Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent
Tel: 310.432.1287 or

Gina Pence, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323.645.6800 or




LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2016) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, announced the names of the 10 filmmakers and six projects selected for the 2016 Documentary Lab, a five week intensive program designed to support filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentaries.

Netflix is returning for the second year to support the program, including a $25,000 finishing fund for projects being developed in the Lab. Now in its sixth year, the Documentary Lab has two primary focuses: (1) providing creative feedback and story notes to the selected filmmakers; and (2) helping filmmakers strategize the completion, distribution, and marketing of their film.

“We are excited to kick off the sixth year of our Documentary Lab and to continue to deepen our connection to the documentary filmmaking community,” said Film Independent Director of Artist Development, Jennifer Kushner. “There is such profound and groundbreaking work being done in documentary today, and we are thrilled to be able to bring together this dynamic and inclusive group of filmmakers and creative advisors in support of great storytelling.”

Projects developed in past Documentary Labs include Marah Strauch’s Sunshine Superman, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Andrew Droz Palermo & Tracy Droz Tragos’ Rich Hill which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, PJ Raval’s Before You Know It; Hilla Medalia’s Dancing in Jaffa; Nicholas Wrathall’s Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia; Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali Worrall’s Call Me Kuchu; Laura Nix and Julia Meltzer’s The Light In Her Eyes; and Nicole Karsin’s We Women Warriors, among others.

Documentary filmmakers Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel), Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen (Marwencol) and Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room) are this year’s Documentary Lab Advisors. Guest Speakers include Doug Blush (Editor, 20 Feet From Stardom), Laura Gabbert (City of Gold) Jennifer Arnold (Tig, A Small Act), Chris Perez (Legal Issues for Documentarians) and Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute.

The Documentary Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation and is sponsored by Netflix, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support provided by Dolby Laboratories, Inc.


The 2016 Documentary Lab projects and Fellows are:


Inbetween Nowhere, Aslihan Unaldi –director/producer

Inbetween Nowhere is an intimate portrait of three young Syrian revolutionaries, who came of age during the war and who are now living in exile in Turkey.


Larry Flynt for President, Nadia Szold –director/producer

In 1983, battle wounded from an assassination attempt on his life, Larry Flynt re-emerges with a vengeance and announces his run for President from his golden wheel chair.


Marriage Brokers, Smriti Mundhra, Sarita Khurana – director/producers

In a modern India still weighed down by tradition, three young women must put their lives and dreams on pause to have arranged marriages.


Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, Deborah Riley Draper – director/producer

In 1936, 18 African-American athletes won hearts and medals the Berlin Olympic Games, defying Aryan theories. History forgot all except one. This is the story of the other 17.


Shot in the Dark, Dustin Nakao Haider – director, Daniel Dewes and Derek Doneen – producers

Deep within Chicago’s notoriously violent Westside, the Orr Academy Spartans must band together – not only to win a championship, but to survive.


United Skates, Tina Brown, Dyana Winkler – director/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.


For more information on Film Independent’s Artist Development programs, please contact Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development, at 310.432.1275 or visit



Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling 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, as well as the LA Film Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary of showcasing the best of American and international cinema. Film Independent also produces 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