By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 7, 2011 at 7:27AM
The Sundance Institute is partnering with Indian Paintbrush on a new fellowship program that offers grants to filmmakers supported by the Institute’s Feature Film Program. The first recipients of the fellowships--including Natural Selection and a project co-written by Lena Dunham--are listed below. In addition to the grants, one filmmaker will be given a Producer's Award and $10,000, as well as have their film premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The winner will be named at the fest's Producers Lunch.
The Institute also announces their New Frontier Story Lab, aiming to support projects that explore the convergence of film and new media technologies. Six projects (listed below) have been selected for the first-ever Story Lab, which takes place later this month at the Sundance Resort.
Feature film program director Michelle Satter says: “The filmmakers and projects selected as the first Indian Paintbrush Fellows are distinguished by their independent vision, originality, and authentic voice." Exec director of the institute Keri Putnam adds that the Producer's Award "further allows us to do so by providing practical resources that help them develop and complete their work and bring it to audiences.”
Satter will oversee the New Frontier Story Lab, which was created, she says, "to support visionary artists developing projects that will change the way we experience stories in the future."
The first Indian Paintbrush Fellows and their projects are:
Writer/Director: Liliana Greenfield-Sanders
In this dark comedy, an eccentric teenage girl with Munchausen syndrome pushes her medical theatrics to extremes in order to win the heart of a handsome paramedic.
Born and raised in the East Village of New York City, Liliana Greenfield-Sanders' first film Ghosts of Grey Gardens premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, screened at the Museum of Modern Art and made its television debut on PBS. Her short films have since won the Lifetime Student Filmmaker Prize, Best Short & Audience Awards at 10 major festivals including Woodstock, Austin and Gen Art, and screened at over 50 more. Greenfield-Sanders is a Masters Candidate at NYU's Tisch Graduate Film program and the Director of the Wassaic Project’s film program, and she attended the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Labs. Adelaide will mark her feature directorial debut.
Little Accidents (USA)
Writer/Director: Sara Colangelo
A small American coal-mining town, rocked by the devastating effects of a mining accident a year ago, must now deal with the mysterious disappearance of a 14-year-old boy.
Sara Colangelo is a Student Academy Award-nominated director and recent graduate of NYU's Graduate Film Division. Her first film, the short documentary Halal Vivero, was a National Finalist at the 2006 Student Academy Awards; her second short film, Un Attimo di Respiro, has screened at over 15 film festivals, including Tribeca and SXSW, and received a Wasserman Prize for Best Direction at NYU. Colangelo’s most recent short film, Little Accidents, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It has garnered numerous awards, including Grand Jury prizes at the Seattle International Film Festival, Arizona Film Festival, and San Francisco ShortsFest. Colangelo participated in the 2011 Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Labs.
Ad Inexplorata (USA)
Writer/Director: Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Ad Inexplorata is a multi-media fictional story about Captain William D. Stanaforth, a NASA pilot alone on a one-way mission toward the unknown.
Mark Elijah Rosenberg is the Founder and Artistic Director of Rooftop Films, a New York-based non-profit organization whose mission is to engage diverse communities through the medium of film. As a curator and filmmaker, he has programmed for festivals around the world and produced and directed numerous short films, and he was also a participant in the Sundance Institute June Screenwriters Lab. Rosenberg recently co-produced and co-directed Orbit(Film), an omnibus movie about our solar system.
Nobody Walks (USA)
Co-writer/Director: Ry Russo-Young
Co-writer: Lena Dunham
When a driven young artist invades the home and family of a Hollywood sound designer helping her finish her first film, their professional connection triggers a sexual and emotional entanglement that lays bare the needs, narcissism, and questionable morality of everyone involved. Nobody Walks participated in a Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Labs and is currently in post-production with a cast that includes John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby and Rosemarie Dewitt.
Ry Russo-Young’s second feature film, You Won't Miss Me, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win a 2009 Gotham Award. Her debut feature, Orphans, received a Jury Prize at the 2007 SXSW Film Festival and is now available through Netflix and Amazon. Russo-Young’s films have screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MoMA and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others. She currently resides in New York.
Lena Dunham’s first feature, Creative Nonfiction, premiered at SXSW 2009; her latest, Tiny Furniture, premiered in competition at SXSW 2010 and won the Jury Prize for Best Narrative and the Chicken & Egg Award for Best Emerging Female Director. She has made two webseries, Tight Shots and Delusional Downtown Divas, and a short film, Dealing, which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival. Lena also created and stars in the new HBO show “Girls”.
Natural Selection (USA)
Writer/Director: Robbie Pickering
When a dutiful, albeit barren, housewife discovers that her ailing husband has an illegitimate son, she sets out to find the young man and reunite him with her husband before he dies.
Born and raised in Jersey Village, Texas, Robbie Pickering graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has written and directed several award-winning short films and commercials. Natural Selection marks his feature directorial debut and won the Grand Jury Prize, Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Score at SXSW 2011. The film is being distributed by The Cinema Guild.
New Frontier Story Lab Projects
18 Days in Egypt
Jigar Mehta & Yasmin Elayat
Egypt / U.S.A.
18 Days in Egypt is a interactive documentary project that will tell the story of the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution through the media (videos, photos, tweets and other electronic media) generated by those there. The context for the contributed media will be crowdsourced by the project's community.
Jigar Mehta (Producer/Co-Creator) just completed a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University where he was developing tools for collaborative journalism. Before coming to Stanford, he worked as a video journalist for The New York Times. Mehta received his Masters in Journalism in 2005 from the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley where he studied under documentary filmmaker Jon Else.
Yasmin Elayat (Technologist/Co-Creator) is an interaction designer and software developer based in Cairo. She studied Computer Science at the American University in Cairo, then pursued a masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University, merging her interests in arts and technology.
Brigitte Dale & Robbie Wilkins
When Jane stumbles upon her estranged father’s Facebook page, she and her boyfriend Mark decide to embark on a road trip to anonymously catch a glimpse of her father and his new family. During this fictional, interactive experience, “Jane” and “Mark” will share their journey in real-time via social media, eventually culminating in a feature film that explores the modern dilemma of having your past be ever present.
Brigitte Dale (Writer/Director) is a writer, director and actress who began her entertainment career in Lincoln, Nebraska as a writer and video blogger for AOL and ABC Family. Since moving to Los Angeles she has produced, written, and starred in content for NatureMade Vitamins, Samsung, Ford, Disney, NASA, Comedy Central, MTV, and Lee Enterprises.
Robbie Wilkins (Creative Director/Producer) was a resident artist and member of the first Collaborative Documentary Fellowship at UnionDocs. His work has been commissioned by NPR and has aired extensively on MTV. Wilkins’ creative projects have also screened at the MoMA, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, DCTV in New York, and Direcktorenhaus in Berlin.
Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery
In a world where Shakespeare’s characters struggle for freedom, Hamlet struggles to rally a group of the Bard’s greatest heroes to battle the evil forces of Shakespeare’s most frightening villains. Based on the comic series by Del Col & McCreery, Kill Shakespeare is being developed as a feature film, a game, and a theatre experience.
Anthony Del Col (Co-Creator) is a creative entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in the music, film television and publishing industries. He is the co-creator and co-writer of Kill Shakespeare, the acclaimed comic book series that has been profiled by the New York Times, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly, BBC and CBC. Along with co-creator Conor McCreery, Del Col has been nominated for a Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Writing.
Conor McCreery (Co-Creator) has served in both creative and business positions for film and television companies, contributed over one thousand stories and articles for media outlets such as the Globe and Mail, Wired.com, and The Grid. He is the co-creator and co-writer of Kill Shakespeare, which has been nominated for a Harvey Award for Best New Series.
The Last Hijack
Tommy Pallotta & Femke Wolting
The failed nation-state of Somalia has become one of the poorest and most dangerous countries on earth. With their traditional fishing livelihoods blighted by drought, chronic corruption, and the pillaging of their seas by foreign vessels, Somalia has become a breeding ground for hijacking and extortion by a new band of sea rovers. The Last Hijack is a feature documentary and interactive online experience that uses film and animation to tell the story of these men that took matters into their own hands, landing million dollar bounties with each heist.
Tommy Pallotta (Co-Director) is a visionary storyteller whose penchant for innovation was recognized by Microsoft Research and Development where he lead a research team to create and design interactive, animated storytelling experiences. His short film, Snack and Drink, is part of a permanent collection in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Pallotta has collaborated with Richard Linklater on the award-winning feature film Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, animating both films using proprietary software and a technique he co-developed. His latest project is the Emmy-nominated transmedia thriller, Collapsus.
Femke Wolting (Co-Director) is Executive Director of Holland’s leading transmedia production outfit, Submarine, which she co-founded with Bruno Felix in 2000. Wolting has produced several projects including Peter Greenaway’s feature film Rembrandt’s J’accuse, documentary Another Perfect World, internationally-distributed animation series Kika & Bob, and the Emmy-nominated Collapsus. She has also directed a number of award-winning projects for VPRO, including Sneakers and It’s the End of TV As We Know It.
Question Bridge: Black Males
Chris Johnson & Hank Willis Thomas
Question Bridge: Black Males is a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America. Through video mediated question and answer exchange, diverse members of this “demographic” bridge economic, political, geographic, and generational divisions.
Chris Johnson (Co-Director) is a producer, fine art photographer and author. His photography has been widely exhibited and published and is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum, and the Center For Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ. Johnson is a full Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts where for ten years he served as President of the Faculty Senate.
Hank Willis Thomas (Co-Director) is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. His work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. Thomas is currently a Fellow at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University and an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France.
Originally a concept album for a film that does not (yet) exist, Rome is a multiplatform interactive narrative experience inspired by the music produced by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (featuring Jack White, Norah Jones, and Ennio Morricone’s original 40 piece orchestra from Italy). The project will culminate in a feature film produced by Likely Story and Annapurna Pictures and adapted from the novel “The Reapers are the Angels” which will tie all the threads together in one cohesive narrative.
Chris Milk (Director) is an artist focused on advancing technology generated emotional resonance through innovative interactive video projects. Milk’s work has garnered both viral status as well as a host of traditional accolades, including “Best of Show” awards at the Cannes Lions, D&ADs Pencils, The Clios, and SXSW, as well as multiple Grammy® nominations, MTV Moon Men, and the UK’s MVA Innovation Award. In 2011 he was honored in The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Nation Design Awards, and his “Wilderness Downtown” piece is currently on display at the MoMA in New York.