Non-profit arts organization Film Independent has named the 12 filmmakers taking part in its upcoming documentary lab, which assists feature-length docs in post-production.
Taking part in the eight-week intensive program are Milena Pastreich, whose doc Birdmen focuses on inner-city men dedicated to pigeons; Heather Lenz’s KUSAMA: Princess of Polka Dots, on the journey of the troubled and brilliant Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama; Jillian Schlesinger and Emily McAllister’s Maidentrip, on the quest of a 14-year-old girl to become the youngest person to sail the globe solo; and Francesca Di Amico and Claudia Unger’s Mary Woronov, Cult Queen from Warhol to Corman, on the titular artist and actress.
Also selected for the Film Independent Doc Lab are Aaron Naar’s Mateo, on a man who wanted to be a pop star, landed in jail instead and left as a mariachi singer who fell in love with a Cuban prostitute; Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo’s Rich Hill, telling the story of four impoverished boys in a small Midwestern town; Joe Forte’s Storyteller: The Wonderful, Magical Life of the Man Who Saved Ben Hur, on a real life Forrest Gump; and Mina T. Son and Sara Newen’s Top Spin, on a group of American teenagers trying to claim Olympic glory in table tennis.
Lab Mentors include doc filmmakers Doug Blush (The Invisible War), Laura Gabbert (No Impact Man), Caroline Libresco (Sunset Story), Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol) and Ondi Timoner (We Live in Public), while guest speakers include Lucy Walker, Morgan Neville, marketing and distribution consultant Peter Broderick, Dan Cogan from Impact Partners, and entertainment attorney Michael Donaldson.
Fellows in the Documentary Lab will receive feedback and story notes, as well as strategy for the completion, distribution, and marketing of their films.
“There is so much great work being done by documentary filmmakers right now, and it’s exciting to see the projects coming out of our Lab being celebrated at festivals and beyond,” said Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent’s director of artist development.