11 FILMMAKERS and 9 PROJECTS SELECTED FOR THE FILM INDEPENDENT 2013 PRODUCING LAB
$25,000 SLOAN PRODUCING GRANT AWARDED TO
Producer Isabella Wing-Davey
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 28, 2013)— Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, is pleased to announce the producers selected for its 13th annual Producing Lab. The 2013 Producing Lab is supported by lead funder Time Warner Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Technicolor. The Lab is an intensive six-week incubator designed to help producers working in independent film improve their craft and take their current projects to the next level in a nurturing yet challenging creative environment. Under the tutelage of the Lab Mentors Karin Chien, Lynette Howell, Ted Kroeber and Michael Roiff, the participants are advised on the art and business of producing and are also introduced to established producers and film professionals who serve as guest speakers and advisors.
Film Independent also announces the recipient of the 7th annual Sloan Producers Grant to Isabella Wing-Davey, who is participating in the Producing Lab with the feature film project FLOOD from writer/director Katy Scoggin. Wing-Davey will receive a $25,000 production grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which seeks to create and develop new scripts and films about science and technology, and to see them into commercial production with national and international distribution. The grant was awarded on October 27, 2013 at the Film Independent Forum, presented by Indiewire.
FLOOD tells the story of a paleontologist turned creationist and his estranged daughter who are forced to reconcile after he becomes the subject of her radio segment.
“Film Independent is honored to continue our relationship with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and to award this year’s Sloan Producing Grant,” said Jennifer Kushner Director of Artist Development. “ Bella Wing-Davey is a promising young producer, and Flood deftly addresses the gulf between science and religion through an emotionally affecting father-daughter story. Since 2007, Film Independent has awarded Sloan grants to a number of worthy independent film projects that have been successfully produced, including Future Weather, Valley of Saints, and Basmati Blues, which wrapped production this summer in India. Several other projects are in pre-production. We have high hopes for Flood look forward to nurturing and supporting this project through our Producing Lab and beyond.”
“We are delighted to partner with Film Independent in supporting Flood as the recipient of this year’s Sloan Producer’s Lab grant, ” said Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “In further developing this personal film about evolution and why thoughtful people may continue to resist its overwhelming scientific evidence, we hope to extend our remarkable winning streak with FIND–every project we have supported at the Lab has either been completed or is in pre-production–while demonstrating yet again how science and technology offer filmmakers fresh, original stories and great characters.”
Filmmakers were chosen based on the strength of their submitted script, business plan, and creative vision. The Producing Lab is provided free to accepted producers, and upon completion, they become Film Independent Fellows, receiving year-round support including access to Film independent’s annual film educational offerings, on-staff Producer in Residence and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Recent projects developed through the Lab include Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, which was released theatrically in 2011 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Aurora Guerrero and Charlene Agabao’s Mosquita y Mari, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Musa Syeed and Nicholas Bruckman’s Valley of Saints, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Jenny Deller and Kristin Fairweather’s Future of Weather, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival; Suzi Yoonessi’s Dear Lemon Lima, which premiered at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival; Morgan Stiff’s Mississippi Dammed, which won the Grand Jury Prozie at the 2009 Outfest Film Festival; Scott Prendergast’s Kabluey, which premiered at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival; Ted Kroeber’s American Gun, which was nominated for three Spirit Awards in 2007; So Yong Kim’s In Between Days, which was released by New Yorker Films in 2007; and Jessica Sanders’ After Innocence, which was short-listed for the 2006 Academy Awards.
The 2013 Producing Lab filmmakers and projects are:
A Death in the Andes – In a desperate attempt to save his mother from illness, Carlos, a fiery salt miner from the Bolivian highlands, seeks out his estranged uncle in the city, where they abduct an American doctor.
Nicholas Greene, Writer/Director/Producer
Nicholas Greene is a British filmmaker based in New York. His short film, ‘Salar’, made in Bolivia with the country’s only film school, was shortlisted for the 2013 Oscars and won the Austin Film Festival Jury Award. He co-founded Ascension Entertainment with Jolyon Symonds, and received development funding from the British Film Institute for two projects: Travels with My Aunt, based on the novel by Graham Greene, and The White Tiger, based on the Booker prize winning novel by Aravind Adiga. He was selected for the Film Independent Director’s Lab, the Cine Qua Non screenwriters lab in Mexico and the Berlin Talent Campus. Greene previously worked for Paramount Pictures and holds an MFA in film from Columbia University. He currently works as an editor for non-profit documentaries.
Chesapeake – After falling off the roof at a New Year’s Eve house party, Owen, a vending machine proprietor, decides that it’s time to make some wholesale changes in his life and resolves to become a better man over the course of the next year.
Emily Ting, Producer
Emily Ting is a graduate of the Film/TV program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Ting has made several shorts that have screened at film festivals across the nation and broadcast on cable and/or online. Her latest short “The Distance Between,” starring Amber Stevens, just finished its festival run and picked up the award for Best Short Film Omaha Film Festival. Her feature documentary, Family Inc., screened at several film festivals nationwide and was picked up for distribution by 7th Art Releasing and can be seen on the Documentary Channel. Ting also produced the feature The Kitchen, an ensemble comedy directed by Ishai Setton and starring Laura Prepon, Bryan Greenberg, and Dreama Walker. The film premiered as the Closing Night Film of the Gen Art Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Monterey Media. It is currently available everywhere on DVD and Digital Download. Additionally, Ting served as the Associate Producer for Yen Tan’s Pit Stop, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and Executive Producer for Dave Boyle’s forthcoming Man from Reno, currently in post. She will next serve as Co-Executive Producer on Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens’ Land Ho!.
Doctor – Salim, a disgraced young doctor from India, will do anything to rebuild his former life. But when he starts practicing medicine illegally in New York, he’s drawn into a medical underworld where he risks losing everything.
Nicholas Bruckman, Producer
Nicholas Bruckman is a New York-based independent and commercial film producer. His first narrative feature, Valley of Saints, won the World Dramatic Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Valley of Saints is slated for a 2014 North American release with 108 Media/Paladin, as well as theatrical release in Europe, India and Australia.
Bruckman also directed and produced the feature documentary, La Americana, which won best documentary at the New York and Los Angeles Latino Film Festivals, and broadcast worldwide on networks including PBS, National Geographic and Al Jazeera.
Bruckman’ work has been supported by numerous foundations including the Fledgling Fund, Cinereach, NYSCA, NYFA, and Sloan. He has been selected for film labs, workshops, and markets worldwide including the Busan Project Market, Torino Film Lab and Dubai Film Connection. His upcoming narrative feature, Doctor, has received support from the Tribeca Film Institute, IFP Independent Film Week, and the TIFF Talent Lab.
In addition to independent film, Nicholas’ production company People’s Television creates commercial content for brands including IBM, USAID, the United Nations, Nissan, Philips and Facebook.
Flood – A paleontologist turned creationist and his estranged daughter are forced to reconcile after he becomes the subject of her radio segment.
Isabella Wing-Davey, Producer
Isabella Wing-Davey is an award-winning British filmmaker and the inaugural recipient of the Creative Media Services Producing Award. Her projects have received support for short film production and feature development from the Sloan Foundation (Flood and “Flood” (the short film), “The Rain Collector”), Sundance Institute (Flood), Panavision New Filmmakers (“Flood”), Spike Lee Production Grant (“Afronauts”). She has worked in production and development for Stephen Woolley and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and her work has been seen at festivals around the world.
Wing-Davey holds a BA from Cambridge University in History, and is currently a thesis student in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program (Dean’s Scholarship and Tisch School of the Arts Fellowship).
She was a finalist for the Sundance Creative Producing Fellowship in 2013. Wing-Davey was the Executive Producer for a pilot collaboration between the Sloan Foundation, and the Graduate Departments of Design and Film at NYU overseeing production of 5 shorts shot this spring. Wing-Davey was one of three filmmakers to represent NYU Grad film at the Illumenation Film Festival 2012 in Helsinki. She had her first feature film directing experience in 2012 on the James Franco produced film Black Dog, Red Dog, working with actors Tim Blake Nelson, Chloe Sevigny and Logan Marshall Green. She has 3 short films in post, as well as producing Music Videos and working for Cooper’s Town Productions. Wing-Davey also has 3 features in development, and Flood will be her first as a producer.
I’m Not Down – Alfonso, a punk rock single dad whose home is threatened by progress says “F@#* You!” to gentrification, because individuality is freedom, and freedom is worth the fight.
Monique Gabriela Curnen, Producer
Monique Curnen is an actor and producer. After graduating from Williams College, Curnen moved to New York City to pursue acting. She interned for Hopkins, Smith, Barden Casting, and served as Administrative Director for the Black Filmmaker Foundation. As an actor, Curnen has been in a string of critical and commercial successes including Half Nelson, Maria Full of Grace, The Dark Knight, and Contagion.
As a producer, Curnen produced the interactive short films, “Weapons of Misdirection” and “Where My Ladies At?”, for the Black Filmmaker Foundation’s producing lab. “Weapons of Misdirection” followed the intersecting worlds of an embedded journalist in Iraq, an active duty soldier, and that soldier’s wife awaiting his return in the U.S. The project won the 2005 Webby Award for best Politics website. “Where My Ladies At?” addressed the process of hyper sexualizing women of color in hip-hop music videos. Most recently, Curnen completed principal photography on the short film “Noel”, a story about the intimacy of strangers caught outside an emergency room.
Moment of Truth – The gripping true story of two rookie California real-estate lawyers who volunteer to fight for the freedom of a woman wrongfully sentenced to life behind bars.
Yoav Potash, Producer/Writer/Director
Yoav Potash is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. His documentary Crime After Crime premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and had a national primetime broadcast on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. The film received 25 major awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, The National Board of Review’s Freedom of Expression Award, and The Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism. Potash obtained unprecedented access to California prisons to make the film, a process he wrote about for The Wall Street Journal. His other recent writing, producing, and directing credits include a cinematic “book trailer” for Joshua Safran’s critically-acclaimed memoir Free Spirit, and the documentary Food Stamped, winner of the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and an official selection of Whole Foods Market’s online film festival, Do Something Reel. Potash is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he earned the university’s top prize in creative writing. A draft of his screenplay for Moment of Truth has been selected as one of 27 semifinalists in the drama category of the 2013 Austin Film Festival’s Screenplay Competition, which had over 3,000 submissions.
Saeed on the Run — An Iraqi-American man wrongly accused of a terrorist act ends up running for his life alongside a former immigration officer turned violent criminal.
Nagwa Ibrahim, Producer
An attorney who specializes in immigration law and criminal defense, Nagwa Ibrahim. has handled Guantanamo cases, other prisoner rights cases, and provided free legal representation for individuals who cannot afford attorneys in their criminal parole proceedings. She has traveled throughout the world on humanitarian delegations including to Chiapas Mexico,Iraq, Israel, Palestine, South Africa, and Venezuela. Through her travels and work as an attorney, Ibrahim became inspired to become a filmmaker, where stories of real people can be heard, felt and experienced in one space that transcends borders.
After producing a series of short films, she officially launched a production company, WitNas Productions. The purpose of WitNas is to use visual media of all types, whether feature films, documentaries, web-series, etc., as a means of connecting humanity beyond borders by sharing the stories and lives of people around the world so that we may bridge the gaps, appreciate difference while also celebrating that which connects us all. WitNas is currently in postproduction on the narrative feature film Woven, which Ibrahim directed and served as one from among a team of producers. Woven is a film about an Ethiopian American family and a White American family who’s lives are turned upside down after a tragedy strikes in New York.
Wesam Nassar, Writer/Director
Nassar Wesam is a California born Egyptian-American who started his journey as a filmmaker on September 11th 2001, when commissioned to direct a documentary on the International Solidarity Movement in Israel and Palestine. For the following six years he jumped from one documentary to another, traveling as far east as Baghdad in 2004 and far west as Bamako in 2005. In 2006, Wesam shifted his attention to narrative production by creating the CCP: A groundbreaking Community Cinema Program that gave a voice to youth in underprivileged communities in Oakland and San Francisco. Joining forces with BAYCAT, Wesam produced and directed over six short narrative films through CCP in the span of three years. In 2011, Wesam returned to Los Angeles and founded Eshmawi Films where he writes, produces and directs various commercial projects, music videos, and narrative features.
The Oldest Man Alive – A suicidal octogenarian inventor finds a reason to live in a young Romanian woman who saves him from drowning.
Antonio Tibaldi, Co-Writer/Director/Producer
New York-based Antonio Tibaldi has worked as writer/director/producer in the film industries of Europe, Australia and North America. In 1992 he co-wrote and directed On My Own which screened at Sundance 1993 and was nominated for 6 AFI awards (Australian Oscar Equivalent) and 1 Genie award (Canada’s Oscar equivalent). He directed 4 other features: Running Against (Sundance 1997, winner Cinequest and Prix Italia 1997); Little Boy Blue (winner Mystfest, Cattolica 1997, Hamptons); Claudine’s Return (Berlin, Winner Fort Lauderdale 1999); and Lupomannaro. His documentary feature [S]comparse, which he also produced, won the Spirit Award at the Brooklyn Film festival 2011.
His films have been presented at festivals such as Berlin, Sundance, San Sebastian, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Tribeca, Los Angeles Independent, Cinequest, Hamptons, Palm Springs; and released by companies such as Miramax, Warner Bros., and Lion’s Gate. As a writer he has written screenplays for Gay Talese and Nick Pileggi.
After 9-11 he was asked by RAI (Italian TV) to shoot a series of documentaries related to the aftermath of the terroristic attack. That experience led to a prolific collaboration with UNTV (United Nations TV) making documentaries to shed light on under- reported realities in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. Antonio received an MFA from Calarts where he was a Fulbright scholar.
Welcome to the Sandbox – Upon returning home from Operation: Iraqi Freedom, a female Army medic struggles to reconnect with her husband, daughter and civilian life, only to discover that coming back to the home front can be as difficult as surviving on the battlefield.
LaToya Morgan Producer/Writer
Los Angeles native LaToya Morgan is an alumna of the American Film Institute Conservatory where she received a MFA in Screenwriting. Post-graduate school, she was selected as a Fellow in Film Independent’s Project: Involve and later had her feature script place in the distinguished Nicholl Fellowship. She is also a 2011 alumna of the prestigious Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop and a newly minted member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and a 2013 participant in the Power of Diversity Workshop. LaToya has been a writer on the Showtime series Shameless, NBC’s Parenthood and is currently writing on the new AMC series Turn.
Jared Parsons, Producer
After growing up in Ann Arbor, MI, Jared Parsons graduated from both NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the American Film Institute Conservatory. Since then, he has produced three award-winning feature films as well as numerous shorts and commercials. As a production and location manager, Parsons has worked on over a dozen other features starring the likes of Elijah Wood, Tobey Maguire, William H. Macy and Helen Hunt. His most recent film as producer, 3 Days of Normal, which he also co-wrote, was released digitally around the world this summer via FilmBuff / Cinetic Rights Management. He also recently produced the first season of Hulu’s first original scripted series, Battleground.
About Film Independent
Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.
Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org.
About The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The New York based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in public understanding of science and technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.
Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and accurate stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past 15 years, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs at Sundance, Tribeca, Hamptons International Film Festival and Film Independent’s Producer’s Lab and has developed such film projects as Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed’s Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.
The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions over a dozen science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club as well as supporting select productions across the country. Recent grants have supported Nell Benjamin’s The Explorer’s Club, Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Sharr White’s The Other Place, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51.
For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit www.sloan.org.
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For more information, contact:
Alia Quart Khan