IFP Unveils 2017 Narrative Labs Fellows
Photo Credit: Jinn

IFP Unveils 2017 Narrative Labs Fellows

Simone Missick in JINN (2017)
Simone Missick in JINN (2017)

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) has announced the projects selected for the 13th IFP Narrative Labs – the year-long fellowship that provides an all-encompassing mentorship and resources for 10 first-time feature filmmakers currently in post-production on their debut films.

Of note is writer-director (and S&A contributor) Nijla Mu’min’s “Jinn” – a dramatic film that follows a carefree 17-year-old black girl named Summer, whose world is turned upside down when her mother, Jade, converts to Islam.

Promising a fresh look at identity, Islam, and first love in contemporary Los Angeles, “Jinn” stars Simone Missick as Summer’s mother Jade and Zoe Renee as Summer.

Hisham Tawfiq, Kelly Jenrette, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., and Dorian Missick round out the cast.

Avril Z. Speaks of Sweet Potato Pie Productions is producing with Elton Brand, Mike C. Manning, Simone Missick, and Angela Harvey serving as executive producers, and Morgan’s Mark Productions serving as co-producers.

Congratulations Nijla, and all the other chosen participants!

The 10 selected fellows for the 13th IFP Narrative Labs are:

— “American Thief” (Thriller) Against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, a black teenage hacker is out to avenge his father’s killing by the police. Not knowing who he works for, he concentrates on his personal revenge unaware that it may lead to his own demise. Miguel Silveira (Director, Writer), Melissa Hernandez (Co-Writer), Michel Stolnicki (Writer, Producer).

— “Cubby” (Coming of Age) After a lie to his mother finds him unwittingly in New York City, a depressed and unfocused millennial discovers self-discipline and his artistic calling in the arms of a male dominatrix who appears thanks to a psychedelic cupcake. Mark Blane (Director, Writer), Carolina Gimenez (Producer), William Colby (Editor).

— “Dead Pigs” (Drama) While thousands of dead pigs float mysteriously down the Huangpu River, five people cross paths as they search for their place in a rapidly transforming modern China. Cathy Yan (Director, Writer).

— “The Garden Left Behind” (Drama) A Mexican trans woman struggles to build a life for herself as an undocumented immigrant in New York City. Flavio Alves (Director), Roy Wol (Producer), Alex Lora (Editor).

— “Geppetto” (Adventure) Disgruntled female carpenter paints entire body with woodgrain, transforming herself into Pinocchio, a wildly destructive creature, who wreaks havoc on the town. Z Behl (Director, writer), Sam Kuhn (Director of Photography), Justin Cox (Music Supervisor)

— “Jinn” (Coming of Age) Summer is a carefree, black teenage Instagram celebrity whose world is shaken when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety. Nijla Mu’min (Director, writer), Avril Z. Speaks (Producer), Collin Kriner (Editor).

— “Jules of Light and Dark” (Drama) A chronicle of Maya’s turbulent relationship with her first love Jules in the aftermath of a major car accident. Daniel Laabs (Director, Writer, Editor), Jeff Walker (Producer), Judd Myers (Producer, Editor).

— “Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time” (Drama) Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time is an international road movie that follows an ex-pat couple for 10 years as they travel around the world. Ben Hicks (Director, Writer).

— “Nancy” (Drama) When the elaborate lies told by a serial imposter inevitably unravel, she becomes perilously close to losing her entire identity – and the only person who ever truly loved her. Christina Choe (Director, Writer), Amy Lo (Producer), David Gutnik (Editor).

— “The Third Wife” (Drama) 19th century rural Vietnam, newly wed 14-year-old May must fight to find her own place within a household full of strangers. Ash Mayfair (Director, Writer, Producer), Ngoc Tran Thi Bich (Producer).

The Time Warner Completion Lab, the first of three modules of the lab, runs from May 8-12 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Brooklyn, New York.

During the first module, Fellows receive mentorship in editing, music composition and supervision, sound design, and post-production budget, as well as developing marketing and festival strategies.

The other two modules are IFP Film Week running from September 17-21, and the Marketing and Distribution Lab from November 6-10.

“The Narrative Labs continue to be a hotbed of discovery, shining a spotlight on bold storytellers whose work, though diverse in style and subject matter, is bound by their shared passion for pushing against the boundaries of independent filmmaking,” IFP executive director Joana Vicente said.