Los Angeles, CA—Sundance Institute announced today the recipients of this year’s annual group of Feature Film Program fellowships and grants for emerging independent filmmakers. These fellowships help to sustain filmmakers both financially and creatively as they move forward with projects after participating in the Feature Film Program Screenwriters and/or Directors Labs, and reflect Sundance’s deep commitment to providing ongoing support to the most distinctive new voices in independent filmmaking. The grants and fellowships include the Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers, the Maryland Film Fellowship and the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship.
“We are thrilled to offer additional support to these uniquely talented and visionary artists, said Michelle Satter, Director of the Feature Film Program. “We are committed to a year-round program that provides our filmmakers with financial support in the form of mini-grants and fellowships and continued creative and strategic guidance from experienced mentors.”
The projects and participants selected for the Feature Film Program’s 2007 fellowship and grants are:
Chad Burris - Producer (THE LEFT-HANDED PATH)- In the late 1980's on the Navajo Reservation, a 16-year-old girl struggles with her faith, family, culture and devil-worshipping.
Tanya Hamilton - Writer/Director (STRINGBEAN AND MARCUS)- Set in the late 1970’s, STRINGBEAN AND MARCUS tells the story of a spirited ten-year-old girl who uncovers the mystery surrounding the death of her father, a member of the Black Panthers.
Victoria Mahoney - Writer/Director (YELLING TO THE SKY)- In a depraved New York neighborhood, the youngest of three mixed-race sisters navigates an identity between the known: a violent life of crime, and the unknown: a life of purpose and meaning.
Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers
Chad Burris is this year’s recipient of the Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers,
awarded in partnership with the Mark Silverman Fund. Established as a tribute to the memory
of independent producer Mark Silverman (RAISING ARIZONA, BLOOD SIMPLE), the fellowship supports visionary producers who have committed to a film project and still face the challenge of moving forward into production. Burris will receive a cash grant of $5,000 to be used in the crucial stage of pre-production on his upcoming project THE LEFT-HANDED PATH, written and directed by Blackhorse Lowe, which was supported at the 2006 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. In addition, he will receive mentorship throughout the Fellowship year from independent producers Meg LeFauve and Ed Saxon, production executive Matthew Greenfield, agent Graham Taylor, and music supervisor Tracy McKnight. Burris was a producer on this year’s Sundance Dramatic Competition entry FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND, written and directed by Sterlin Harjo, and also produced Harjo’s short film GOODNIGHT IRENE, which screened at Sundance, Berlin, and received a Special Jury Prize at Aspen Shortsfest. He belongs to the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and currently serves as president of the Oklahoma Territory Film Council. Burris’ selection was announced at the eighth annual Producers Lunch at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where Focus Features president John Lyons served as keynote speaker.
Maryland Film Fellowship
Tanya Hamilton, with her project STRINGBEAN AND MARCUS (1999 Screenwriters and Directors Labs), and Victoria Mahoney, with her project YELLING TO THE SKY (2006 Screenwriters and Directors Labs), have been selected as co-recipients of this year’s Maryland Film Fellowship, awarded by the Producers Club of Maryland. Each filmmaker will receive a cash grant of $5,000 as a means to move her project forward during the stages of advanced development and pre-production. Tanya Hamilton’s short film THE KILLERS won Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, and also garnered her a Directors Guild of America Award for Best Female Director. Victoria Mahoney began her career working with Shelley Winters at the Actors Studio in New York. She is currently the co-creator and co-producer of the upcoming television series RARE BIRDS. Past recipients of the Maryland Film Fellowship include Rodrigo Garcia’s THINGS YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER, Michael Kang’s THE MOTEL, and Doug Sadler’s SWIMMERS, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship
Victoria Mahoney has also been named this year’s recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship, established as a tribute to the memory of longtime Feature Film Program staffer Lynn Auerbach. Mahoney will receive a cash grant of $2,500, in addition to ongoing guidance and mentorship from screenwriters Walter Bernstein and John Gatins throughout the fellowship year on her project YELLING TO THE SKY, which was supported at the 2006 Screenwriters and Directors Labs. The project was also recently featured as part of Sundance’s Screenplay Reading Series of Works in Progress, in an evening which featured cast members including Don Cheadle, Viola Davis, and Tessa Thompson, among many other talented actors.
Sundance Institute Feature Film Program
The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is a year-round program dedicated to supporting artist development and the advancement of distinctive, singular independent projects. Each year, 20-25 emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad participate in the program which includes the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, ongoing creative and strategic advice, the post-production initiative, and financial support through mini-grants and fellowship opportunities. In many cases, the Institute has helped filmmakers find a producer, financing and other significant resources, helping to bring these projects into production. The Feature Film Program also presents the Screenplay Reading Series, in Los Angeles and New York, which provides a valuable opportunity for writers to hear their scripts read aloud by professional actors.
Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Film Festival and artistic development programs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with U.S. artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.