Sundance Institute has invited 10 different emerging producers — six women and four men, split evenly between fiction and non-fiction projects — to participate in its week-long Producers Lab.
The invited fellows will get mentoring from veteran Hollywood producers between July 25-29 who will aid the independent producers to deepen the creative potential of their projects and develop new creative instincts. They’ll then be invited to a Producers Summit between August 2-5, which is a gathering of other producers for a series of roundtables, one-on-one meetings and conversations, including a keynote address by Hasan Minhaj. More than 50 industry leaders and 65 indie filmmakers will participate and will receive ongoing year-long mentorship, creative support and networking opportunities.
Both events will take place digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. Artist support director Shira Rockowitz and documentary film program deputy director Kristin Feeley are leading the event for the Sundance Institute.
This year’s advisors for the Producers Lab include fiction producers Mollye Asher (“Nomadland”), Amy Lo (“Nancy”), Paul Mezey (“After Yang”), Laura Rister (“The Tale”) and nonfiction producers Violeta Bava (“Azor”) Jannat Gargi (Vice Studios), Andrea Meditch (Fathom), and Tracy Rector (“Nia Tero”).
Some of the producers attending the Summit this year include Jeff Deutchman (Neon), Wyck Godfrey (Temple Hill), Deb McIntosh (Endeavor), Lisa Nishimura (Netlfix) and Sara Rodriguez (HBO) among many other announced participants.
Pictured above is the group of 10 fellows selected for the Producers Lab, and below you can find the full list of fellows for both the feature film and documentary labs, with a synopsis of each project.
“Caity” (U.S.) – Producing Fellow: Katie White
While managing her family’s local haunted house with her alcoholic father, Paul, 16-year-old Caity navigates the evaporating space between childhood and adulthood and discovers a fantasy of intimacy in another teenage employee, Hannah.
“Fancy Dance” (U.S.) – Producing Fellow and Mark Silverman Honoree: Deidre Backs
Following the disappearance of her sister, a Native American hustler kidnaps her niece from her white grandparents and sets out for the state powwow in the hopes of keeping what’s left of their family intact.
“The Incredible Heist of Hallelujah Jones” (U.S.) – Producing Fellow: Duran Jones
During a season of extreme gun violence in Compton, California, a precocious book thief who hears the voices of his dead parents finds out that his family’s long-lost novel is being auctioned off. With the help of the neighborhood matriarch, a 100-year-old Black woman, he concocts a plan to steal it back.
“The Plutonians” (U.S.) – Producing Fellow: Shao Min Chew Chia
When the scientific definition of the word planet threatens to exclude Pluto, ninth planet expert Alvin Gibbs swoops into a sleepy international astronomy conference to save it, bullying others to cover his fear that his life’s labor may ultimately be worthless.
“Sundown Town” (U.S.) – Producing Fellow: Austin Sepulveda
When Loretha learns that her grandmother’s health has taken a downward turn, she returns home to the deep south with her naive boyfriend Sam. As mysterious encounters begin to unearth long held prejudices, Lo’s scarred past comes to light when she discovers a dark secret hidden in her own hometown.
“All that is Solid” (Todo Lo Sólido) – Producing Fellow: Joie Estrella Horwitz
“Todo Lo Sólido” (All That Is Solid) tells the story of an island sinking into the Caribbean Sea. As a nameless drifter searches for explanations about the island’s destiny, reality and fantasy merge to reflect on the construction of a nation and the burden of progress.
“Commuted” – Producing Fellow: Darcy McKinnon
When Danielle Metz’s triple life sentence was commuted, she got a rare chance to regain the life and family that she’d been dreaming about in prison. But back home in New Orleans, she steps into a different reality. Commuted traces Danielle’s journey to find purpose and love, and to confront the wounds of incarceration that linger after release from prison.
“I Didn’t See You There” – Producing Fellow: Keith Wilson
Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom, (in)visibility, and the pursuit of individual agency.
“Loyalty” – Producing Fellow: Razi Jafri
“Loyalty” is an all-access look inside the military and the fight for religious freedom led by three courageous Muslim chaplains. The film explores why Muslim service members defend a country that does not always defend them and how they reconcile this contradiction amidst growing white supremacy and violent hate crimes against religious minorities.
“Razing Liberty Square” – Producing Fellow: Ann Bennett
Miami is ground-zero for sea-level-rise and the Climate Crisis. Elevation becomes real-estate gold as the rich move inland from low-lying beachfront properties. When residents of Miami’s Liberty Square public housing development learn about a $300-million revitalization project, they brace themselves against a new form of racial injustice — Climate Gentrification.