The Sundance Institute has selected 11 projects for the annual Screenwriters Lab, which takes place January 4-9 at the Sundance Village in Utah. The Lab offers participating writers the opportunity to develop their work-in-progress screenplays in a community of accomplished screenwriters.
The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer’s workshop providing emerging artists with the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established screenwriters. Participating writers have problem-solving story sessions with creative advisors, engaging in individual dialogues that combine life lessons in craft with practical suggestions to be explored in future drafts. These sessions encourage and embrace the vision of the writer/filmmaker and help them get to the most compelling version of the story they want to tell.
Participating writers have the opportunity to work under the guidance of an extraordinary group of screenwriters, including Alice Arlen, Robert Caswell, Carol Doyle, Tony Drazan, Naomi Foner, Todd Graff, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Becky Johnston, John Ridley, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zachary Sklar, David Veloz, and Audrey Wells.
“As we begin the next decade, we look to the vision of independent filmmakers to challenge, define, and bear witness to the world we live in,” said Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. “We are thrilled by the scope and diversity of the projects selected for our 2002 Lab, and believe that they will provide significant insight and new perspectives to audiences worldwide.”
The participants and projects selected for the 2002 January Screenwriters Lab are:
Karatechamp (writer/director), 1985: Karatechamp’s (non-status Dene from Alberta, Canada) first feature film, Deep Inside Clint Star, a documentary about Aboriginal sexuality, screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. The film went on to win the Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy) for Best Social/Political Documentary. Other credits include Lost Songs, a documentary short directed for the National Film Board of Canada; the short drama My Cousin Albert (A Portrait in Shades of Black); and Miss 501 (A Portrait of Luck), which is premiering at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. 1985, Karatechamp’s first dramatic feature, is a dark journey into the collective mind of an aboriginal gang hustling the cold urban streets of the not-too-distant future.
Erik Weiner and Jordan Allen-Dutton (co-creators/co-writers), THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS: Erik Weiner attended the Experimental Theatre Wing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has appeared on The Sopranos, The $treet, and 100 Centre Street, and will make his feature film debut in the upcoming Fox Searchlight film Brown Sugar. Jordan Allen-Dutton, also a graduate of the Experimental Theatre Wing, lives in Brooklyn where he writes, acts and directs. His writing for the stage includes Joinsolitude, Mudswallow, and Hit the Deck, and he is currently at work on the screenplay Junkie.
Together, G.Q. (What’s the Worst That Could Happen, On the Line, Drum Line), Jason Catalano, Erik Weiner, Jordan Allen-Dutton, J.A.Q. (composer of all Bomb-itty music and the Ringmaster of the Circus), and director Andy Goldberg created and developed the hit show The Bomb-itty of Errors. Billed as “an ad-rap-tation of Willy Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors,” the show was developed as GQ’s independent project when the members of the group were all students at the Experimental Theatre Wing of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The raucous hip-hop retelling explodes with clever, outrageous rap lyrics and jaw-droppingly energetic performances. The show ran for seven months off-Broadway to rave reviews and was nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Bomb-itty then went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Theatre Show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Following Aspen, Bomb-itty ran at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago for four sold-out months and received the prestigious Jeff Award for Best Touring Production.
Anna Kang (writer/director), THE CHUNGS: THE LOST TRIBE OF LONG ISLAND: Anna Kang, a native New Yorker, was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island. Set on pursuing a career in the Foreign Service, Kang graduated from Tufts University with a degree in International Relations and Asian Studies. She went on to work at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she edited and coordinated the production of several publications, including “The Asia Project,” a two-year study of the impact of the economic boom in Asia on U.S. policy. The project culminated in a trip to Asia, where Kang served as an aide to former U.S. Cabinet members, including the former Secretaries of Defense and the Treasury. Despite the allure of the world of international policy, Kang returned to her first love and received her MFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television. Kang recently directed the short documentary Not Black or White, an irreverent look at media stereotypes of Asian women. In The Chungs: The Lost Tribe of Long Island, after a move to suburban Long Island, 12-year-old Mary Chung abandons her family’s traditional Korean culture for a far more alluring and exotic way of life – Judaism.
Mark Bomback (writer/director), DISTURBING THE PEACE: Raised in New Rochelle, New York, Mark Bomback studied English Literature and Film Studies at Wesleyan University, where he graduated with departmental honors for his short film The Quiet Game. Bomback currently resides in Los Angeles, where he has been developing a variety of screenplays for several studios. Adapted from Richard Yates’ novel, Disturbing the Peace tells the story of an ordinary suburbanite convinced he is worthy of an extraordinary life, and the rash choices he makes in the hopes of attaining it.
Joshua Marston (writer/director), MARIA FULL OF GRACE: Joshua Marston, a New York-based filmmaker, received his MFA in Film Production from New York University and his MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago. His short films include Voice of an Angel, which screened at the Telluride, Nantucket, New Orleans, and Mill Valley film festivals; Bus to Queens, which screened at over two dozen film festivals and received the Aperture First-Time Filmmakers Award; and Trifecta, for which he received a Student Academy Award nomination. Marston has been granted writing residencies at the colonies of MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Djerassi, and recently received a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for his narrative and documentary film work. In the summer of 2001, he completed a directing internship at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Maria Full of Grace is the story of a defiant 17-year-old Colombian girl who undergoes a harrowing coming-of-age when she naively agrees to swallow heroin and transport it to the United States.
Michael Kang (writer/director), THE MOTEL: After graduating from New York University’s Dramatic Writing Program, Michael Kang pursued his dream of becoming a director by teaching himself how to make films. His short films include A Waiter Tomorrow, recipient of the FilmCore Post Production Grant, and Japanese Cowboy, co-recipient of the Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant. Kang is also the director of a documentary series on bike messengers and The 2000 Cycle Messenger World Championships for www.EVEOfilms.com. Currently, he is in post-production on a documentary about the Slant Performance Group entitled Big Dicks, Asian Men. Kang recently mounted a multimedia video installation for the play Division of Memory in collaboration with director Clarinda Maclow at P.S. 122 in New York City. In addition, he is an actor and performance artist; most recently, he co-starred as the delivery guy alongside playwright David Henry Hwang in the Atom Films favorite Asian Pride Porn. The Motel: Everything changes for 13-year-old Ernest Chin, a fat Chinese kid working in his family’s sleazy motel, when the troubled Sam Kim checks in and decides to take him through life’s rites of passage, all in one night.
Laurence Coriat (writer), PANIC BEACH: Laurence Coriat’s most recent work is Sandra Goldbacher’s Me Without You, an official selection for the 2001 Venice Film Festival. Her previous screenplays include Wonderland, directed by Michael Winterbottom, which was nominated for a BAFTA Alexander Korda Award and won the Best British Film award at the 1999 British Independent Film Awards. Other work includes Riviera, to be directed by Marc Evans, and Purrl, to be directed by Carine Adler. Panic Beach will mark the feature directorial debut of Tom Shankland. Panic Beach chronicles the unsettling emotional journey of a 17-year-old girl who, faced with her father’s suicide, embarks upon a hedonistic trip abroad in search of oblivion and the courage to face her own demons.
Yaphet Smith (writer/director), THE SUPERMARVELOUS: Born in Mississippi and raised in Austin, Texas, Yaphet Smith attended Georgetown University and New York University’s School of Law. He now lives in Northern California where, until recently, he practiced intellectual property law. While in law school, Smith initiated and self-financed a study of innovation in the film industry, then wrote and issued the 80-page “NYU Black Film Report” recommending business strategies to help African-Americans establish a sustained presence in the industry. In the summer of 2001, Smith began shooting his first documentary, Dots & Dashes: The Artist L.V. The film examines the use of imagination by artist and family friend L.V. Hull in her efforts to cope with the loss of her infant son. Smith has been nominated for several screenwriting awards and won the 2001 Pipedream Script Award at the IFP Market. In The Supermarvelous, a historic series of abductions and murders compel an irrepressible 12-year-old boy to seek the courage to pursue love and resurrect faith.
Jodi Gibson (writer/director), THE SUPREME BELIEF IN LADY LUCK: Jodi Gibson received her MFA in Film Production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her most recent short film, Friday, had its premiere at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, where it received an honorable mention. Friday went on to screen at festivals worldwide and will soon be aired on the Independent Film Channel. The Supreme Belief in Lady Luck is an intimate look into the lives of several Atlantic City residents that examines how living and working in a town dominated by gambling impacts their lives.
Doug Sadler (writer/director), SWIMMERS: Doug Sadler was born in New Orleans and raised on a horse farm in rural Louisiana, until his parents sold everything and moved the family onto a sailboat to travel the Caribbean. He eventually settled in Maryland and went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University, study acting at the American Conservatory Theatre, and receive his MFA from the American Film Institute. In 1994, Sadler founded The Oregon Lab, a multi-disciplinary creative retreat that meets once a year to engage in exploratory and experimental work. He has worked as a writer, director and actor in theatre and film in Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Maryland, where he now lives. Sadler’s first feature, Riders, premiered to strong reviews at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2001. Swimmers: In a small Maryland fishing town, a young girl forms an intense friendship and begins to question the nature of the adults around her, discovering that sometimes, suddenly, life can never be the same.
Yesim Ustaoglu (writer/director), WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS: Yesim Ustaoglu received international recognition for her 1999 film Journey to the Sun, which received the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film and the Peace Prize at the Berlin Film Festival. The moving story of a courageous friendship undaunted by political cruelty, Journey to the Sun swept the Istanbul Festival by winning Best Film, Best Director, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Audience Award. Ustaoglu began her career with several award-winning short films, and made her feature film debut with 1994’s The Trace (IZ). The film was presented at numerous international venues, including Moscow and Gotenburg. Waiting for the Clouds is the story of a woman forced to live for 50 years with the haunting secrets of a hidden identity.
Sundance Labs have launched many signature independent voices, most recently John Cameron Mitchell with HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, Patrick Stettner with THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS, Dan Minahan with SERIES 7, Darren Aronofsky with REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter with LIFT, Josh and Jacob Kornbluth with HAIKU TUNNEL, and Cory McAbee with THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT. Over the years, the program has supported Kimberly Peirce’s BOYS DON’T CRY, Gina Prince Bythewood’s LOVE AND BASKETBALL, Rodrigo Garcia’s THINGS YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER, Tony Bui’s THREE SEASONS, Walter Salles’ CENTRAL STATION, Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexie’s SMOKE SIGNALS, Paul Thomas Anderson’s HARD EIGHT, Tamara Jenkins’ SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS, and Quentin Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS.
The 2002 Sundance Film Festival will feature premieres of four Sundance Lab alumni projects, including THE LARAMIE PROJECT by Moisés Kaufman, THE SLAUGHTER RULE by Alex and Andrew Smith, LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONEY by Peter Mattei, and TEKNOLUST by Lynn Hershman-Leeson. Lab alumni currently in post-production on projects developed at the Labs include David Gordon Green with ALL THE REAL GIRLS, Lisa Cholodenko with LAUREL CANYON, and Peter Sollett’s untitled feature debut.
The January Screenwriters Lab is part of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, a year-round series of workshops and events.
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