Sundance Announces 2022 January Screenwriters Lab Fellows! - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, January 14, 2022

Sundance Announces 2022 January Screenwriters Lab Fellows!


16 writers invited to develop 12 original projects at the 2022 Screenwriters Lab

The Sundance Institute announced today 16 writers invited to develop 12 original projects at the 2022 Screenwriters Lab, which will be hosted online from January 15-18. The Fellows were selected from 3,200 submissions to further develop their scripts with the guidance of accomplished advisors, some of whom are alumni of the Screenwriters Lab themselves. The 2022 lab will take place under the leadership of Michelle Satter (Founding Senior Director, Sundance Institute’s Artist Programs) and Ilyse McKimmie (the Feature Film Program’s Deputy Director), alongside Creative Advisors: Scott Frank (Artistic Director), Karim AïnouzLinda Yvette Chavez, Carlos Cuaron, Phil Hay, Marielle Heller, Amanda Idoko, Jenny Lumet, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Doug McGrath, Walter Mosley, Jessie Nelson, Jose Rivera, Eric Roth, Dana Stevens, Veena Sud, Chris Terrio, and Tyger Williams.
“One of the highlights for us every January is gathering a new and uniquely talented group of storytellers at our annual Screenwriters Lab. It’s especially exciting to be together again where our Advisors and writing fellows will spend four days in our immersive lab online in intensive story meetings, craft workshops, and creative conversations, as the Fellows begin their cycle of year-round support.” said Michelle Satter. “These sixteen writers, selected for their vision and distinctive voices, will form a lifelong  community of filmmakers, and we’re thrilled to see the outcomes of the collaboration between the Lab Fellows and their mentors for years to come.”

The projects and fellows selected for the 2022 January Screenwriters Lab are: 

Eliza McNitt (Writer/Director) with BLACK HOLE (U.S.A.):  At a pivotal moment in both her career and her complicated relationship with her mother, an astrophysicist’s universe unravels when she encounters a black hole of her own creation.

Olive Nwosu (Writer/Director) with A Burial (Nigeria, U.K.): Faced with the sudden death of a visiting British dignitary, an older Nigerian politician becomes obsessed with giving the foreign stranger a proper burial. He embarks on a relentless quest across Nigeria that forces him to confront the choices he's made in his own life.

Dina Amer (Co-writer/Director) and Omar Mullick (Co-writer) with Cain and Abel (France): The fates of two French-born Muslim Arabs born in the same neighborhood collide as they find themselves on opposite sides of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack: one a police officer, the other a terrorist. Who are these men beneath their uniforms, and how many degrees of separation really exist between them? 

Michael León (Co-writer/director) and Ashley Alvarez (Co-writer) with Crabs in a Barrel (U.S.A.): When her talentless frenemy is anointed as the "future of Latinx voices," a struggling Latina writer sets out to sabotage this unearned opportunity. After failing to recruit her friends to join her crusade, she catches a lucky break when she learns her rival isn't exactly who she says she is. Recipient of the Sundance Institute Comedy Fellowship.

Neo Sora (Writer/Director) with Earthquake (U.S.A., Japan): Two teenage best friends living in near-future Tokyo, where earthquakes are part of the fabric of life, must confront the end of their friendship as they navigate diverging paths towards adulthood. 

Yuan Yuan (Writer/Director) with Late Spring (U.S.A., China): A Chinese factory worker travels to New York for her daughter's eagerly anticipated college graduation, only to be thrust into a desperate search in unfamiliar territory when she learns the girl is missing.

Marja Bål Nango (Co-writer/Director) and Ingir Bål Nango (Co-writer) with I Love My Guođoheaddji / I Love My Reindeerherder (Norway, Sweden): A closeted gay Sámi boy navigates a secret boyfriend, a local criminal plot, and family drama as he tries to achieve his dream of living as a reindeer herder with his own herding license.

    Zandashé Brown (Writer/Director) with The Matriarch (U.S.A.): When the death of an estranged matriarch summons a fractured family back to their hometown in rural Louisiana, a forlorn teen attempts to forge a relationship with her departed grandmother through ancestral veneration and unlocks instead a deceptive world of spirits, secrecy, and hysteria. Recipient of the Sundance Institute Horror Fellowship, supported by the K Period Media Foundation Fund.

      Hasan Hadi (Writer/Director) with The President's Cake (Iraq, U.S.A): While everyday people struggle daily to survive under sanctions in Saddam's Iraq, nine-year-old Saeed must use his wits to gather the ingredients for the required cake to celebrate President Saddam Hussein’s birthday or face the consequences alongside his family.

      Daniele Anastasion (Writer/Director) with The Scout (U.S.A): A recently widowed biologist is tasked with eradicating thousands of birds accused of spreading disease from a landfill. When her young son develops an unexpected bond with the flock's "scout bird," both mother and son must contend with the complex emotional fallout of their shared loss. 

      Caledonia Curry (Director) and Meagan Brothers (Writer) with Sibylant Sisters, Silent Snake Magic (U.S.A): Growing up with an absentee witch for a mother, the young Sibylant Sisters must fend for themselves in a frightening world of ogres, gnomes, maleficent toads, and enchanted paper dolls.  If they want to survive, they'll need to learn how to make their own magic.

      David Miranda Hardy (Writer/Director) with The Swim Lesson (U.S.A.): Mara postponed her career to raise her daughters, while her husband found success as a professor at an elite liberal arts college. After discovering he hid a sexual misconduct complaint brought by a student, Mara develops a secret relationship with his accuser, jeopardizing her family and the opportunity to restart her career.

      For 40 years, the Feature Film Program (FFP) Labs have supported and championed an exciting and ground-breaking array of independent filmmakers including Tatiana Huezo (Prayers for the Stolen [Noche de Fuego]), Lyle Corbine Jr. (Wild Indian), Radha Blank (The 40-Year-Old Version), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brother Taught Me), Eliza Hittman (Beach Rats), Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Fernando Frias de la Parra (I’m No Longer Here), Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Edson Oda (Nine Days), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Dee Rees (Pariah), Nia DaCosta (Little Woods), Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox) and Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild), among many others.
      This year at the Sundance Film Festival, FFP Lab-supported projects include Nanny, premiering in U.S. Dramatic Competition, and The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future and Dos Estaciones, both premiering in World Dramatic Competition. In addition, screening in the Premieres section are FFP films God’s Country and Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
      The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation; Maja Kristin; NBCUniversal; Amazon Studios; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Karen Lauder; Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; NHK/NHK Enterprises, Inc.; Kimberly Steward—K Period Media; SAGindie; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; Directors Guild of America; Deborah Reinisch and Michael Theodore Fund; Octavia Spencer; and Scott and Jennifer Frank.


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