12 Selected for Sundance’s Screenwriters Lab

Filmmakers given opportunity to work with directors, screenwriters on feature scripts

Last Updated: December 14, 2009 @ 4:19 PM

A dozen up and coming filmmakers have been tapped to participate in the Sundance Institute’s annual Screenwriters Lab.

This year’s group includes filmmakers from regions around the world, including the United States, China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the organization announced on Monday.

Participants in the five-day writers’ workshop work intensely on feature film scripts under the guidence of industry insiders like director Scott Frank, screenwriters Richard LaGravenese and Tom Rickman and movie critic Dana Stevens.

 "The projects selected for the Lab celebrate the breadth of independent filmmaking with screenplays that boast originality, innovation and deeply personal voices," said Michelle Satter, director of the feature film program. 
"For the first time, the Lab will support a transmedia project, which expands the narrative possibilities of a feature film by creating a storyworld that embraces film, gaming and technology to reach audiences across multiple screens in new and engaging ways," she said.

Here’a a list of the filmmakers and a description of the projects selected for the 2010 January Screenwriters Lab:

Lance Edmands (writer/director) / Bluebird (U.S.): In the frozen woods of an isolated Maine logging town, one woman’s tragic mistake leads to unexpected consequences.
Craig Zobel (writer/director) / Canary (U.S.A): The residents of a small West Virginia coal mining town intersect and affect one another in surprising, often humorous ways, as their lives are inextricably shaped by their surroundings.

Sydney Freeland (writer/director) / Drunktown’s Finest (U.S.): Three Native Americans — a rebellious father-to-be, a devout Christian and a promiscuous transsexual — find their self-images challenged, and ultimately strengthened, as they come of age on an Indian reservation.

Saodat Ismailova
(writer/director) / 40 Days of Silence (Uzbekistan): Four generations of women under one roof look to each other for comfort while resisting the strictly proscribed life for women in Uzbek culture.

Lance Weiler (co-writer/director) and Chuck Wendig (co-writer) / HiM (U.S.): When a mysterious sleep virus begins to affect the adults in a small rural town, those under 18 find themselves cut off from civilization and fighting for their lives. As weeks turn into months, they must struggle against the infected adults, one another, and their own worst instincts.
Cao Baoping (writer/director) / How Many Trainings Must I Take Before I Can Be as Hard as Steel? (China): After spending her entire adolescence fighting with her psychologically abusive mother, a young woman is forced to come to terms with the love underlying the hatred she feels.

Sean Durkin (writer/director) / Martha Marcy May Marlene (U.S.): Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Cherien Dabis (writer/director) / May in the Summer (U.S., Jordan): A Palestinian American woman grapples with culture shock, religion and her loving but strong-willed family when she reunites with them in Jordan to plan a wedding that no one knows she’s called off.
Myna Joseph (writer/director) / My Favorite Nightmare (U.S.): A willful teenager, pregnant with her cousin’s child and determined to get an abortion, travels to New York, only to discover her unpredictable father has followed her.
Edwin (co-writer/director) and Daud Sumolang (co-writer) / Postcards From the Zoo (Indonesia): After being abandoned at a young age at the zoo, a young woman leaves her magical childhood behind to discover the world outside.

Dash Shaw (writer/director) / Slobs and Nags (U.S.): Told with hand-drawn animation, a disconnected family is thrown into chaos when the scientist father loses the test subject of his experiment with appearance-altering technology.

Samantha McIntyre (writer) / Unicorn Store (U.S.): A lonely young woman who has never had a boyfriend tries to fix her life by purchasing a unicorn.