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Christopher McNabb, Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan work on "Whose Streets?" at the 2016 Documentary Editing Lab. © 2016 Sundance Institute | Photo by Jonathan Hickerson.
Christopher McNabb, Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan work on “Whose Streets?” at the 2016 Documentary Editing Lab. © 2016 Sundance Institute | Photo by Jonathan Hickerson.

Five projects will convene at the Sundance Resort in Utah for the Sundance Institute flagship Documentary Edit and Story Lab on July 6.

The Lab creates a space to develop, interrogate and collaborate on independent nonfiction films that are in the later stages of post-production. Through a rigorous process, director and editor teams come together with renowned documentary filmmakers, who advise on the process of re-centering their work around original motivations, tweaking or re-conceiving dramatic structures, and exploring story and character development.

Documentary Film Program Director Tabitha Jackson, who oversees the process with Labs Director Kristin Feeley, said “By facilitating these filmmakers coming together to dig deep into context, meaning, structure and narrative — aided by some of documentary’s most innovative and experienced minds — we hope to advance not just these projects, but also make a meaningful investment into some of the most exciting practitioners of nonfiction storytelling for the screen.”

Advisors for the Documentary Edit and Story Lab are Maya Hawke (Box of Birds), Sabine Hoffman (Risk), Jeff Malmberg (Spettacolo), Robb Moss (Containment), Jonathan Oppenheim (Blowin’ Up) and Toby Shimin (This Is Home). The contributing editors are Yuki Aizawa, Hannah Choe, Jaki Covington and Katherine Gorringe.

For the third year, the Lab will host a writer-in-residence: Eric Hynes joins as part of a program designed to bring film critics and nonfiction filmmakers together to forge a deeper understanding of nonfiction film through immersion in the creative process.

The 2018 Documentary Edit and Story Lab projects and Fellows are:

After a Revolution (United Kingdom)
Giovanni Buccomino (director), James Scott (editor), Naziha Arebi, Al Morrow (producers) — An intimate story, filmed over six years, of a brother and sister who struggle to rebuild their lives after fighting on opposite sides of the Libyan revolution. It is also a close-up on the country’s traumatic course from rebellion, to elections to the edge of civil war.

Giovanni Buccomino studied History and Philosophy and gained his master at the University of Rome. While studying Giovanni worked as a sound engineer in music and later moved into film. He has directed two nonfiction features, In the Valley of the Moon and Yanqui. He spent a long time in Libya creating a sound installation of Libya for the Azimut project at the MuCEM Museum in Marseille, directing a 52’’ film for Al Jazeera on the Tabu tribe of Libya. Giovanni continues working as a sound designer and field recordist in documentary, television and fiction cinema, as well as directing his own films.

James Scott is a film editor based in Brighton, England, originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He won a Special Jury Award for Editing at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival & the Canadian Screen Award for Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary for Jerry Rothwell’s How To Change The World. His feature-length cinema documentary credits include, Toby Amies’ The Man Whose Mind Exploded, Jeanie Finlay’s The Great Hip Hoax. Other feature credits include, Jerry Rothwell’s Sour Grapes (Netflix), Dunstan Bruce’s This Band is So Gorgeous; The Search For Weng Weng; and Sophie Robinson’s My Beautiful Broken Brain (Netflix).

Crip Camp (USA)
James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham (co-directors/producers), Andy Gersh (editor), Sara Bolder (producer) — They came as campers, and left as rebels. Just down the road from Woodstock, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers. Crip Camp explores summer camp awakenings that would transform young lives, and America, forever. Told from the point of view of former camper Jim LeBrecht, the film traces the journeys of several teenagers from camp to the raucous early days of the disability rights movement in Berkeley — and up to the present, in this compelling and untold story of a powerful journey towards inclusion.

James LeBrecht has over 40 years experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, author, disability rights activist and filmmaker. His film mixing credits include the documentaries Minding The Gap, Unrest, The Force, The Island President, The Waiting Room, The Kill Team, and Audrie and Daisy. Jim co-authored Sound and Music for the Theatre: the art and technique of design. Now in its fourth edition, the book is used as a textbook all over the world.

Nicole Newnham is an Emmy-winning documentary producer and director. She recently produced two virtual reality films with the Australian artist / director Lynette Wallworth: the breakthrough VR work Collisions, and the mixed-reality work Awavena. She co-directed The Revolutionary Optimists; co-produced and directed the acclaimed documentary The Rape of Europa. With Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Brian Lanker, she produced They Drew Fire, about the Combat Artists of WWII, and co-wrote the companion book, distributed by Harper Collins.

Andrew Gersh is a documentary film editor based in Berkeley, California. He began his career on staff at WGBH in Boston, working on many groundbreaking series for PBS, including NOVA, FRONTLINE and the ten-hour WGBH/BBC co-production on the history of ROCK & ROLL. His latest feature documentaries include Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, REAL BOY. Other work includes Ask Not, Daddy Don’t Go, and Ready, Set, Bag!

Forgiveness (United Kingdom)
Elizabeth Stopford (director/producer), Gary Forrester (editor) — A modern American ghost story and a house that vanished. In the wake of two seemingly inexplicable shooting sprees, can a community forgive the teenage boy at the heart of its tragic past?

After graduating with a Masters in English from Oxford, Elizabeth Stopford took her passion for storytelling to UK production company Tiger Aspect, developing and producing a portfolio of documentaries for the BBC about monastic life – The Monastery, The Convent, and 40 Days (TLC). She set up White Rabbit Films in 2008, and her directing credits include: Long Lost Family, and We Need to Talk About Dad. Selected in 2014 for the BFI’s Guiding Lights scheme, over the past four years Elizabeth has focused on developing two feature film projects that combine the authentic heart of documentary with the craft of fiction: Forgiveness (developed with Film4 and Sundance), and Shooting Kids (developed with the British Film Institute).

Gary Forrester is a dynamic and diverse editor moving seamlessly between commercials, feature nonfiction as well as fiction. His film credits include the award winning feature documentary Radioman, directed by Mary Kerr. His most recent film Access All Areas, an indie drama directed by Bryn Higgins (Black Mirror) won best screenplay at the National Film Awards 2017.

The Hottest August (USA)
Brett Story (director/producer), Nels Bangerter (editor), Danielle Varga (producer)
A film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety, The Hottest August offers a window into the collective consciousness of the present.

Brett Story is an award-winning non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto and New York whose films have screened at True/False, Oberhausen, Hot Docs, the Viennale, and Dok Leipzig, among other festivals. Her feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Story holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is the author of the forthcoming book, The Prison Out of Place.

Nels Bangerter is an award-winning documentary film editor whose work includes Cameraperson, Let the Fire Burn, Very Semi-Serious and War Child. Nels also edited the fiction short film Buzkashi Boys, which was produced and edited in Kabul, Afghanistan and nominated for an Academy Award. Before becoming an editor, he worked in a gold mine, lived in a redwood tree, and earned bachelor’s degrees in English and electrical engineering from Rice University and an MFA at USC. He is based in Oakland, California, and has two terrific kids, ages two and five.


#Mickey (Mexico)
Betzabé García (director/producer), José Villalobos (editor), Indira Cato, Joceline Hernandez (producer) — Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, land of drug cartels, carnival queens and deep homophobia, gender fluid Mickey found in social media a way to explore her sexual identity. She has become a Youtube celebrity, but now she is fighting a new identity crisis: a conflict between her online persona and her real self.

Betzabé García directed and produced her first feature documentary film Kings of Nowhere. The film won multiple awards at Festivals around the world and was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film at the 2016 Cinema Eye Honors, Best Documentary at the Mexican Ariel Awards, and Betzabé won Best Director of a Documentary Film at the 2016 Cinema Tropical Awards. The film was distributed by FilmBuff and SundanceTV.

José Villalobos has been working as an editor of documentary film since 2006. His first feature as a director, producer, cameraman and editor is the documentary film El charro de Toluquilla (2016), winner of the Audience Award and Best Documentary at Guadalajara International Film Festival, best director at Guanajuato International Film Festival, best director and cinematography at Moscow International Documentary film festival, best documentary at Bergamo Film Meeting, best documentary at Tirana Film Festival, among other awards and/or mentions.The film has also been screened at Tribeca Film Festival (Best first time filmmaker nomination), Zurich Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest, Munich DokFest, Sydney Antenna international documentary film festival, among others. The film is distributed in North America by Syndicado and have Taskovski Film as its international sales agent.


Eric Hynes is a New York-based journalist, film critic, and programmer. He is Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, overseeing programs such as the annual First Look film festival celebrating innovative works in the cinematic arts, and the ongoing New Adventures in Nonfiction series. He writes a column on the art of nonfiction, “Make It Real,” for Film Comment Magazine, and other outlets have included the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Slate, the Village Voice, Sight & Sound and Reverse Shot, where he’s a staff writer and host of the “Reverse Shot Talkies” video interview series. Starting in January 2018, he and collaborators Jeff Reichert and Damon Smith launched Room H.264, an iterative, theatrical and gallery-based 21st century answer to Wim Wenders’ Room 666, with contemporary filmmakers contemplating and confronting the future of film.

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