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Programs Mon 2.3.2020

Every Film Independent Fellow Who Was at Sundance This Year

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in the indie film world, if our bleary eyes and grotesquely swollen email inboxes are any indication. After all, there are still the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards to cram for coming up this Saturday, February 8. That, and the fact that many of us—we filmmakers, industry types, journalists, volunteers, fans, etc.—have also just returned from Park City and the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, snow-blind and frostbitten but nevertheless entertained and edified by this year’s unbelievable programming slate.

But whether precariously perambulating down an icy Main Street clutching a scoop of Java Cow ice cream or shakily trying to hold our stomachs together on an undulating shuttle after one too many trips to the open bar, Film Independent wasn’t at Sundance/Slamdance just to party. We were also there to celebrate the accomplishments of our 41 individual Film Independent Fellows with projects at the two Festivals—including 2019 Producing Lab Fellow Hurriyah Muhammad, winner of the Sundance Producers Award for Farewell Armor.

“Fellows” here defined as participants of any of our Film Independent Artist Development Labs, Fast Track, grant winners or alumni of the LA Film Festival. Who are these supremely talented filmmakers? Keep reading to find out—by festival section—which 2020 Sundance/Slamdance filmmakers have Film Independent DNA running through their altitude-thinned blood.



‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’
  • Esteban Arango, director/screenwriter, Blast Beat
    • Grant/award winner, 2017
  • Erick Castrillon, screenwriter/producer, Blast Beat
    • Project Involve, 2017
  • Ed Wu, cinematographer, Blast Beat
    • Project Involve, 2015
  • Huriyyah Muhammad, producer, Farewell Amor
    • Producing Lab, 2019
  • Josh Penn, producer, Farewell Amor
    • Grant/award winner, 2014
  • Bruce Cole, cinematographer, Farewell Amor
    • Project Involve, 2018
  • James M. Johnston, producer, Miss Juneteenth
    • Grant/award winner, 2014
  • Toby Halbrooks, producer, Miss Juneteenth
    • Grant/award winner, 2014
  • Jason Berman, producer, Nine Days
    • Fast Track, 2009
  • Ian Olds, editor, The Evening Hour
    • Grant/award winner, 2006
  • Harry Yoon, editor, Minari
    • Project Involve, 2004
  • Tatiana Bears, co-producer, Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always and Save Yourselves!
    • Fast Track, 2019
  • Carolina Costa, cinematographer, Wander Darkly
    • Project Involve, 2014



  • Dee Rees, director, The Last Thing He Wanted
    • Grant/award winner, 2010
  • Mako Kamitsuna, editor, The Last Thing He Wanted
    • Fast Track, 2008
    • Grant/award winner, 2009
  • Michael Almereyda, director/screenwriter, Tesla
    • Grant/award winner, 2015
  • Uri Singer, producer, Tesla
    • Grant/award winner, 2015
  • Isen Robbins, producer, Tesla
    • Grant/award winner, 2015
  • Josh Penn, producer, Wendy
    • Grant/award winner, 2014



‘Taylor Swift: Miss Americana’
  • Kareen Tabsch, director, Mucho Mucho Amor (competition)
    • Grant/award winner, 2015
  • Lana Wilson, director, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (premiere)
    • Fast Track, 2015
  • Christine O’Malley, producer, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana
    • Fast Track, 2012
  • Sara Newens, screenwriter, On the Record (premiere)
    • Documentary Lab, 2013



  • Thembi Banks, writer/director, Baldwin Beauty (U.S. Shorts)
    • Project Involve, 2017
  • Elegance Bratton, writer/director, Buck (U.S. Shorts)
    • Fast Track, 2019
  • Zamarin Wahdat, cinematographer, Buck
    • Project Involve, 2018
  • Chester Algernal Gordon, producer/costume designer, Buck
    • Producing Lab, 2019
    • Fast Track, 2019
  • Valerie Steinberg, producer, Buck and Blocks (U.S. Shorts)
    • Producing Lab, 2019
    • Fast Track, 2019
  • Faren Humes, producer, T (U.S. Shorts)
    • Project Involve, 2018
    • Grant/award winner, 2018
    • Fast Track, 2019
  • Jessica Sanders, director, Embrace (Indie Episodic)
    • Fast Track, 2004
    • Producing Lab, 2003
    • Project Involve, 2000
    • Screenwriting Lab, 2007
  • David Shapiro, writer/director, Untitled Pizza Movies (Indie Episodic)
    • Grant/awards winner, 2001



‘I Carry You With Me’
  • Terence Nance, director/screenwriter, Ominiboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia (NEXT) and Guisado on Sunset (New Frontier shorts)
    • Project Involve, 2016
  • Kahlil Joseph, director, BLKNWS (New Frontier)
    • Project Involve, 2002
  • Mynette Louie, producer, I Carry You With Me (NEXT)
    • Fast Track, 2010



‘Bad Hair’
  • Justin Simien, director/screenwriter, Bad Hair (Midnight)
    • Project Involve, 2010
  • Daniel Powell, producer, Scare Me (Midnight)
    • Grant/award winner, 2017
  • Scott Macaulay, producer, The Assistant (Spotlight)
    • Fast Track, 2008
    • Grant/award winner, 1998



  • Claudia Sparrow, director, Maxima
    • Project Involve, 2002
  • Ryan Schwartz, producer, Maxima
    • Directing Lab, 2018
    • Fast Track, 2017
  • Steven J. Berger, executive producer, Maxima
    • Producing Lab, 2014
    • Fast Track, 2014/17/18


So again congrats to all of our Sundance-anointed Fellows—we hope you made it home safe and sound, with a minimum of ski injuries and plenty of souvenir fry sauce. Here’s hoping your films continue to travel the globe!

More Film Independent…


(Header: Miss Juneteenth)

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