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2023 Sundance Institute Producers Lab and Intensive Fellows Announced


PARK CITY, UT, July 24, 2023 - The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced 10 producers selected to participate in the Producers Lab, taking place July 24-28 at Utah's Sundance Mountain Resort, as well as 11 producers for the fall Producers Intensive. The Producers Program champions and supports the current and rising generation of producers working across fiction and nonfiction film through robust, year-round programming that includes mentorship, granting, educational and professional development resources, community gatherings, and networking opportunities with the industry. The Producers Program reflects a long-standing commitment to increase support for independent producers.

The Producers Lab nurtures emerging fiction and nonfiction independent film producers with project-specific support through one-on-one meetings and intimate group sessions with veteran producer advisors to hone their creative instincts and problem-solving skills and to develop strategies for pitching, financing, production, navigating the marketplace, and sustainability. Selected for the Producers Lab are five fiction film and five nonfiction film producers and their projects. Fellows in the Feature Film Program include Pierre M. Coleman with Ricky, Julia Kennelly with Clare, Liz Lian with Skin, Valerie Castillo Martinez with Anita, and Cameron Morton with Lollygag. Fellows with documentary projects include Colleen Cassingham with Life After, Nicole Docta with The Dead Zone, Emma D. Miller with Untitled Mistress Dispeller Project, Jolene Pinder with Fun House, and Flor de oro Tejada with Wild Darlings Sing the Blues (And It's a Song of Freedom).

The 2023 Producers Lab Feature Film advisors are Nina Yang Bongiovi (Fruitvale Station), Neil Kopp (Showing Up), Jordana Mollick (Spoiler Alert), Elsa Ramo (Ramo Law PC, Joyland), and Anish Savjani (Showing Up). The 2023 Producers Lab Documentary Film advisors are Sabaah Folayan (Look at Me: XXXTentacion), Cristina Ibarra (The Infiltrators), Andrea Meditch (Fathom), Bob Moore (Midwives), and Diane Quon (Unseen).

As the media landscape evolves and often poses new challenges to creating bold, risk-taking work, we were humbled and inspired by the creative possibilities expressed by this year's projects and the determination and ingenuity of the producers behind them, said Producing and Artist Support Director Shira Rockowitz and Documentary Film Program Deputy Director Kristin Feeley. Their original work reflects the world we're living in and the world we want to see. The labs are a unique space for producers to interrogate their work, build community, hone leadership skills, and develop strategies to advance their current projects and build sustainable careers. Cultivating the next generation of bold, creative entrepreneurs is critical, and we're thrilled to welcome these independent filmmakers into the fold.

The third edition of the Producers Intensive provides early career rising producers from traditionally underrepresented communities the opportunity to enhance their craft in a two-day concentrated workshop by offering creative, strategic, and professional development support. The Producers Intensive will include six fiction film and five nonfiction film producers and their projects. Fellows with fiction projects include Alifya Ali and Samantha Skinner with '06-'07, Paula Gonz lez-Nasser with Saca Tu Lengua, Kyra Knox with South Side Girls, Xin Li with Santa Anita, and Tony Yang with Let The Sleepers Lie. Fellows with nonfiction projects include Karla Claudio-Betancourt with Matinin , Alan Dom nguez with Commerce City, Artemis Fannin with Untitled Epilepsy Documentary, Brit Fryer with Adam's Apple, and Chelsea Moore with Untitled Texas Doc.


Feature Film Program

Pierre M. Coleman with Ricky (U.S.A.): Newly released after being locked up in his teens, 30-year-old Ricky navigates the challenging realities of life post-incarceration and the complexity of gaining independence for the first time as an adult.

Pierre M. Coleman is a native of Newark, New Jersey. He received a degree in film production from Howard University's School of Communication. He has worked in production for over 15 years, with renowned companies including HBO, 20th Century Fox, BET, and Dreamworks. Pierre recently produced the short film Ricky (2023 Sundance Film Festival).

Julia Kennelly with Clare (U.S.A.): After the untimely death of her brother, high school senior Clare finds her life spiraling out of control as she grapples with her grief, the end of her longtime childhood friendship, and an emotionally dangerous relationship with her high school French teacher, Mrs. Larsson.

Julia Kennelly is a producer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her producing work includes The Neighbors' Window, which won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. Additional projects have played in competition at SXSW, Tribeca, Outfest, Aspen Shortsfest, and Palm Springs Shortfest, among others.

Liz Lian with Skin (U.S.A.): A body positivity influencer enters a desperate bid to save her self-loathing sister when the latter becomes a test subject for their aunt's plastic surgery and skin-lightening racket.

Liz Lian is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker from New Jersey. Her work includes the DGA Award-winning horror short Morse Code, the Sloan Foundation supported short Hot Air, and numerous branded content campaigns. She earned her MFA in film and television production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Valerie Castillo Martinez with Anita (India/U.S.A.): Desperate for a better life, ambitious Anita escapes her conservative town in India by orchestrating her own arranged marriage and moving to the U.S. But when her fierce pursuit of the American Dream threatens her marriage, she must con
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