This year’s Lab Mentors include documentary filmmakers Doug Blush (editor, “The Invisible War”), Laura Gabbert (“No Impact Man”) and Jeff Malmberg (“Marwencol").
“There is so much great work being done by documentary filmmakers right now, and it’s exciting to see the projects coming out of our Lab being celebrated at festivals and beyond,” stated Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development. “We’re thrilled to welcome the new group of filmmakers, and look forward to seeing their films develop in the program.”
Previous Documentary Lab projects include: Hila Medalia’s “Dancing in Jaffa,” Nicholas Wrathall’s “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” and Nicole Karsin’s “We Women Warriors,” among others.
The chosen fellows and their films are:
Director/Producer: Milena Pastreich
Logline: Inner-city men are kept off the streets by their dedication to pigeons that do flips in the air.
Title: “KUSAMA: Princess of Polka Dots”
Director/Producer: Heather Lenz
Logline: Trailblazer Yayoi Kusama’s turbulent quest to become a world famous artist is documented in “KUSAMA: Princess of Polka Dots”; as a rival of Warhol in the ‘60s, Kusama battled sexism and racism in America while her hallucinations of polka dots eventually led her to the Tokyo mental institution she has called home for over 30 years.
Director/Producer: Jillian Schlesinger
Producer: Emily McAllister
Logline: An intimate coming-of-age adventure set against the epic backdrop of the open sea, “Maidentrip” explores life through the eyes of 14-year-old Laura Dekker on her quest to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Title: “Mary Woronov, Cult Queen from Warhol to Corman”
Director/Producer: Francesca Di Amico
Producer/Cinematographer: Claudia Unger
Logline: The documentary explores the enigma of actress and artist, Mary Woronov and chronicles her colorful career spanning from her work with Andy Warhol to Roger Corman that sealed her reputation as a “Cult Queen”.
Director/Producer: Aaron Naar
Logline: Matthew dreamed of pop stardom; instead he went to jail, emerged a mariachi singer and fell in love with a Cuban prostitute.
Title: “Rich Hill”
Director/Producer: Tracy Droz Tragos
Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Andrew Droz Palermo
Logline: “Rich Hill” intimately chronicles the turbulent lives of four impoverished boys living in a dying Midwestern town, witnessing their struggles up-close as they yearn to find self-worth and to imagine a brighter future.
Title: “Storyteller: the Wonderful, Magical Life of the Man Who Saved Ben Hur”
Director/Producer: Joe Forte
Logline: Childless and never married, a real life Forest Gump sorts through the treasures of his life.
Title: “Top Spin”
Co-Director/Producer: Mina T. Son
Co-Director/Editor: Sara Newens
Logline: Facing steep odds, a group of tenacious American teenagers chase Olympic glory in table tennis – the greatest equalizer in sports, where regardless of size, age, and gender, anyone can win.