Sundance Institute Reveals 2012 Documentary Edit & Story Labs Projects ('Sembene!' Makes The Cut)
Photo Credit: S & A

Sundance Institute Reveals 2012 Documentary Edit & Story Labs Projects ('Sembene!' Makes The Cut)


A few projects on this list immediately caught my eye, and I'll further investigate each and profile here later (the Ousmane Sembene doc definitely is one to watch from here on, and I'm glad it's receiving the kind of broader attention). 

Check out the full list below, via press release:

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the selection of 24 Documentary Film Fellows representing nine film projects to participate in the 2012 Documentary Edit and Story Labs, June 22-30 and July 6-14 at Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah. This year’s addition of a second Lab doubles the amount of documentary films and filmmakers the Institute is supporting in the post-production phase.

The Documentary Edit and Story Labs support the creative development of Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) filmmaker teams in critical moments of the postproduction process. Adapted from the immersive Lab model launched in 1981 by Sundance Institute President & Founder Robert Redford, this intensive nine-day lab brings together film project teams with world renowned documentary Editors and Directors and Sundance Institute staff to address current challenges in their work and support creative risk-taking around issues of story, dramatic structure and character development.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Sundance Institute Labs provide a haven for filmmakers to work through challenges and take risks in their work with the support of our staff and Creative Advisors. We are encouraged that nearly every film team that has participated in a DFP Lab since 2006 has completed their film and launched it to audiences.”

“The Documentary Edit and Story Labs recreate the invited teams’ editing rooms and provide them with an Assistant Editor and support staff, allowing them to benefit from high-level, focused feedback sessions, and then implement changes through re-editing immediately,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. “We hear from filmmakers that participation in this Lab speeds up their process by at least three months and allows them to rediscover their original intentions as storytellers.”

The DFP celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012 and since its inception has awarded grants to more than 425 documentary filmmakers in 61 countries.


Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellows will be joined by DFP staff and seven Creative Advisors to jointly engage in the creative process. Editors serving as Creative Advisors are Ricardo Acosta (Herman’s House), Kate Amend (First Position), Carla Gutierrez (Reportero), Mary Lampson (Harlan CountyA Lion in the House) and Victor Livingston (The Queen of Versailles). Directors serving as Creative Advisors are Robb Moss (SecrecyThe Same River Twice) and Frances Reid (Long Night’s Journey Into Day).

The Genius of Marian (U.S.)

Directors: Banker White and Anna Fitch

Editor: Don Bernier

The Genius of Marian follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her son, the filmmaker, works with her as she attempts to write a book that tributes her mother, the renowned artist Marian Steele. As Pam's family comes together to support her, they must also prepare for the new reality that Alzheimer's disease brings.

Sembene! (U.S./Senegal)

Directors: Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman

Editor: Debra Anderson

A freedom fighter who used stories as his weapon: meet Ousmane Sembene, the dockworker and self-taught father of African cinema.

The Kill Team (U.S.)

Director: Dan Krauss

Editor: Lawrence Lerew

The Kill Team tells the story of U.S. soldiers on trial for war crimes in Afghanistan.

Match +: Love in a Time of HIV (U.S.)

Directors: Ann Kim and Priya Desai

Editor: Bill Anderson

In India – a culture obsessed with marriage but where AIDS is an unspeakable disease – can you find love and companionship if you’re HIV-positive? Ancient tradition and the new reality of HIV collide. Match + is the modern love story that results.

Studio H (U.S.)

Director: Patrick Creadon

Producer: Christine O’Malley

Editor: Doug Blush

Studio H spends a year in the life of one of America’s most innovative classrooms. Designer/activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, together with their high school students, unleash the power of humanitarian design to help their struggling community in North Carolina.


Fellows will be joined by five Creative Advisors to jointly engage in the creative process. Editors serving as Creative Advisors are Kate Amend (First Position), Joe Bini (Cave of Forgotten Dreams), Lewis Erskine (Freedom Riders) and Jean Tsien (Shut Up And SingPlease Vote for Me). Directors serving as Creative Advisors are Carol Dysinger (Camp Victory, Afghanistan) and James Longley (Iraq in Fragments).

Gideon's Army (U.S.) 

Director: Dawn Porter

Editor: Matthew Hamachek

Gideon’s Army is the story of public interest lawyer Jonathan Rapping, his wife Ilham Askia, and the young lawyers they are training to provide quality criminal representation to poor people in the South. Facing long hours, low pay and a hostile court system, which will be able to go the distance?

God Loves Uganda (U.S.)

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Editors: Benjamin Gray and Richard Hankin

God Loves Uganda is a journey into the heart of East Africa, where Ugandan pastors and their American counterparts spread God’s word and evangelical values to millions desperate for a better life. Inspired by his own roots in the African American Baptist church, director Roger Ross Williams seeks to explore a place were religion and African culture intersect.

Noces Rouges (Red Wedding) (Cambodia) 

Directors: Lida Chan and Guillaume P. Suon 

Editor: Saobora Narin

Between 1975 and 1979, at least 250,000 women were forced into marriages by the Khmer Rouge. Noces Rouges (Red Wedding) is the story of one of its victims, Pen Sochan, who pits her humanity against an ideology and a system designed to annihilate people like her.

Whose Country? (Egypt)

Director: Mohamed Siam

Editor: Hisham Saqr

Following Mubarak's downfall, long time government loyalists are confronted with burning questions about morality, loyalty and the repressive activities of the former regime.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nonfiction filmmakers worldwide. The program advances innovative nonfiction storytelling about a broad range of contemporary social issues, and promotes the exhibition of documentary films to audiences. Through the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory, Composers + Documentary Laboratory, Creative Producing Lab, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and a variety of partnerships and international initiatives, the program provides a unique, global resource for contemporary independent documentary film.

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