By Lisa Lindo
Photo Credit: Sundance Institute, 2015
Participating independent screenwriters – drawn from around the world, including the United States, Latin America, Europe, China, and the Middle East – will have the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. The fellows work with a handpicked distinguished group of Creative Advisors at the Lab, led by Artistic Director Scott Frank, and including Naomi Foner, Rodrigo Garcia, Michael Goldenberg, John Lee Hancock, Erik Jendresen, Kasi Lemmons, Walter Mosley, Marti Noxon, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zach Sklar, Elena Soarez, Peter Straughan, Joan Tewkesbury, and Audrey Wells.
For the true cinegeeks out there, you can find detailed descriptions of those 12 lucky lumps of magical clay who made it in here.
Creative advisors help these merging directorial voices explore not only what they can do, but also what they didn't know about themselves, about their stories, about their craft. At the labs they focus on teaching the collective power of making film - working with your cinematographer, working with your lighting people, discussing options with costuming that can further the story, using sound to expand the persistent world you're creating. Getting a feature off the ground might be a heavy lift, but you can never forget, it's a group effort - each human element as integral to the story as the script, and each crew member a potential fountain of inspiration.
Sundance Labs' creative advisor Catherine Hardwicke tells us, "As a film director, you can plant the seed in their mind and, hopefully, they'll take it even further than you planned to take it. Hopefully, your prop person will come up with some cool thing, and it's gonna raise it to the next level," adding "Just raising the excellence of every scene, every costume, every actor to he highest possible evel, that's respecting the audience, respecting their time. If you're asking them to sit there and watch a 10-minute short, let's make every 10-minutes good, ya know, something they haven't seen before - insightful, shocking, crazy, funny."
Image Credits: Sundance Institute, 2015
SUNDANCE AND THE EPISODIC MEDIUM
Sundance lab participants started to express a desire to do more work, develop more projects, in an episodic form. As Sundance heard the call coming from filmmakers throughout the independent community, the Labs responded.
"This last year we extended our lab model to offer
interested artists in the independent community a chance
to develop episodic projects, and we had an incredible
outpouring of interest. Like Bob said, we have to listen to
where they want to go, to where the opportunities are to
tell multidimensional stories with great characters and
many of them were interested in how to builld skills for that form - episodics.
Michelle Satre did a great job with that lab. We had a great first lab."
~ Keri Putnam, Executive Director Sundance Institute
Robert Redford started in television, in live television in fact. He feels it gave him his foundation as an artist. He believes in the medium and that it's part of the fabric of storytelling in terms of film.