LA Film Festival Tue 6.7.2016

Who’s Who at Fast Track 2016: Fellows Get Ready for Three Days of Pitching in Culver City

As an independent filmmaker, you’re constantly looking for shortcuts. Not because you’re lazy, or don’t want to put in the work. It’s just that the entire mechanism of Hollywood is set up to discourage rebels and upstarts from trying to sneak in and disrupt the status quo—and sometimes the only way in is to hack the system.

Enter Fast Track—a rapid-fire, three-day film marketplace held each year during the LA Film Festival in which select participants are invited to pitch their projects to top industry execs, including financiers, agents, managers, distributors, granting organizations and production companies.

“Fast Track provides an extraordinary opportunity for independent producers and directors to gain critical support for their feature films,” said Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development.

2016 Fast Track dinner

In an interview with Film Independent earlier this year, Film Independent Project Involve Fellow and Fast Track veteran Logan Kibens described the fast-and-furious Fast Track experience as “kind of like speed dating”—intimidating and intense, but with the possibility of being immensely rewarding.

Kibens was also the recipient of the 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track grant for her feature film project Operator, which provides a $20,000 production grant in support of a film that explores scientific or technological themes, or which depicts scientists, engineers and mathematicians in “engaging and innovative ways.”

This year’s Alfred P. Sloan grant—given at the annual Fast Track Welcome Dinner—was awarded to Mark Levinson and his project The Gold Bug Variations, based on the Richard Powers novel about two separate couples and their “search to decode the mysteries of life and love” through DNA mapping.

Nineteen other Fast Track participants representing nine other individual projects will join Levinson today, June 7, on the second day of Fast Track 2016 at the historic Culver Hotel, smack in the middle of the Festival hub. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to know the filmmakers and their projects:

Fast Track 2015

A Woman’s Work (Yu Gu, director/producer; Elizabeth Ai, producer) – Football and feminism collide in this feature documentary that follows three former NFL cheerleaders and their class-action lawsuits brought against their teams.

All That We Love, (Yen Tan , writer/director; Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams, producers) – The death of a beloved pet compels a wistful middle-aged man to examine what he’s holding onto from his past.

College Girl (Joshua Tate, writer/director/producer; Maritte Go, producer) – While attending a postsecondary program for adults with intellectual disabilities, a young woman with Down syndrome questions her place in the world in the face of impending motherhood.

Falcon Lake (Sara Seligman, writer/director; Anne Clements, producer) – Ester and her mother run a motel where they drug their guests and murder them for their money. Two drug runners arrive and hold them hostage, not realizing the women’s dark secret.

Jinn (Nijla Mu’min, writer/director; Avril Speaks, producer) – Summer is a carefree, black teenage Instagram celebrity whose world turns upside down when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety.

Rogue (Mark F. Kindred, writer/director; Reinaldo Marcus Green, producer) – An ex-cop gone rogue wages “asymmetric and unconventional” warfare on the police force that fired him, resulting in the biggest manhunt in LAPD history. Inspired by true events.

The Gold Bug Variations (Mark Levinson, writer/director/producer) – A double helix of two love stories that spirals across twenty-five years and the mystery of the disappearance of a brilliant scientist on the verge of understanding the code for life who is derailed by music and the search for the code for love.

United Skates (Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler, directors/producers) – United Skates follows an underground subculture growing inside our country’s last standing roller rinks. Through the eyes of two unassuming leaders, Reggie and Phelicia, they battle in a racially charged environment, to save a movement still undiscovered by mainstream America.

Waiting for Kate (female is not a category), (Amy Goldstein, writer/director; Anouchka van Riel, producer) – Waiting For Kate (female is not a category) tells the story of endearingly flawed, fiercely girl-powered singer/songwriter Kate Nash. After a Platinum album, Nash defies the silo-like boundaries of the music industry and inspires millions of young women to blaze their own trails, while tensions between her outward self and her inner turmoil are pushed to breaking point.

You and Me Both (Jennifer Suhr, writer/director; Carolyn Mao, producer) – Upon the death of their adoptive mother, two Korean American sisters, estranged by the older one’s drug addiction, set out on a road trip to find their birth mother.

Fast Track is supported by Film Independent Artist Development lead funder Time Warner Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, NEA Art Works, EFILM | Company 3 and Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.

To learn more about Fast Track, including how to apply for next year, click here.

This year’s 2016 LA Film Festival is currently happening at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City as additional venues citywide through June 9. Buy your tickets to all of our great screenings and special events today. Click here for more information.

To see our full lineup and Festival Guide, please visit our website, stay tuned to this blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Learn how to become a Member of Film Independent by clicking here.