Film Independent has set the filmmakers and projects for its 2022 Documentary Lab. The list includes Alissa Figueroa (Breaking the Blue Wall, w/t), Shalon Buskirk and Drew Swedberg (In love, in memory), Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir (Land of Women), Kit Vincent and Ed Owles (Red Herring, w/t), Alix Blair, Lauren Kushner and Elise McCave (Untitled Helen Project) and Jonathan Olshefski and Elizabeth Day (Without Arrows).
The Lab is an intensive program that provides creative feedback to filmmakers currently in post on feature-length docs, advancing the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to professionals who can advise on both the craft and business of documentary filmmaking. Chris Shellen and Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol) and Anayansi Prado (Maid in America) will this year serve as its Lead Creative Mentors, with additional Lab Mentors and Guest Speakers to include Sara Dosa and Shane Boris (Fire of Love), Academy Award nominee Jessica Kingdon (Ascension), Matthew Radecki (Founder, Different By Design), Emmy-winning producer Ali Johnes, the Sundance Institute’s Carrie Lozano, Emmy nominated writer-editor Kathryn Robson (Circus of Books) and editor-writer Sara Newens (On the Record). The UCLA Doc Law Clinic is serving as industry partner for the Lab, which is also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“The films selected for this year’s Lab represent fierce, unapologetic storytelling,” said Lisa Hasko, Director of Artist Development. “From personal to political, and everywhere in between, these boundary-pushing filmmakers will move audiences in the most creative and immersive ways.”
Film Independent is the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, also promoting Artist Development through programs including Project Involve, additional Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting), Fast Track Finance Market and Fiscal Sponsorship, as well as through Grants and Awards that provide over one million dollars annually to visual storytellers. Notable projects previously supported by the Documentary Lab include Kingdom’s Ascension, Bing Liu and Diane Quon’s Minding the Gap, Sara Dosa and Shane Boris’ Seer and the Unseen, Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra’s A Suitable Girl, Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s United Skates, and Ann Kaneko and Jin Yoo-Kim’s Manzanar Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, which recently premiered on POV.
More information on the projects selected for the 2022 Documentary Lab can be found below.
Breaking the Blue Wall (working title)
Director/Producer: Alissa Figueroa
Logline: Two women from Baltimore City take on the Fraternal Order of Police and the politicians wary of crossing it as they push to repeal one of the oldest and strongest police shield laws in the country, Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.
In love, in memory
Directors: Shalon Buskirk and Drew Swedberg
Logline: In the wake of her son’s murder, Shalon Buskirk assembles intimate memories and intergenerational stories to reframe her loss within her city’s haunting legacy of displacement.
Land of Women
Director: Nada Riyadh
Director/Producer: Ayman El Amir
Logline: In a conservative village in south of Egypt, dominated by patriarchy and full of despair, a lively group of Coptic girls refuse the traditional roles forced upon them by forming an all-female street theatre troupe. A coming-of-age portrait of girls at the crossroads of their lives.
Red Herring (working title)
Director: Kit Vincent
Producer: Ed Owles
Logline: After a young filmmaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he enlists his family on an intimate and darkly humorous journey to help them come to terms with his illness.
Untitled Helen Project
Director: Alix Blair
Producer: Lauren Kushner
Producer: Elise McCave
Logline: For years, Helen balanced being a rebel and a politician’s wife. Now that her much older husband depends on her, she grapples with tension between love for her partner and herself.
Directors: Jonathan Olshefski and Elizabeth Day
Logline: Filmed with vérité intimacy over the course of twelve years (2011–2022), Without Arrows chronicles the choices, events and relationships that shape a Lakota family’s legacy.
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