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LOS ANGELES (September 18, 2018) – Today Film Independent announced the 15 projects and 28 filmmakers selected for the 16th annual Fast Track film finance market. Held during the LA Film Festival, Fast Track helps producer-director teams advance their projects through meetings with top industry executives – financiers, agents, managers, distributors, production companies, and granting organizations. During three days of intensive meetings, participants build vital industry relationships and gain valuable exposure for their projects as they fast track their films towards completion.

Film Independent continues to expand its support of the non-fiction filmmaking community and will hold a doc-focused track of the finance market where five selected feature documentary teams will meet with industry specifically working in the non-fiction space. In partnership with the International Documentary Association, Fast Track Doc Fellows will also participate in the Getting Real conference’s “Real Talks” industry meetings.

At the annual Film Independent Fellows and Alfred P. Sloan Reception on September 21, 2018, Film Independent will present three Sloan Foundation supported grants totaling $60,000 to film and television projects that explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways. The ninth annual Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant, a $20,000 production grant, will be awarded to writer/producer Jenny Halper and producer Kate Sharp for their fiction feature film Burning Season; the 12th annual Alfred P. Sloan Producers Grant, a $30,000 development grant, will be awarded to producer Clay Pruitt for his fiction feature Bell; and the second annual Alfred P. Sloan Episodic Lab Grant, a $10,000 development grant, will be awarded to Mirella Christou for her pilot Seven Eternities.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support filmmakers who look to science for inspiration. When artistic expression meets scientific inquiry, what emerges is great storytelling that explores in profound and nuanced ways what it means to be human,” said Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development. “Through this synergistic partnership with IDA’s Getting Real and by taking more documentary projects into Fast Track this year, we are continuing to expand Film Independent’s support for non-fiction filmmakers, adding to a robust slate of programs that include a Documentary Lab and Fiscal Sponsorship program.”

“We are delighted to continue our wonderful partnership with Film Independent in supporting a feature film production grant for Burning Season and development grants for the feature Bell and for the television series Seven Eternities,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “All three science-themed stories—about a mother-daughter relationship and endangered lemurs in Madagascar, a brilliant but flawed American inventor and the challenges of deafness and deaf culture, and the controversial science and heady days of psychedelic drugs the in the sixties—have come through our nationwide film pipeline and draw inspiration from the dramatic encounter between human beings and nature.”

A select list of Industry participants include: 30West, A24, Bunim-Murray, CAA, CNN, Cold Iron Pictures, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Duplass Productions, Fork Films, Fox Searchlight, Good Deed Entertainment, Hulu, ICM, Imperative Entertainment, LA Media Fund, Likely Story, Limelight, Netflix, Old Mill Ventures, Participant Media, Pastel, Pilgrim Media Group, Tango Entertainment, SingularDTV, UTA and Votiv.

Recent Fast Track projects completed include Bing Liu’s 2018 Sundance Jury Prize winning documentary Minding the Gap; Christina Choe’s 2018 Sundance Jury prize winning fiction feature Nancy; Nijla Mumin’s 2018 SXSW jury prize winning fiction feature JINN; Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award winning documentary United Skates and Lana Wilson’s 2018 Spirit Award nominated documentary The Departure. Additional projects supported through Fast Track include Chloé Zhao’s Spirit Award nominated debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s Emmy award winning documentary Thank You For Playing, Robbie Pickering’s Spirit Award-nominated Natural Selection; and Courtney Hunt’s Academy Award and Spirit Award-nominated Frozen River.

The following filmmakers have been selected to participate Film Independent’s 2018 Fast Track program:


2018 Fast Track Projects and Fellows


Belonging, fiction feature, Zoe Sua Cho – director, Simone Ling – producer

Two outcasts run away to Seoul hoping to belong.


Brooke & Sam, fiction feature, Ally Pankiw – writer/director, James Weyman, producer

Sam, a young stand-up comedian recovering from sexual assault PTSD, has to decide whether to join the search for Brooke, a missing teen she used to nanny.


The Burning Season, fiction feature, Jenny Halper writer/producer, Kate Sharp – producer

A primatologist takes her daughter to a remote region of Madagascar, where her determination to save endangered lemurs puts their relationship and safety at risk. Based on Laura van den Berg’s story.


Cowboys, fiction feature, Anna Kerrigan – writer/director, Anil Baral, producer

In rural Western Montana, a troubled but well-intentioned father tries to liberate his young transgender son by taking him to Canada.


Down with the King, fiction feature, Diego Ongaro – co-writer/director, Rob Cristiano – producer

Disenchanted with his own celebrity, a famous rapper unexpectedly retires to become a farmer. Unfortunately, escaping the urban world that made him isn’t so easy.


Hombrecito, fiction feature,Miguel Nuñez – writer/director, Roberto Fiesco – producer

A romantic little cowboy leads a peasant revolt to overthrow a ruthless cotton corporation.


I Was a Simple Man, fiction feature, Christopher Makoto Yogi – writer/director, Sarah S. Kim – producer

Like marionettes on a toy stage, the ghosts of an old man haunt the countryside in this tale of a Hawai‘I family facing the imminent death of their eldest.


Scenes from Our Marriage, fiction feature, Yolonda Ross – writer/director/producer

Co-stars Ela’ and Legbani wrestle with what it means to love and succeed as black artists in show business.


The Seahorse, fiction feature, Devon Kirkpatrick – writer/director, Steven J. Berger and Kimberly Parker – producers

Life after death takes on a whole new meaning for a genderqueer widow.


Toughest Mofo in Portland, Oregon, fiction feature, Ryan Velasquez – director

A hyper-belligerent teen, sent to live with his estranged brother in Portland, Oregon, struggles to cope with his best friend’s suicide and the very real possibility that he is losing his mind.



The Dilemma of Desire, documentary feature, Maria Finitzo – director/producer, Diane Quon – producer

The Dilemma of Desire explores the clash between the external power of gender politics and the equally powerful imperative of female sexual desire.


Flood, documentary feature, Katy Scoggin – producer/director/cinematographer

A filmmaker tries to fix her problems with her evangelical father in a screenplay with a happy ending. When her plan backfires, she quits writing lines and starts to listen.


God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno, documentary feature, Kristian Hill – director/editor/cinematographer, Jennifer Washington – writer/producer

Detroit’s real story of the unsung African American men who created techno music in the 1980s, and how the music business betrayed them.


Mayor, documentary feature, David Osit – director/producer/editor/cinematographer

With startling and unprecedented access, Mayor is a real-life political saga following a charismatic leader’s quixotic quest to build the city of the future, in a land paralyzed by its past.


Rebel Hearts, documentary feature, Pedro Kos – director, Kira Carstensen – producer, Judy Korin – producer

Rebel Hearts tells the story of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart who defied the all-powerful patriarchal institution of the Catholic Church in the 1960s causing ripple effects that reverberate to today.


Fast Track is supported by Film Independent Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, EFILM | Deluxe and National Endowment for the Arts.


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The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent. Showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, the Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. Presenting Media Sponsor is Los Angeles Times. Official Host Venue is ArcLight Cinemas. Platinum Sponsors are American Airlines, EFILM | Deluxe, HBO and TikTok. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Official Screening Partner is Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Festival Supporters are Directors Guild of America, eTech Rentals, Kona Productions, TREETI and Visit Seattle. Festival Affiliates are 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion, ATK Audiotek, Konsonant Music, SAGindie and Writers Guild of America West. Additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts. Stella Artois is the Official Beer. IMDbPro is the Official Industry Resource. CITI is the Official Credit Card. The LINE, NoMad Los Angeles and Freehand LA are the Official Hotel Partner. Essentia Water is the Official Water. Hillersden Estate Wines is the Official Wine. Getty Images is the Official Photographer.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Albina Oks, Director of Corporate Sponsorship, at or 323.556.9352.



The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education 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 and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, 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 with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop such film projects as Shawn Snyder’s To Dust, Ben Lewin’s The Catcher Was a Spy, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, and Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter. The Foundation has also supported theatrical documentaries such as the recently released Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr StoryParticle Fever, and Jacques Perrin’s Oceans.

The Foundation has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the National Theatre, as well as supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants have supported Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, recently at the National Theatre in London, Chiara Atik’s BUMP, Nick Payne’s Constellations, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. The Foundation’s book program includes early support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017 and the recipient of the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize at the San Francisco Film Society.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit