Sundance Institute unveils Producer Lab fellows

The Sundance Institute has named the participants in its weeklong Producers Lab and its Producers Summit, both of which take place digitally at Sundance Co//ab this year. Five fiction and five ...
July 22, 2021

The Sundance Institute has named the participants in its weeklong Producers Lab and its Producers Summit, both of which take place digitally at Sundance Co//ab this year.

Five fiction and five non-fiction producers, and their projects, were selected for the Producers Lab, while more than 50 industry leaders and 65 independent filmmakers will participate in the summit.  The labs support emerging independent producers by allowing fellows to work with advisors to deepen the creative potential of their projects, develop their creative instincts and evolve their storytelling, communication and problem-solving skills.

The fellows will continue on through the Producers Summit as well, and receive year-long mentorship, creative support and networking opportunities. The summit brings together different sectors of the industry including financiers, packaging agents, distributors, and domestic and international sales representatives with emerging and mid-career producers. At the event, they hold conversations around issues facing the field and producer sustainability. This year’s event includes curated talks, one-on-one meetings, roundtables and a keynote conversation with Hasan Minhaj about the role of bold, personal storytelling.

The Sundance Institute’s Producers Program, overall, champions current and emerging producers through a year-round series of labs, fellowships, grants and events.

The Producers Lab runs from July 25 to 29, while the Producers Summit lasts from Aug. 2 to 5.

This year’s nonfiction production advisors include Violeta Bava (Azor), Jannat Gargi (Vice Studios), Andrea Meditch (Fathom) and Tracy Rector (Nia Tero).

The fellows and projects selected for the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Producers Lab this year includes:

All That is Solid (Todo Lo Sólido) from producing fellow Joie Estrella Horwitz (Tender Crossings), who’s a co-founder of Bahia Colectiva. Her film is about an island sinking into the Caribbean Sea, and the construction of a nation and the burden of progress. This project received a development grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Commuted from producing fellow Darcy McKinnon (The Neutral Ground, A Fine Girl), who is a co-founder of All Y’All, the Southern Documentary Collective. Her film is about Danielle Metz, a woman whose triple life sentence was commuted, giving her the chance to regain the life and family she’d dreamed about in prison.

I Didn’t See You There from producing fellow Keith Wilson, a director, creative producer and visual artist whose work has been exhibited at festivals and museums around the world. Spurred by a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, the film follows a disabled filmmaker’s meditation on freakdom, visibility and the pursuit of individual agency.

Loyalty from producing fellow Razi Jafri (Hamtramck, USA), a documentary filmmaker and producer. His project is an all-access look inside the military and the fight for religious freedom led by three Muslim chaplains, exploring Muslim service members defending a country that does not always defend them.

Razing Liberty Square from producing fellow Ann Bennett (American Experience, Independent Lens, Dance in America), an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and producer. Her project covers climate gentrification in Miami as rising sea levels put a premium on elevated land.

The five feature film producer fellows selected by Sundance were Katie White, Deidre Backs, Duran Jones, Shao Min Chew Chia and Austin Sepulveda.

Projects invited to participate in the Producers Summit include the nonfiction features 8 Stories About My Hearing Loss (Chile), Bartolo (USA), Boycott (USA), Cult Foods Project (USA), Florence From Ohio (USA), Hakucha Munayta (Peru), Higher 15 (USA), La Bonga (Colombia), Untitled Prison Hunger Strike Film (USA), Untitled Vinay Shukla Project (India), and We Are Volcanoes (China).

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