The Documentary Edit and Story Lab fellowship is designed to encourage experimentation and risk-taking, for the fellows to develop, interrogate and collaborate in post-production.
Sundance Institute has announced four independent nonfiction feature film projects and artist teams selected for the 2023 Documentary Edit and Story Lab taking place at the Sundance Resort until June 24.
The fellows include Blacked Out Dreams (USA), Concrete Land (Jordan), No Other Land (Palestine, Norway) and Remaining Native (USA).
The four artist teams will also work with four contributing editor fellows, Jessica Jones, Beth Kearsley, Claudia Ramirez, and Emily Yue, who attend the lab as part of a yearlong fellowship spotlighting emerging talents committed to the art and craft of editing nonfiction feature films. Contributing editor fellows receive a stipend, a dedicated mentor, and access to curated workshops and small gatherings throughout the fellowship year.
In addition to the four selected projects and contributing editor fellows, the lab will include artists-in-residence Damon Davis and Chris McNabb attending with their in-progress project, Chain of Rocks.
Run With It (USA), Slumlord Millionaire (USA), We Never Left (USA/Lebanon), and Worldmakers (tentatively titled) (USA) were four additional finalists that were also up for consideration.
Designed to encourage experimentation and risk-taking through peer-to-peer engagement, the weeklong convening creates a space for fellows to develop, interrogate, and collaborate on films in the later stages of post-production. Also announced are the 2023 Contributing Editor Fellows, four emerging editors who will kick off their fellowship at the lab as well as the 2023 Sundance Documentary Film Programme artists-in-residence.
The lab brings together director and editor teams from around the world with renowned documentary filmmakers who advise on the process of reimagining or reconceiving dramatic structures, exploring character and story development, and recentering their work around original motivations.
Documentary Film Programme Deputy Director Kristin Feeley said: “My team and I are humbled by the artists selected for this year’s lab. They are creating work with radical imagination, hope, and a thrilling sense of creative possibility. These essential stories from around the world share a strong sense of community and reflect the universal in the specific.”
The Documentary Edit and Story Lab director advisors are Laura Poitras (All the Beauty and the Bloodshed) and Bhawin Suchak (Outta The Muck), and the editor advisors are Andrea Chignoli (Circumstance), Steven Golliday (King in the Wilderness), Rabab Haj Yahya (Another Body), and Terra Long (Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project).
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Programme is made possible by founding support from the Open Society Foundations. Generous additional support is provided by John Templeton Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Luminate; Sandbox Films; The Kendeda Fund; The Asian American Foundation (TAAF); Gucci; CNN Films; Helen Gurley Brown Foundation; The Charles Engelhard Foundation; Genuine Article Pictures; Violet Spitzer-Lucas and the Spitzer Family Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman; Code Blue Foundation; EarthSense Foundation; Adobe; and two anonymous donors.
Blacked Out Dreams, by Adeleke Omitowoju, is a film about how rapid school closures and a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, force normal kids to live in very abnormal conditions. The film follows two siblings and their best friend over two years as they navigate toward graduating from the last remaining public high school in a city divided by race and plagued by poverty.
Concrete Land (Jordan), directed and produced by Asmahan Bkerat, provides an intimate look into the complex dynamics of a close-knit, three-generational Bedouin family and their beloved pet sheep, as they navigate their life under the increasing hostility they face from their non-nomadic neighbours and the constant threat of gentrification. Now, the life of the still-singing family is about to change.
No Other Land, by Yuval Abraham, follows Basel, a young Palestinian born to activist parents, who carry on their fight to save the villages of Masafer Yatta. During the darkest years of his life, as his community is slowly destroyed, he develops an unlikely, intimate friendship.
Remaining Native, directed by Paige Bethmann, examines Ku Stevens’s dreams of becoming an elite runner, but he struggles to balance the sport’s glorified individualism and the values of interconnectedness he was raised with on the reservation. When thousands of Native children’s remains are discovered, Ku reckons with his family’s dark past while running toward his future.