Write at the heart of Sundance

Institute announces 12 projects which will benefit from yearly screenwriters lab.

by Amber Wilkinson

The Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for the annual January Screenwriters Lab, to be held January 12-17, 2007 at the Sundance Resort in Utah.

The lab is a five-day writer’s 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.

The projects selected for the programme will join an impressive line up of recent films that have benefited from the support of the Institute's film programmes, including Glasgow thriller Red Road and festival hits Half Nelson, Writscutters, A Love Story and Stephanie Daley.

The projects selected for the 2007 January Screenwriters Lab are:

Nir Bergman (writer/director - whose debut, Broken Wings won an Israeli Oscar in 2002), The Book of Internal Grammar (Israel): The story of 10-year-old Aaron, son of holocaust survivors, who struggles to cross the elusive boundary from childhood to maturity, in the Sixties, despite his body’s refusal to grow.

Maryam Keshavarz (writer/director, whose debut film The Colour Of Love played as several festivals worldwide), Circumstance (USA/Iran): The story of how a single event – a soldier’s death at the Iran/Iraq border – irrevocably connects the lives of four people across continents.

Sophie Barthes (French born writer/director, she has directed short film Happiness, which will screen at Sundance 2007), Cold Souls (USA): In the midst of an existential crisis, a famous American actor stumbles upon a Soul Storage, a private lab offering New Yorkers a relief from the burden of their souls.

Jorge Gaggero (writer/director, whose films include Live-In Maid), Dog Security(Argentina): In a society that fosters fear and paranoia, a family takes measures to protect their home only to find themselves mirroring the violence they were trying to escape.

David Riker (a New York writer/director currently living in Mexico, his debut feature La Ciudad won a number of awards), The Girl(USA): A young mother from South Texas is thrown into an unexpected and life-changing journey when her attempt to smuggle immigrants across the border goes terribly wrong.

Peter Craig (writer/director, whose short films include Nevel Is The Devil), Green(USA): Gil Green, whose only accomplishments in the past two decades are smoker's lung and an orange belt in karate, has his life completely disrupted by his presumed-dead brother, who returns home after a 19-year absence with some highly ambitious plans.

Patricia Benoit (Haitian-born writer/director whose previous work has included several documentaries about Haiti, including Courage And Pain), Haiti Cherie (USA/Haiti): Three refugees from Haiti start a new life in the United States, but shedding the past is impossible when it is marred by torture and violence.

Braden King (co-writer/director, whose previous work includes Dutch Harbour, Where The Sea Breaks Its Back and a screed of music videos) and Dani Valent (Aussie co-writer, chiefly known for her travel guidebooks), Here (USA): Real and imaginary landscapes merge as a solitary satellite mapping engineer charts the Armenian countryside with an expatriate art photographer revisiting her homeland.

John Leguizamo (writer/director and many time award winner), Jesse Sanchez: An Imperfect Life (USA): Adapted from Leguizamo’s solo stage show Sexaholic, this is a comedic portrait of a suicidal artist as he looks back at his life and tries to figure out where he went wrong.

Eric Lahey (writer/director, whose debut movie was The Century Plaza), Spoons (USA): The story of the relationship between a heroin addict and his young son; during a reunion after years of separation, the two men realize that no matter how far you move from the present, you never live that far away from the past.

Lara Foot Newton and Gerhard Marx (co-writers/co-directors, Newton comes from a theatre background and also directed short film And There In The Dust which she collaborated on with Marx, who also has a background in theatre), Tshepang (South Africa): A devastating portrayal of child abuse in rural South Africa.

Richard Montoya (writer with a theatre writing background, the theatrical version of Water & Power is an official submission for this year's Pullitzer Prize in drama), Water & Power (USA): Twin brothers nicknamed Water and Power from the Eastside streets of Los Angeles rise through the city’s political and police ranks to become players in a complex and dangerous web of Los Angeles’ powerful and corrupt.

Read more of our Sundance 2007 coverage.

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