More in the news of the online independent film world! Sundance Institute has announced the selected Fellows and Advisors for the five-day 2020 Creative Producing Labs. The Labs focus on developing current and rising generations of independent producers in fiction as well as non-fiction film. Creative Producing Labs is going virtual in 2020 for the first time ever online. Though the delivery format may have changed, the program is still rich with incredible resources for these lucky chosen few!

Among the several advisors for the Creative Producing Labs Feature Film Program are producers Neil Kopp and Anish Savjani (First Cow, Green Room), Jordana Mollick(The Lovebirds, Hello, My Name is Doris), and Heather Rae (Bull, Frozen River). Several guest advisors working on projects such as Dear White People, Honey Boy, Whirly Bird, and Empty Pockets will also be included. So basically it’s industry professionals galore!


The individuals selected as fellows will have access to the aforementioned advisors in addition to several other mentors. Under Artist Support Director Shira Rockowitz and Documentary Film Program Interim Director Kristin Feeley, the selected fellows will have access to year-round industry mentorship. Included in the mentorship are several opportunities to connect with potential financiers and a chance to develop the strategic and creative skillset needed to further these budding producers’ careers.

The 2020 Creative Producing Lab Fellows are:

Feature Film Program

Producing Fellows: Harris Kauffman and Diego Nájera
Synopsis: Chalino tells the true story of Chalino Sanchez, the originator of the narcocorrido, who immigrated from Sinaloa to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and started a musical revolution with his songs about the lives of Mexican outlaws.

Late Bloomers
Producing Fellows: Alexandra Barreto and Taylor Feltner

Synopsis: Following an accident, Louise, a self-absorbed millennial lands in physical therapy where she befriends an 80-year-old Polish woman who helps her get a grip on life and come to terms with her mother’s Alzheimers.

Producing Fellow: Camila Zavala

Synopsis: A headstrong female free-diver makes the perilous voyage to Malpelo, a remote island in Colombia, to investigate the troubling disappearance of hammerhead sharks while aboard a fishing boat with an all-male crew who prove to be as dangerous as the predators she’s studying.

Neon Tilapia
Producing Fellow and Silverman Honoree: Elizabeth Charles

Synopsis: When a dangerous water-weed threatens to take over his lake and livelihood, a fisherman in rural Kenya enlists the help of his granddaughter to fight back using glowing, genetically modified fish. As strange lights appear in the lake, chaos erupts in the village.

Documentary Film Program

Florence From Ohio
Producing Fellow: Carrie Weprin
Synopsis: A genre-twisting comedy that explores the life of Huang JingYing, aka Florence, a Chinese woman who immigrated to Youngstown, Ohio in the 1970s and the pockets of existence she created to transcend her immigrant housewife status to eventually become known as “Mrs. Mahoning County”. Through her collection of St. John knitwear suits, Florence and her daughter, Director Stephanie Wang-Breal, collectively reimagine and embrace their generational ideas around motherhood, feminism, assimilation, and race.

Higher 15
Producing Fellow: Rajal Pitroda

Synopsis: A young Ethiopian-American man unravels a deep family secret about his uncle, an unlawfully imprisoned Ethiopian revolutionary who risked his life to escape from jail and flee to the United States, only to have a chance encounter with his vicious prison guard three decades later.

La Bonga
Producing Fellow: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo

Synopsis: Twenty years after fleeing the violence of civil war, a displaced community embarks on a journey through the jungles of northern Colombia to resurrect a town that exists only in their memory. Traveling with the townspeople as they reunite for a massive celebration, La Bonga explores the many distances that separate them from their home and the ties that bind people to their land.

Manzanar, Diverted
Producing Fellow: Jin Yoo-Kim

Synopsis: From the majestic peaks of the snow-capped Sierras to the now parched Eastern California valley of Payahuunadü, “the land of flowing water,” Manzanar, Diverted poetically weaves together memories and insights of intergenerational women from three communities. Native Americans, Japanese American World War II incarcerees, and environmentalists form an unexpected alliance to defend their land and water from the insatiable thirst of Los Angeles.

Untitled Free Speech Project
Producing Fellow: Suhad M. Babaa
Synopsis: When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech pathologist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 29 states in America.

Sundance continues to remain committed to the art of film and those passionate about creating it. They continue to offer outstanding programs such as the Creative Producing Labs to create an environment where creativity knows no limits. We can’t wait to see what these fellows have to offer the film community!