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6 FILMMAKERS SELECTED FOR THE FILM INDEPENDENT 2017 PRODUCING LAB

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent
Tel: 310.432.1287 or [email protected]

Ryan Collins, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323.645.6800 or [email protected]

 

6 FILMMAKERS SELECTED FOR THE FILM INDEPENDENT 2017 PRODUCING LAB

$50,000 SLOAN DISTRIBUTION GRANT AWARDED TO THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PETER LIVOLSI AND
PRODUCED BY TARIK KARAM AND DANIELLE RENFREW BEHRENS

$30,000 SLOAN PRODUCERS GRANT AWARDED TO
ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN PRODUCED BY LENA VURMA

Los Angeles (October 24, 2017) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival, announced the producers selected for its 17th annual Producing Lab. This intensive program helps filmmakers develop skills as creative, independent producers.In the Lab, selected Fellows develop strategies and action plans for bringing their feature projects to fruition. The Lab also helps to further the careers of the Producing Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing.

“Creative Producers play such an integral role in the independent film landscape today but often remain the unsung heroes in an exceedingly challenging industry,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “Film Independent makes it a priority to champion and support independent producers and we are thrilled to welcome this exceptional group of visionary storytellers into the Lab. We are also very excited to welcome back past Producing Lab Fellows Rebecca Green, Jim Young and Steven Berger now as mentors to the next generation of creative producers. Thanks to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation we are able to award $110,000 annually to writers, directors and producers making compelling films and television series grounded in science.”

This year’s Producing Lab lead mentor is Rebecca Green (It Follows, I’ll See You in My Dreams). Additional Creative Advisors and Guest Speakers include: Steven J. Berger (The Feels, Inheritance), Amanda Marshall (Swiss Army Man, The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Hannah Minghella, President of TriStar Pictures, Jordana Mollick (Hello, My Name is Doris) and Jim Young (The Man Who Knew Infinity).

On October 20, 2017 at the annual Film Independent Forum, Film Independent awarded a total of $90,000 in grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A $10,000 development grant was awarded as part of Film Independent’s inaugural Episodic Lab to Michael Kogge, for his project Age of Reptiles. The 11th annual Sloan Producers Grant, a $30,000 production grant, was awarded to producer Lena Vurma for her feature film project Adventures of a Mathematician. Finally, the 3rd annual Sloan Distribution Grant, a $50,000 grant to help maximize the distribution for a film, was awarded to The House of Tomorrow written and directed by Peter Livolsi and produced by Tarik Karam and Danielle Renfew Behrens. The filmstars Ellen Burstyn, Nick Offerman, Asa Butterfield, Alex Wolff and Maude Apatow and will be released in early 2018. Film Independent also awards an annual $20,000 Sloan Grant through the Fast Track Finance Market during the LA Film Festival.

For the past 11 years Film Independent and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have worked hand in hand to increase public understanding of science and technology and challenge stereotypes of scientists, engineers and mathematicians through compelling artist-driven films made by new, independent voices. Past recipients of Film Independent’s Alfred P. Sloan Grants include the Spirit Award-nominated Valley of Saints; The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel, which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; and Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, which received Film Independent’s inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Distribution Grant.

Recent projects developed through the Producing Lab include Chloé Zhao’s Spirit Award Nominated Songs My Brothers Taught Me produced by Angela C. Lee and Mollye Asher; Clay Liford’s Slash produced by Brock Williams which premiered at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival; Joseph Wladyka’s Spirit Award nominated Manos Sucias produced by Elena Greenlee and Márcia Mayer and Sian Heder’s Tallulah produced by David Newsom, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Film Independent Artist Development promotes unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work through its Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Documentary, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting), Grants Program which awards over $800K annually to filmmakers, the Fast Track finance market, Fiscal Sponsorship and Project Involve, Film Independent’s signature diversity program, that this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

For more information on Film Independent Artist Development, please contact Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development, at 310 432 1275. Additional information and an application form can be found at filmindependent.org.

The 2017 Producing Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

The 2017 Producing Lab filmmakers and projects are:

Title: Adventures of a Mathematician
Producer: Lena Vurma
Logline: After immigrating to the US in the 1930s, gregarious Jewish mathematician Stan Ulam experiences the joy of love and discovery along with the pain of loss and homesickness, while playing a fundamental role in creating both the hydrogen bomb and the first computer.

Title: College Girl
Producer: Julie Hook
Logline: While attending a living skills program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a young woman with Down syndrome questions her place in the world in the face of impending motherhood.

Title: Death of Nintendo
Producer/Writer: Valerie Martinez
Logline: Set in 90′s suburban Manila, when video games were still a novelty, four 13-year-old friends take us on a journey through their colorful world where they face the horrors of pop-culture obsession, first loves and circumcision.

Title: Mickey and the Bear
Producer: Lizzie Shapiro
Logline: In rural Montana, teenager Mickey Peck must break out of her oppressive relationship with her unstable, veteran father in order to forge her own independent identity as a woman.

Title: Noor
Producer: Avril Z. Speaks
Logline: Caught in the throes of grief following her brother’s unsolved murder outside of a Brooklyn bodega, a black woman develops an unexpected physical connection to the Arab man who works there, causing their worlds to collide and forcing them to choose between passion and loyalty.

Title: The Strays
Producer: Liz Cardenas Franke
Logline: After being kicked out of her home and forced to survive on her own, a 15-year-old girl finds beauty in her harsh reality when she experiences her first love with her brother’s girlfriend.

 

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT

Film Independent is a nonprofit 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.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and 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 ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants 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.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about scientists, science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past 15 years, 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 Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed’s Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.

The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club, as well as supporting select productions across the country. Recent grants have supported Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, Nick Payne’s Incognito, Frank Basloe’s Please Continue, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, recently on London’s West End starring Nicole Kidman. 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, now the highest grossing Oscar nominated film of 2017 that was awarded the San Francisco Film Society Sloan Science in Cinema Prize in 2016.

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

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