Sundance Institute Reveals Producers Lab, Producers Summit Participants

The Sundance Institute has unveiled the producers and the projects selected for this summer’s Producers Lab and Producers Summit. Taking place July 25-28 and July 29-31, respectively, the events are being held in person at Utah’s Sundance Mountain Resort. The Producers Lab will feature six fiction films’ and five nonfiction films’ producers and their projects while the summit will host 40 industry insiders and 26 indie filmmakers.

Advisors for the feature film program include David Hinojosa (Zola, Bodies Bodies Bodies), Amy Lo (Nancy, Sugar), Riva Marker (The Guilty, Relic), Josh Penn (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Jason Michael Berman (Nine Days, Uncorked) while the documentary film program features Daffodil Altan (PBS’ Frontline), Violet Feng (Hidden Letters, Tigre Gente), Andrea Meditch (Ernie & Joe, Fathom), Bob Moore (Midwives, Softie) and Amanda Spain (MSNBC Films).

Industry participants in this year’s summit include Maria Altamirano (Son of Monarchs), Maggie Bowman (Indie Media Arts Group), Josh Braun (Submarine Entertainment), Gabby Canton (Orion Pictures), Liz Cardenas (7 Days), Deniese Davis (Reform Media Group), Scott Foundas (Amazon Studios), Jannat Gargi (Westbrook Inc), Emilie Georges (Paradise City Films), Anna Godas (Dogwoof), Wyck Godfrey (Temple Hill Entertainment), Elizabeth Grave (Sony Stage 6 Films), Eliza Hajek (SAGindie), Poppy Hanks (MACRO), Alex Hannibal (CNN Films), Jessica Harrop (Sandbox Films), Kevin Iwashina (Endeavor Content), Sarah Kim (I Was a Simple Man), Jessica Lacy (Sales Agent), Dylan Leiner (Sony Pictures Classics), Anjanette Levert (The Only Doctor), Amira Lewally (A&E Indie Films), Maida Lynn (Genuine Article Pictures), David Magdael (David Magdael & Associates), Michelle Momplaisir (Focus Features), Lisa Nishimura (Netflix), Brianna Oh (Amazon Studios), Tommy Oliver (Confluential Films), Beth Osisek (Hulu), Chan Phung (Searchlight Pictures), Jason Ropell (MUBI), Mikey Schwartz-Wright (UTA), John Sloss (Cinetic Media), Avril Speaks (Distribution Advocates), Scott Shooman (IFC Films), Rory Thost (Participant Media), Lois Vossen (ITVS), Jason Wald (NEON) and Alex Walton (WME Entertainment).

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“It has been three years since we have been able to gather in person, and over this time, the landscape for independent storytelling has shifted dramatically. It’s never been more critical to work to create a sustainable future for independent producers, a key priority for the Lab and Summit,” said producing and artist support director Shira Rockowitz and documentary film program deputy director Kristin Feeley in a joint statement. “The Producers Summit is a unique space that brings together producers and industry to advance bold, independent projects and address timely questions and issues in the field.”

The list of fellows and their projects is below.

Feature Film Program

The Rotting Of Casey Culpepper (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Apoorva Guru Charan (Joyland)
Logline: A young girl battling leukemia and her single father fall into a well of paranoia when she experiences visions of a tumor-covered creature.

The President’s Cake (Iraq, U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow and Mark Silverman Honoree: Leah Chen Baker (Palm Trees And Power Lines)
While people struggle daily to survive under sanctions in Saddam’s Iraq, nine-year-old Saeed must use his wits to gather ingredients for the mandatory cake to celebrate President Saddam Hussein’s birthday or face the consequences – prison or death.

Starfuckers (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Eli Raskin (Coded, Beast Beast and Union County)
A high-end rentboy living an insular life in the Hollywood Hills becomes obsessed with a mysterious star of the underground drag scene. His identity is called into question and life begins to unravel as he discovers the true objective of his new friend.

Sales Per Hour (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Chloe Sabin (The Surrogate)
A top sales associate at a luxury clothing store in New York City becomes engulfed in a case brought against her company for housing an assault that happened inside of a dressing room, under her watch.

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Huella (U.S.A. / Dominican Republic)
Producing Fellows: Helena Sardinha (co-founder of Driven Equation) and Doménica Castro (co-founder of 271 Films)
A Dominican flamenco dancer prepares for a life-changing audition in NYC when she receives news that her grandmother passed. By abstaining from a family religious tradition, she unleashes a generational curse tracing back to her indigenous roots. Forced to confront the past, she will chase her future, at a cost.

Documentary Film Program

Untitled Dwarfism Project (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Lindsey Dryden (Trans In America, Unrest)
There’s a new drug on the horizon that promises to make Little People taller—and it’s threatening the very community it claims to serve. As Little People grapple with their uncertain future, director Julie Wyman confronts her own complicated diagnosis of dwarfism. At the heart of the film lies the question: if you could give up the qualities that make you different, would you? And at what cost?

Untitled Sura Mallouh Project (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Yoni Golijov (Terror Contagion)
Two friends uncover a conflict that divides their already embattled community. Told from all sides, with unprecedented access to courtrooms, anonymous sources and community leaders, this observational film unfolds in real time.

Untitled Baltimore Project (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Dawne Langford (Check It, Kandahar Journals and Finding Joseph I)
The Untitled Baltimore Documentary Project pulls back the curtain on local American politics during an unprecedented moment when the City of Baltimore and the United States is in the midst of a fight over justice and equity.

Bartolo (U.S.A.)
Producing Fellow: Neyda Martinez (Bartolo, A Chasm in Chinatown and The People vs. Austerity)
The lives of two women intersect through crisis after disasters due to climate change and government neglect decimate the impoverished mountainsides of western Puerto Rico. In the face of housing insecurity and economic inequality, will Jeanette and her community commit to Elisa’s nation-building activism to forge a new way forward?

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Queendom (U.S.A. / France)
Producing Fellow: Igor Myakotin (Welcome to Chechnya)
Gena, a queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes and parades around Moscow to protest the government. It becomes a movement with a million followers she calls “drag activism” until she’s arrested and threatened to flee.

The participants in the Producers Summit are below.

Fiction Features

Jade Jackson with Losa; Lauren Lopez de Victoria with Forward; Fox Maxy with Water Tight; Albert Tholen and Aiko Masubuchi with Earthquake; and Séverine Tibi with Birthday.

Nonfiction Features

Jude Chehab with Q; Amber Espinosa-Jones with Standing Above the Clouds; Jamie Gonçalves with The Monster and the Storm; Maliyamungu Muhande with Nine Days a Week; Julia Solomonoff with The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer; Jacob Thomas with Deep Taxonomy Documentary Project.

The Producers Program supports the current and next generation of narrative and nonfiction producers and features year-round mentorship, granting, educational resources, strategic introductions and networking opportunities. The program itself is supported by an endowment from the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation with support from Amazon Studios, Cinereach and SAGindie.