Film Independent has selected five up and coming directors for its 19th annual Directing Lab, an intensive eight-week program designed to support emerging independent film directors on their feature films. This year’s creative advisors and guest speakers include Andrew Ahn, Ruth Atkinson, Daniel Barnz, Ava Berkofsky, Destin Cretton, Catherine Hardwicke, Tina Mabry, Alex O’Flinn, Lisa Robertson, and Emily Schweber.
“We are delighted to work with this group of bold directors as they embark on unique cinematic stories that speak to the human experience,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “It’s wonderful to have our alumni come back as Lab mentors, including Andrew Ahn and Tina Mabry both of whom participated in the Directing Lab in the past. It’s a testament to the spirit of the Film Independent community which we work to foster across all of our initiatives.”
“The directing lab at Film Independent was an incredible experience to workshop scenes from my first feature in a supportive space with amazing mentors. It’s rare and usually impossible to afford any rehearsal time for an indie film, so the lab was a chance to rehearse with actors and experiment with camera, which ended up being an invaluable part of making the final film,” said Christina Choe, Director of Film Independent Spirit Award nominated Nancy (2019) and 2015 Directing Lab Fellow.
Past Directing Lab Fellows also include Film Independent Spirit Award winner Andrew Ahn with Spa Night (2017 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).
Under the guidance of their Creative Advisors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions, and select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop. Each director casts actors and rehearses their scenes in the Lab before undertaking a mini-production; Film Independent provides Fellows with a digital camera, lighting and sound packages and small stipends to shoot their scenes, as well as 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.
Film Independent also presented the inaugural K Period Media Fellowship to Andrew Huang, who will be awarded a $10,000 grant to develop his script Tiger Girl through the Directing Lab.
The 2019 Directing Lab participants and their projects are:
Director/Writer: Miguel Nuñez
A short and romantic cowboy leads a peasant revolt to overthrow a ruthless corporation.
Director/Writer: Colleen McGuinness
A woman tries an experimental pill that can change her personality.
Director/Writer: Andrew Huang
Caught between her rebellious teenage desires and her immigrant mother’s expectations, a sheltered Chinese American high school graduate must learn to grow up and embark on a quest of sexual awakening which manifests in the form of a restless tiger spirit lurking in the attic.
Director: Alex Camilleri
Determined to make a better life for his newborn son, desperate fisherman Jesmark fights against his past to change his family’s fate.
Who Is Patina Manly?
Director: Daniel Cardone
Fresh from rehab and recovering at his mother’s home in Palm Springs, drag performer Jonah is visited by bad influence Jared, who plots to unravel Jonah’s positive growth by pressuring him to recreate the drag character that derailed his life – the monstrous Patina Manly.