Sundance Film Fest 2008: New Sundance Creative Producing Initiative

January 21, 2008–The Sundance Institute today announced the Sundance Creative Producing Initiative, a new Fellowship program for emerging American independent producers. The announcement was made today during the Producers
Lunch at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Veteran film producer Paul Mezey (MARIA FULL OF GRACE,SUGAR) gave the keynote address at the event which was attended by more than 150 independent producers.

“The next step in independent film involves deepening Sundance's commitment to supporting the next generation of independent producers,” said Robert Redford, president and founder of Sundance Institute. “The Creating Producing Initiative completes the circle of support that Sundance began more than 25 years ago with the first Lab for directors and screenwriters.” Redford added, “it has become clear that in an increasingly competitive and complex global marketplace, emerging filmmakers need knowledgeable creative producers equipped to bring their stories all the way from production to the increasingly difficult area of distribution.”

The Sundance Creative Producing Initiative will be a year-long Fellowship program that includes a new 5-day Creative Producing Lab, attendance and industry meetings at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Sundance Institute's Independent Producers Conference, year-round mentorship from industry advisors, on-going support from Sundance Institute staff and community-building opportunities among producing fellows. The Fellowship also includes a living stipend and pre-production grant. Five fellows and their projects will be selected for the pilot year.

In subsequent years, the program will support eight fellows. To work effectively with filmmakers, producers need an opportunity to develop their own skills and voices. The Creative Producing Initiative is designed to develop a producer's creative instincts in the scripting and editing stages and to evolve their communication and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project, said
Michelle Satter, Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.

“This new Sundance initiative will have immediate and lasting impact in the field,” said keynote speaker Paul Mezey “Sundance is in a unique position to provide this in-depth guidance. I look forward to being a mentor to this next generation of independent producers.”
Fellows will be selected in Spring 2008 to attend the inaugural Creative Producing Lab scheduled for July.

The deadline to apply for the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Initiative is March 1, 2008. Candidates must have produced at least one short or feature-length film (no more than 2 features total) and have a legally-optioned script in hand. Sundance Institute strongly believes in strength in diversity and actively encourages applications from women, people of color, differently abled people, and all persons who support the Institute's mission.

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Since 1981, the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has supported more than 450 independent
filmmakers whose distinctive, singular work has engaged audiences worldwide. Program staff fully embrace the unique vision of each filmmaker, encouraging a rigorous creative process with a focus on original and deeply personal storytelling.

Each year, up to 25 emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and around the world participate in a year-round continuum of support which can include the Screenwriters and Directors Labs, Composers Lab,
Independent Producers Conference, ongoing creative and strategic advice, significant production and postproduction resources, a rough-cut screening initiative, a Screenplay Reading Series, and direct financial support through project-specific grants and artist fellowships. In many cases, the Institute has helped the Programs fellows attach producers and talent, secure financing, and assemble other significant resources to move their projects toward production and presentation.

Sundance Institute

Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2006. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into
an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs which provide a range of concentrated creative and financial support for directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, 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 US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.