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2015 FAST TRACK PROGRAM AND AWARDS $70K IN ALFRED P. SLOAN GRANTS
LOS ANGELES (June 16, 2015) – Today Film Independent announced the 10 projects selected for the 13th annual Fast Track film financing market. Held during the Los Angeles Film Festival, Fast Track is designed to help producer-director teams “fast track” their projects forward through sixty meetings with top industry executives–financiers, agents, managers, distributors, granting organizations, and production companies. During three days of intensive meetings, participants gain valuable exposure and build vital relationships as they propel their films towards completion.
Fast Track is supported by Film Independent Artist Development lead funder Time Warner Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, NEA Art Works, EFILM, Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, and Netflix.
“We are thrilled to bring this group of visionary filmmakers together with such esteemed industry executives at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival,” said Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development. “Our annual Fast Track finance market is a unique opportunity for filmmakers to gain critical support for their films, and for the executives to discover some of the outstanding talent that Film Independent curates and develops year-round through our Artist Development initiatives. This year’s projects are truly exceptional.”
At the annual Film Independent Fast Track Welcome Dinner, Film Independent presented two Alfred P. Sloan grants to support films that explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways. Film Independent’s inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Distribution Grant was awarded to Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, produced by Uri Singer, Fabio Golombek, Isen Robbins, and Aimee Schoof. The filmmakers will receive $50,000 in funds to support the release of the film. Experimenter premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Magnolia Pictures with a release planned for fall 2015.Additionally, the sixth annual Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant, a $20,000 production grant, was awarded to writer/director Elena Greenlee and producer Márcia Nunes for their narrative fiction film in development, Dark Forest.
“We are delighted to partner with Film Independent for the sixth year in a row with a $20k Fast Track production grant to Dark Forest, which explores the science of psychedelic drugs in the Amazon, and a first-ever $50k distribution grant to Experimenter, Michael Almereyda’s original, off-beat tale of the controversial social science researcher, Stanley Milgram, whose pioneering obedience experiments revealed a disturbing but abiding human truth,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Sloan Foundation. “Experimenter joins two other completed Sloan-FIND feature films that will be released in 2015, The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons and Basmati Blues with Brie Larson and Donald Southerland, showing the continuing popularity and diversity of films that engage with science and technology themes and characters, as well as the unprecedented success of the Sloan-FIND partnership.”
“We are so appreciative of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and their continued support of great independent filmmaking,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent President. “The new distribution grant is so exciting and provides support to filmmakers where it is critically needed.”
The following filmmakers have been selected to participate Film Independent’s 2015 Fast Track program:
2015 Fast Track Projects and Fellows
Title: A Paso de Mangles
Producer: Joseph La Morte
Co-Writer/Producer: Gloria La Morte
Co-Writer/Director: Paola Mendoza
Logline:A Paso de Mangles is the story of three women whose lives are caught in the crosshairs of the raging drug war in Colombia. Inspired by true events, these women’s interlocking stories celebrate the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of insurmountable odds.
Title: Dark Forest
Writer/Director: Elena Greenlee
Producer: Márcia Nunes
Logline:A hipster-millennial, equally versed in neuroscience and party drugs, steps out of her depth into the complex and psychedelic world of Amazonian shamanism.
Producer: Anil Baral
Logline:Based on the true story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the “crime of the century”, a family is torn apart when a young couple is accused of stealing the secret to the atomic bomb.
Title: First Match
Producer: Chanelle Elaine
Producer: Veronica Nickel
Logline:Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, decides that joining the all-boys high school wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father.
Title: Give Me Liberty
Writer/Producer: Alice Austen
Writer/Producer/Director: Kirill Mikhanovsky
Logline: In this raw dark comedy set in Milwaukee, a naïve immigrant teams up with a Russian thug, breaks the law to save his Alzheimer’s stricken Grandpa, forms deep bonds with a diverse group of iconic under-class characters, and finds love in the unlikeliest of places.
Title: Last Call (documentary)
Director/Producer: Lana Wilson
Logline:A remarkable Japanese Buddhist priest uses a range of unorthodox methods to help desperate men and women re-discover the will to live. But when a health crisis puts him at serious risk, can he live by the same advice he gives out?
Title: Millie to the Moon
Producer: Alexandra Johnes
Director: Jen McGowan
Logline:Millie To The Moon is a comedy about a sarcastic young woman named Millie who, while being displaced from her role as caregiver to her autistic brother and ailing mother, pursues new interests: outer space tourism and her male co-worker.
Title: Shot in the Dark (documentary)
Producer: Daniel Patrick Dewes
Producer: Derek Doneen
Director: Dustin Nakao Haider
Logline:For the players on Orr Academy’s basketball team, the court is a haven. Outside, it’s the Westside – a neighborhood racked with gangs, gun trafficking, and violence. Within those walls, each player has his own struggle. But they’ll need to fight together if they ever want to break out.
Title: The Bad Kids (documentary)
Director/Producer: Keith Fulton
Producer: Molly O’Brien
Director: Lou Pepe
Logline:At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age story watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called “bad kids.”
Title: Wild Nights
Producer: Megan Gilbride
Director: Kyle Henry
Logline:In Wild Nights, a young Emily Dickinson falls dangerously in love, only to discover her beloved older brother, Austin, has fallen for the same mysterious woman. As her youthful ideals collide with reality, she learns the meaning of love, loss, independence, and compromise.
Current industry participants include: Alchemy, Amasia Entertainment, Amazon Studios, And So It Begins Entertainment, Apex Entertainment, Black Label, Bloom Project, Broad Green, CAA, Canana, CBS Films, Chicken & Egg/Gamechanger, Cinedigm, CNN Films, Cold Iron Pictures, Dreambridge Capital, Electric City Entertainment, Electric Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment, Europacorp., Film Finances, Inc., Fluency Studios, Fortitude Int’l/BiFrost, Fox Digital, Fox International Channels, Fox Searchlight, Haven, Heidi Levitt Casting, ICM, Indian Paintbrush, Joanna Colbert Casting, Junto Box Films, Loeb & Loeb, Los Angeles Film Festival, Los Angeles Media Fund, Mosaic, Participant Media, Playback Motion Pictures. Preferred Content, Radiant Films, Rhino Films, River Road, Roadside Attractions, San Francisco Film Society Filmmaker360, Sandbar Pictures, Shoreline Entertainment, Slated, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Straight Up Films, Sundance Documentary Fund, Sundance Institute, Super Crispy Films, The Film Collaborative, Treehouse Pictures, UTA, Vega Baby, Voltage Pictures, WME, and XYZ Films.
Previous Fast Track projects that have been completed and released include Chloe Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which premiered in U.S. Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Director’s Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival; Out in the Night directed by blair dorosh-walther and The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest directed by Gabriel London which both premiered at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival; Kyle Patrick Alvarez and Cookie Carosella’s C.O.G., which premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically; Robbie Pickering’s Spirit Award-nominated Natural Selection; Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez’s BURN, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival; Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s Call Me Kuchu, which premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival; Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka, which was nominated for three Film Independent Spirit Awards in 2010; Courtney Hunt’s Academy Award and Spirit Award-nominated Frozen River; Jennifer Westfeldt’s Ira and Abby; Jessica Sanders’ award-winning documentary After Innocence; Scott Prendergast’s Kabluey, starring Lisa Kudrow and Teri Garr; and many more.
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film 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. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and 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 filmindependent.org.
ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
The Los Angeles Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of 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 our City of Angels and around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum®, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks, LA Muse and more. The Festival also screens short films created by high school students and a special section devoted to expanded storytelling across the web, TV and gaming. The Los Angeles Film Festival is presented in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times. The Official Host Venue is Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14. The Premier Sponsor is Southern California BMW Centers and the Principal Sponsor is Jaeger-LeCoultre. Platinum Sponsors include American Airlines, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., and EFILM | Company 3. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Peroni Nastro Azzurro is the Official Beer Sponsor. Sauza 901 Tequila is the Official Spirits Sponsor. The Los Angeles Athletic Club is the Official Host Hotel. WireImage is the Official Photography Agency. More information can be found at lafilmfest.com.