes, and offers access to experienced casting directors, cinematographers, and editors with whom to collaborate and consult. The process creates an opportunity to see the work through from pre- to post-production, and culminates in a group screening for fellow Lab participants and Advisors.
Past Directing Lab Fellows include Christina Choe with Nancy (2018 Sundance Film Festival), Sheldon Candis with LUV (2012 Sundance Film Festival), Cherien Dabis with Amreeka (2010 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominee, FIPRESCI Award Winner at 2009 Cannes Film Festival) and Robbie Pickering with Natural Selection(2012 Spirit Award Nominee, Winner SXSW Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award).
The 2018 Directing Lab participants and their projects are:
Title: DOHA – The Rising Sun
Director/Writer: Eimi Imanishi
Logline: Disheartened by her deportation from Europe, Mariam is forced to return home to Western Sahara. Adrift in the very place that’s supposed to be her home, she searches for the means to assert agency over her own life.
Director/Writer: Tim Marshall
Logline: A recent widow sees the face of Jesus on her gay Aqua Aerobics instructor’s swimming shorts and sets out to convince him that he is Jesus.
Title: Girl with Child
Director/Writer: Maria Abraham
Logline: Near Quito, Ecuador, teenager Diana escapes from an institution for troubled girls with her toddler. The goal: travel to pick up her younger sister from their abusive childhood home and start a new life. But along the way, Diana ends up down and out and must figure out how to survive with her young son, whom she’s not even sure she wants.
Title: The Hiding House
Director/Writer: Ally Pankiw
Logline: An awkward Canadian teen befriends the mysterious girl next door, and discovers that her new neighbor is actually the “child bride” of a notorious, polygamous FLDS leader wanted by the FBI.
Title: Toughest MoFo in Portland, Oregon
Director: Ryan Velásquez
Logline: A hyper-belligerent teen, sent to live with his estranged brother in Portland, Oregon, struggles to cope with his best friend’s suicide and the very real possibility that he is losing his mind.
Title: Valley of Exile
Director/Writer/Producer: Anna Fahr
Logline: In the arid valley of Eastern Lebanon, two Syrian sisters set out in search of their missing brother uncertain of where their own journey into exile will lead.