Programs Wed 3.19.2014

Welcome Film Independent Doc Lab Fellows!

Seven filmmakers joined the Film Independent family this week when we announced the Fellows who have been accepted into our 2014 Documentary Lab. “We are delighted to kick off the fourth year of our Documentary Lab with such a talented group of filmmakers and esteemed mentors,” says Kelly Thomas, Producer in Residence and Interim Director of Artist Development.

The chosen filmmakers will jump into an intensive seven-week program designed to provide creative feedback and help them strategize marketing and distribution of their films. Currently in post-production, the projects drill down into such interesting subject matter as: American carnivals and their Mexican migrant workforce, a legendary Rolling Stone journalist and a woman who becomes the world’s first armless pilot.

The Fellows will be mentored by an impressive group of filmmakers: Doug Blush (editor, Twenty Feet from Stardom), Laura Gabbert (No Impact Man), Caroline Libresco (Sunset Story), Linda Goldstein-Knowlton (Somewhere Between), Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol) and Chris Shellen (Marwencol).

Here are the documentaries we’re excited to help develop in the Lab:

Jiàoliàn [Coach] Jiàoliàn is the story of 27 year-old Norman DeSilva, an American who overnight becomes the head coach for the Foshan Longlions, a unique basketball team comprised of Americans, Syrian and Chinese players. Together, DeSilva rallies his team to overcome their challenges in order to win a spot in the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs. Esteban Arguello, director/producer; Xuan Jiang, producer

Farewell, Ferris Wheel explores the dual morality of the H-2B seasonal migrant work visa through the lens of the American Carnival and a Mexican town that provides one third of the labor that staffs the carnivals.
Jamie Sisley, director/producer; Miguel Martinez, co-director; Mayuran Tiruchelvam, producer; Gerry Kim Eugene Yi, editor

Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres When one man’s passion for rock and roll coincides with a cultural revolution, the truth is set free. Like a Rolling Stone is the story of legendary journalist, Ben Fong-Torres, an original editor-writer at Rolling Stone magazine, who brought an honest literary voice to the revolutionary force of music that continues to influence our society to this day. Suzanne Joe Kai, director/producer

My Uncle Gloria At age 66, Bernard “Butch” Rosichan, a Jewish, balding pot-bellied and homophobic owner of an auto wrecking business undergoes a risky sex change operation. Rosichan is reborn as “Gloria Stein” and attempts to reunite with her dysfunctional family while also becoming a leading advocate for transgender rights. Robyn Symon, director/producer

Rightfooted chronicles Jessica Cox’s struggle to overcome enormous physical and emotional obstacles to become the world’s first armless pilot and her transformation into an activist for the handicapped in America and abroad. Nick Spark, director/producer; Bill Megalos, cinematographer; Susan Metzger editor

Street Fighting Man In a new America where the promise of education, safety and shelter are in jeopardy, three Detroit men fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations.
Andrew James, director/producer/cinematographer; Sara Archambault, Katie Tibaldi. producer; Jason Tippet, editor;  Zachary Saginaw/Shigeto, composer; Jamila Wignot and Torben Bernhard, co-producers.

Surviving Cliffside A West Virginia family faces illness, addiction, and gun violence, while their daughter makes a run for Little Miss West Virginia. Jonathan Matthews, director/producer; Richard Bever, producer.

We’re With the Band Using a band as a cover story, a group of unlikely rebels with dubious musical skills traverse forbidden borders and become entangled in each other’s lives in Israel and Palestine. Jen Heck, director/producer/co-editor/co-cinematographer; Maria De La O, producer; Martina Radwan, cinematographer; Ben Frazer, editor.