A former Black Panther member and a teenage boxing champion are among the subjects of 10 docs chosen for Brooklyn-based non-profit group the Independent Filmmaker Project’s (IFP) year-long Doc Lab fellowships.
Launched in 2005, the fellowships – which also feature 10 narrative films – are a free program that supports first-time feature directors with projects in post-production as they complete, market and distribute their work. Fellows receive multiple levels of mentorship, and workshop leaders include composers, editors and experts on web presence, audience building, outreach, transmedia, sales and distribution.
The features must all be low-budget projects costing less than US$1 million.
Recent alumni of the program include Darius Clark Monroe, whose doc Evolution of a Criminal won the grand prize at the 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Gabriel London (The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest); and Sara Dosa (The Last Season).
This year’s docs include Woo Jung Cho’s The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, a portrait of a Korean artist; Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlein’s Mad Tiger, which looks at aging Japanese boy band members; David Romberg’s Man of the Monkey, in which the director revisits his hometown in Brazil; Sharon Shattuck’s Project Dad, which explores the director’s father’s coming out as transgender; and Jonathan Olshefski’s Quest: The Fury and the Sound, looking at a hip hop studio producer helping neighborhood artists with criminal records and drug addictions.
The remaining projects are Jason Zeldes’ Romeo is Bleeding, on California poet Donte Clark; Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s (T)error, which examines a 62-year-old former Black Panther turned counter-terrorism FBI informant; Zach Canepari’s T-Rex (pictured above), looking at a 17-year-old Michigan girl who becomes the first woman to win the middleweight gold medal in Olympic boxing; Jack Pettibone Riccobono’s The Seventh Fire, which is about an Ojibwe community in rural Minnesota; and Leah Wolchok’s Very Semi-Serious, covering cartoonists at The New Yorker.
“Getting accepted into the IFP Doc Lab and being a part of this supportive and challenging community changed our path and contextualized our entire finishing experience,” said alumnus Monroe in a statement.
“We were in a safe space where critical notes were positively received,” he added. “No corners would be cut. From editing to festivals, sales, distribution, and beyond, the entire team at IFP made sure that fellows left the lab with a complete understanding of what it means to finish and release an independent film in the current market.”