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Sundance Institute Announces Projects For Screenwriters Lab

Twelve feature film projects selected for the annual Screenwriters Lab By Gregg Schwenk

Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for the annual Screenwriters Lab, which takes place January 13 through 18 at the Sundance Resort in Utah. The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writers workshop that gives independent screenwriters 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. Individual story sessions bring participating screenwriters together with creative advisors for problem-solving discussions.

Projects invited to participate in the January Lab are:

A BREATH AWAY/ Kit Hui (writer/director), U.S.A./China;

THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN OF JENNY CHOW / Rolin Jones (writer/director), U.S.A.;

LAKE TAHOE / Fernando Eimbcke (co-writer/director) and Paula Markovitch (co-writer), Mexico;

MY HABIBI / Kirsten Johnson (writer/director), U.S.A;

THE RADIOACTIVE BOY SCOUT / Greg Harrison (writer/director), U.S.A.;

SIN NOMBRE / Cary Fukunaga (writer/director), U.S.A.;

THE STRENGTH OF WATER / Briar Grace-Smith (writer) and Armagan Ballantyne (director), New Zealand;

TREELESS MOUNTAIN / So Yong Kim (writer/director), U.S.A./Korea;

UNCLOUDY DAY / Milford Thomas (co-writer/director), U.S.A.;

WARM / Carter Smith (co-writer/director), U.S.A.;

YELLING TO THE SKY / Victoria Mahoney (writer/director), U.S.A.; and

ZION AND HIS BROTHER / Eran Merav (writer/director), Israel.

Participating screenwriters will work with an extraordinary group of creative advisors, including Artistic Director Todd Graff, Allison Anders, John August, Anthony Drazan, Naomi Foner-Gyllenhaal, John Lee Hancock, Erik Jendresen, Douglas McGrath, Christopher McQuarrie, Walter Mosley, Ron Nyswaner, Frank Pierson, Jeremy Pikser, Daniel Pyne, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday and Zachary Sklar.

?The search for human connection and family are themes explored with humor, pathos, and originality in many of the projects at the January 2006 Screenwriters Lab, said Michelle Satter, Director of Sundance Institutes Feature Film Program. ?Along with outstanding work from the United States, we are very pleased to be including exciting new independent voices from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. The January Lab is the first component of Sundance's long-term commitment to these projects, which we have every hope will become distinctive and memorable films.

The projects selected for development at this Lab join a growing list of independent films supported in their development by the Institutes Feature Film Program, including Miranda Julys ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, Hany Abu-Assads PARADISE NOW, Debra Graniks DOWN TO THE BONE, Ira Sachs FORTY SHADES OF BLUE, Josh Marstons MARIA FULL OF GRACE, Peter Solletts RAISING VICTOR VARGAS,

John Cameron Mitchells HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, Darren Aronofskys

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, Kimberly Peirces BOYS DONT CRY, Tony Buis THREE SEASONS, Walter Salles

CENTRAL STATION, Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexies SMOKE SIGNALS, Paul Thomas Andersons HARD EIGHT, Tamara Jenkins SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS, and Quentin Tarantinos RESERVOIR DOGS, among many others.

Seven films recently supported by the Feature Film Program will premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. These include: A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS (Dramatic Competition), written and directed by Dito Montiel; HALF NELSON (Dramatic Competition), co-written by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and directed by Ryan Fleck; SHERRYBABY (Dramatic Competition), written and directed by Laurie Collyer; STEPHANIE DALEY (Dramatic Competition), written and directed by Hilary Brougher; WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY (Dramatic Competition), written and directed by Goran Dukic; WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN (Frontier), written and directed by Cam Archer; and HOUSE OF SAND (World Cinema Competition: Dramatic), written and directed by Andrucha Waddington.

The participants and projects selected for the 2006 January Screenwriters Lab are:

Kit Hui (writer/director), U.S.A./China, A BREATH AWAY: As Typhoon Ellen approaches Hong Kong, the residents of a high-rise apartment complex struggle with their individual emotional demons, not realizing they are connected by more than the increasing swarms of flies invading their homes.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Kit Hui emigrated to the United States at age 16. She received her MFA from Columbia Universitys Graduate Film Program. Her short film MISSING screened at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, and her short film A RAINY DAY won the top prize at the China-American Film Festival.

Rolin Jones (writer/director), U.S.A., THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN OF JENNY CHOW: Jennifer Marcus is just an average girl who re-engineers obsolete missile components for the U.S. Army from her bedroom computer. When she decides to meet her birth mother in China, she uses her technological genius to devise a new form of human contact.

Rolin Jones play THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN OF JENNY CHOW has been produced at South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory, Old Globe Theatre, and the Atlantic Theater Company in New York. He was the 2005 NEA/TCG playwright-in-residence at Yale Repertory Theatre, and currently writes for the Showtime original series WEEDS.

Fernando Eimbcke (co-writer/director) and Paula Markovitch (co-writer), Mexico, LAKE TAHOE: Thirteen-year-old Juan is obsessed with repairing the car he has just crashed, his late fathers final gift to him. As he wanders the city searching for parts, Juan transitions from childhood to adulthood in one day.

After directing numerous music videos, Fernando Eimbcke wrote and directed his first feature film TEMPORADA DE PATOS (DUCK SEASON), which won the FIPRESCI Award and participated at the 43rd Semaine International de la Critique at Cannes (2004). The film is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (Best Foreign Film) and is slated for a 2006 U.S. release by Warner Independent.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Paula Markovitchs has been involved with a number of films including TEMPORADA DE PATOS (DUCK SEASON) (co-writer), SIN REMITENTE (story credit), and ELISA ANTES DEL FIN DEL MUNDO. As a director, Markovitch has written and directed the short films PERRIFERICO and AMULANCE MUSIC.

Kirsten Johnson (writer/director), U.S.A., MY HABIBI: In post-9/11 New York, a Moroccan immigrant finds his reckless past catching up with him just as he is falling in love with an American photographer, forcing each of them to choose whom they must betray.

Kirsten Johnsons most recent film, DEADLINE, (co-directed with Katy Chevigny), premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast on NBC, and is the winner of a Thurgood Marshall Award. Her cinematography is featured in FARENHEIT 9/11, the Academy Award-nominated ASYLUM, and the Sundance Film Festival documentaries AMERICAN STANDOFF, TWO TOWNS OF JASPER, and DERRIDA.

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Related Keywords:Sundance Institute, Screenwriters, Screenwriters Lab, Sundance Film Festival,

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