Sundance Institute Announces 2024 Producers Lab Fellows

Sundance Institute Announces 2024 Producers Lab Fellows

PARK CITY, UTAH, June 10, 2024 — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced the 10 producers selected to participate in its annual Producers Lab, being held June 10–22 for the first time at Ucross Foundation in Wyoming where they host artists throughout the year. The Producers Program reflects the Institute’s long-standing commitment to increasing support for independent producers and champions the current and rising generation of producers year-round. The annual Producers Lab, a focal point of the program, brings emerging fiction and nonfiction independent film producers together for networking and professional development opportunities. Fellows also receive year-round mentorship from experienced advisors. 

The Producers Lab nurtures emerging independent film producers with project-specific support through one-on-one meetings and intimate group sessions with veteran producer advisors. The lab encourages fellows to hone their creative instincts and problem-solving skills and to develop strategies for pitching, financing, production, navigating the marketplace, and sustainability. The 2024 cohort includes five fiction film producers and five nonfiction film producers. Fellows in the Documentary Film Program include Alan Domínguez with Commerce City, Eurie Chung with Finding MáBrenda Ávila-Hanna with How to Clean a House in Ten Easy StepsMars Verrone with Untitled Solidarity Project, and Jillian Schlesinger with We Are Volcanoes. Fellows in the Feature Film Program include Ivan MacDonald with Buffalo StoneYona Strauss with The GlobTara Sheffer with Rubber HutMireia Vilanova with Silence Sometimes, and Carolyn Mao with Sprout.

The 2024 Documentary Producers Lab advisors are Daniela Alatorre (Igualada), Jess Devaney (Power), Lauren Domino (American Symphony), Andrea Meditch (Fathom), and Tracy Rector (PILI KA MO’O). The 2024 Feature Film Producers Lab advisors are David Hinojosa (Past Lives), Julie Lynn (Mother and Child), Dan Janvey (Nomadland), Laura Kim (Marketing Executive), and Christopher Tricarico (Tricarico Chavez LLP).

“Amid the dynamic shifts within the film and media landscape that demand interrogation and entrepreneurial ingenuity, we’re inspired by the bold imagination in this year’s projects and by the determination and collaborative spirit of the producers behind them,” said Documentary Film Program Interim Director Kristin Feeley and Feature Film Program Producing and Artist Support Director Shira Rockowitz. “We are also grateful for the community of generous producer advisors supporting their work and careers.”

PROJECTS AND FELLOWS SELECTED FOR THE 2024 SUNDANCE INSTITUTE PRODUCERS LAB:

Documentary Film Program

Alan Domínguez with Commerce City (U.S.A.)

A visually striking portrait of the daily life and resilience of the Latinx residents of Commerce City, Colorado — one of the most polluted zip codes in the United States.

Alan Domínguez, a Chicanx border crosser since birth, is Denver-based with Nuevo Mexicano roots. His films gravitate toward the unique cultural fabric and social landscapes of the Southwestern United States. He recently co-directed and produced for American Masters In the Making series.

Eurie Chung with Finding Má (U.S.A.)

After 20 years apart, a Vietnamese American family shattered by the foster care and prison systems reunites to heal old wounds and rebuild their family, starting with finding their unhoused mother in the streets of Sacramento.

Eurie Chung is a Peabody Award–winning documentary producer focused on elevating Asian American stories. Leading Flash Cuts with Walt Louie, she has supported filmmakers for over 15 years. Her work includes Asian Americans, a five-part PBS docuseries, and she is currently in post-production on Third Act.

Brenda Ávila-Hanna with How to Clean a House in Ten Easy Steps (U.S.A.)

A domestic worker and her filmmaker daughter co-create the fictional character of a writer to uncover the slippage between truth and fantasy in a hybrid documentary that tells a story about immigration, labor, dreams, and the power of fiction to spark emancipation.

Brenda Ávila-Hanna is a Mexican filmmaker and educator whose work connects to the complexities within transnational identities and communities. She is a recent JustFilms fellow and a DOC NYC “Documentary New Leader.” She is a board member of the Watsonville Film Festival and a professor at UC Santa Cruz.

Mars Verrone with Untitled Solidarity Project (U.S.A.)

A mosaic portrait of the Teamster labor union’s massive campaign to organize 350,000 UPS workers across the United States in a collective fight for dignity and safety on the job.

Mars Verrone is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Verrone produced the feature documentary Union, which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award. They are an NBC Original Voices fellow, a PGA Create fellow, and a BGDM Sustainable Artist fellow.

Jillian Schlesinger with We Are Volcanoes (Hong Kong)

Jillian Schlesinger is an independent creative producer whose work accompanies emerging visionaries on collaborative filmmaking adventures. Past projects include Hummingbirds (2023 Berlinale Generation Grand Prix, POV) and Maidentrip (2013 SXSW Audience Award, Indiewire’s “Best Documentaries of 2014”).

Feature Film Program

Ivan MacDonald with Buffalo Stone (U.S.A.)

Two estranged Blackfeet sisters reunite after their mother’s death to return buffalo to their reservation, a bold effort that forces them to confront their shared history and inspire healing.

Ivan MacDonald, 2024 Mark Silverman Honoree, is an Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe. His work has been supported by Sundance Institute, The Redford Center, and the International Documentary Association.

Yona Strauss with The Glob (U.S.A./Canada)

Three childhood best friends reunite on vacation at a luxurious villa to relax and reconnect, but the property’s owner, Isabella, and a mysterious celestial object, The Glob, have other plans for them.

Yona Strauss is an independent film producer who works with emerging directors and champions bold, original stories. Her debut feature, Haya Waseem’s Quickening, premiered at TIFF 2021. She is currently in post-production on Dead Lover, the sophomore feature from Grace Glowicki.

Tara Sheffer with Rubber Hut (U.S.A.)

Rhode Island, 1992. An entrepreneurial ex–Pan Am stewardess opens a drive-thru condom shop in her Italian Catholic town. Overnight, Emanuella DelVecchio becomes the local lightning rod, a radical hero to the neighborhood teens and an unlikely threat to her tight-knit community.

Tara Sheffer is a filmmaker from Arkansas with an MFA from NYU Tisch. She has produced 25+ short films that have played in competition at SXSW, Clermont-Ferrand, Palm Springs Shorts Fest, Champs-Élysées, New Orleans, and others. She is a 2024 Gotham/Rotterdam Producing fellow.

Mireia Vilanova with Silence Sometimes (U.S.A./Spain)

In this animated feature, Silvia, a flower shop owner, leads a lonely life to protect people from her mysterious condition: Everything she touches becomes unable to produce sound. But her world changes once she meets Marco, a talented musician.

Mireia Vilanova is a producer from Barcelona based in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in festivals including Tribeca, Santa Barbara, and Outfest. A graduate of USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, she is a Berlinale Talent, a PGA Create fellow, a Film Independent Project Involve fellow, and BAFTA Connect member.

Carolyn Mao with Sprout (U.S.A.)

A fantastical tragicomedy about a workaholic auctioneer who, on the verge of the biggest opportunity of her career, receives an alarming diagnosis: she’s turning into a tree. And, the only hope for a cure lies with the estranged adult children she abandoned years ago.

Carolyn Mao is a filmmaker who produced writer-director Kate Tsang’s debut feature, Marvelous And The Black Hole (2021 Sundance Film Festival), funded through AT&T/Tribeca Films Untold Stories. She is an alum of Sundance Institute’s Catalyst program, the Cannes Producer Network, Film Independent Producing Lab, and Project Involve.

WHO

The Sundance Institute Producers Program is supported by an endowment from the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Amazon MGM Studios, SAGindie, Delta Air Lines, and National Endowment for the Arts.

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; The Asian American Foundation (TAAF); Hartbeat; United Airlines; The Walt Disney Company; Maja Kristin; Salman Al-Rashid; K Period Media; Golden Globe Foundation; Ray and Dagmar Dolby Fund; Scott and Jennifer Frank; Steward Family Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; NHK/NHK Enterprises, Inc.; Levantine Films; Onyx Collective; Directors Guild of America (DGA); SAGindie; Spotlight on San Francisco; T-Street Productions; ShivHans Pictures; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; Lam T. Nguyen; and the Deborah Reinisch & Michael Theodore Fund.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is made possible by founding support from the Open Society Foundations. Generous additional support is provided by John Templeton Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Sandbox Films; The Kendeda Fund; The Asian American Foundation (TAAF); The Charles Engelhard Foundation; Facet; Sony Music Group; Violet Spitzer-Lucas and the Spitzer Family Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman; EarthSense Foundation; Adobe; and an anonymous donor.

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