Film Independent has selected rising filmmakers Nicholas Greene, Jacob Hatley, Krisy Gosney, Aldo Velasco, Amber Sealey, Daniel Casey, Morna Ciraki, and Alex Moratto for its 2013 Directing Labs, an annual intensive program that helps promising directors develop new feature films, perfect their craft, and advance their careers.
From now until mid-April, these eight filmmakers will work on their next projects with the aid of professional mentors, stipends, access to a variety of production resources including digital camera and sound packages, and more.
James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now,” “Smashed”), Karen Moncreiff (“The Trials of Cate McCall,” “The Dead Girl”), and Angela Robinson (“True Blood,” “The L Word”) are among the mentors who will help guide these filmmakers with script feedback, casting and workshopping scenes, and more.
Greene, a New York-based British filmmaker whose short film “Salar” was shortlisted for the 2011 Oscars, will work on “A Death in the Andes,” his film about a Bolivian farmer who tries to kidnap an American doctor in a desperate attempt to save his mother from a rare disease.
Hatley, whose debut feature “Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm” premiered at SXSW, is working on “Carolina Highway Killer,” in which “a truck stop hustling party girl faces off against one very bad trucker,” according to Film Independent’s synopsis.
Gosney is an award-winning writer and director of short films who will continue developing her feature film project “Folsom Street,” which already earned her a spot in last year’s Film Independent Screenwriting Lab and won a screenwriting grant from the San Francisco Film Society.
Mexican filmmaker and playwright Velasco is working on “God Loves Stu,” which dramatizes the true story of Silverton, Ore., Mayor Stu Rasmussen, the first transgender mayor in history. Velasco’s shorts and documentaries have screened at Sundance, SXSW, and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
L.A.-based writer-director-actor Sealey, whose previous feature was “How to Cheat,” is working on “New Mexican Rain,” about an 11-year-old who wants to have sex after her parents’ recent divorce.
Casey is preparing “Straight Edge,” about a lonely 16-year-old who falls into the rebellious and sometimes violent straight edge punk culture, for shooting in late 2013. The Detroit native is an alumni of the Sundance Screenwriting and Directing Labs whose low-budget feature film “The Death of Michael Smith” premiered at Slamdance and whose script for “Jimmy Six” was on the Black List in 2009.
Ciraki began her career in music videos and is now working on her feature film debut, “Sunday Billy Sunday,” a teen horror/thriller about a pastor who decides to kill 99 campers in his desperation to communicate with God.
And Moratto, a Brazilian-American filmmaker, is developing an untitled film about two brothers who hope to save their homes in the Amazon from dangerous loggers by smuggling rare lumber.
After completion of the program, these directors will receive year-round support as Film Independent Fellows. Film Independent hosts both the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Writer-director Sheldon Candis developed “Luv” in a previous Directing Lab before premiering the film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. And past Lab participant Robbie Pickering wrote and directed “Natural Selection,” which was nominated for Best First Feature at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards; Pickering also wrote the screenplay for “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” an upcoming film starring Jessica Biel, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Chloe Grace Moretz.