Sundance Institute 2008: Annenberg Grant Recipients

August1, 2008–The Sundance Institute announced today the selection of seven filmmakers as the 2008 Annenberg Film Fellows Fellipe Barbosa, Frank Budgen, Daniel Casey, John Magary, Moon Molson, and Lara Foot Newton and Gerard Marx. For the past five years, the Annenberg Film Fellows Program has helped provide direct financial support towards the realization of the Fellows projects. Each of the Fellows will receive a living stipend or grant to support the further development of their projects and next steps in planning for production.

The grantees, all from the 2008 Sundance Institute June Directors Lab, are:

CASA GRANDE/Fellipe Barbosa (co-writer/director)
MEADOWLANDZ/Moon Molson (writer/director)
POLETOWN/Daniel Casey (writer/director)
SHOCKHEADED PETER/Frank Budgen (writer/director)
TSHEPANG/Lara Foot Newton and Gerhard Marx (co-writers/co-directors)

Previous Annenberg Film Fellows include the critically acclaimed filmmakers Hilary Brougher (STEPHANIE DALEY), Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi (TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT; EAGLE VS. SHARK), Sterlin Harjo (FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND), David Kaplan (YEAR OF THE FISH), and Alex Rivera (SLEEP DEALER).

Created in April 2004 by a $5 million grant directed by Annenberg Foundation trustees, the Annenberg Film Fellows Program is a five-year initiative designed to provide a combination of personal stipends, pre-production and post-production grants. Each year, the Annenberg Fellows Program supports a selection of Fellows as they develop their work through the different aspects of the Institutes Feature Film Program, including the Directors and Screenwriters Labs, the Film Music Lab, the Independent Producers Conference, Screenplay Reading Series, and ongoing creative and business support.

“We are thrilled to provide these seven independent filmmakers from the June Directors Lab with a continuum of support,” Michelle Satter, Founding Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. “As recipients of Annenberg Film Fellowships, these uniquely talented filmmakers will receive critical funding toward realizing the next steps of their projects. At a time of great change in the independent film industry, we strongly believe that these grants can provide creative momentum and help leverage the possibilities for future production financing.”

The grantees and projects selected as 2008 Annenberg Film Fellows are:

BLOOD ABUNDANCE, OR THE HALF-LIFE OF ANTOINETTE/John Magary (writer/director): Set amidst poverty, with moments of both joy and upheaval, BLOOD ABUNDANCE, OR THE HALF-LIFE OF
ANTOINETTE is a retelling of the chaotic life of Antoinette Dawson as she raises seven children in New Orleans.

John Magary has written and directed several short films, including SITE IN FISHKILL CREEK, WE ARE ALL GUERRILLAS, WHAT'S IT LIKE THERE and OUR NATIONAL PARKS. His short film THE SECOND LINE was a national finalist for the Student Academy Awards, and has played at festivals around the world, including Sundance, SXSW (Special Jury Prize), Tribeca, AFI Dallas (Grand Jury Prize, Best Short), Edinburgh, and Torino.

CASA GRANDE/Fellipe Barbosa (co-writer/director) and Karen Sztajnberg (co-writer): Exploring issues of class privilege among Rio's decadent elite, CASA GRANDE depicts a teenage boy's struggle to escape his overprotective parents as they covertly spiral into bankruptcy.

Fellipe Barbosa completed his MFA in directing at Columbia University. Two of his short films, LA MUERTE ES PEQUEA and SALT KISS, screened at the Sundance Film Festival. SALT KISS was also an official selection of the New York Film Festival and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and won over 10 international awards, including in Aspen, Austin and Guadalajara.

MEADOWLANDZ/Moon Molson (writer/director): After a black American teen finds his African immigrant stepfather passed out drunk in their tenement-building hallway, he and his friends spend the night trying to unload the stepfather as they inexorably barrel toward a violent resolution.

Moon Molson is a New York-based filmmaker living in Harlem. His short film POP FOUL has screened at more
than 75 film festivals worldwide and has won more than 30 international film festival awards, including the Panavision Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Palm Springs ShortFest, the REEL Shorts Jury Prize at the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival, the HBO Short Film Award at the 2006 American Black Film Festival, and the 2006 Student Academy Award.

POLETOWN/Daniel Casey (writer/director): Set in the heart of Detroit's dying Polish community, POLETOWN follows the story of three men whose fates collide in the wake of racially motivated murder.

A native of Detroit, Daniel Casey holds an MFA from the American Film Institute. Casey has been awarded four Emmys for his work in public service announcements, as well as the Herman Fox Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking and AFI's prestigious Tom Yoda Scholarship. Casey's feature film, THE DEATH OF MICHAEL SMITH, made for just over five hundred dollars, took the Grand Jury Prize for Excellence at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival and the Best Feature Award from the 2007 Silver Lake Film Festival

SHOCKHEADED PETER/Frank Budgen (writer/director): Adapted from the award-winning West End stage show, via the nineteenth century nursery rhymes of HeinrichHoffmann, SHOCKHEADED PETER is a deliciously gruesome, hilariously nasty, cautionary tale for adults.

Frank Budgen started directing commercials full-time in the early 1990s after leaving BMP-DDB advertising agency where he was an award-winning copywriter and creative director. He co-founded Gorgeous Enterprises, which frequently tops the UK Production Company of the Year list.

TSHEPANG/Lara Foot Newton and Gerhard Marx (co-writers/co-directors): A devastating portrayal of child abuse in rural South Africa, TSHEPANG is a vivid portrait of a town cut off bypoverty.

Lara Foot Newton earned an honors degree in drama from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Among the 34 productions she has directed to date, 23 have been new South African works, including a staging of Zakes Mdas novel WAYS OF DYING. Foot Newton, in collaboration with Gerhard Marx, won six international awards for their short film AND THERE IN THE DUST.

Gerhard Marx is an artist, scenographer, animator, and theatre maker. His work, including AND THERE IN THE DUST, a short animated film co-directed with Lara Foot Newton and animated by Marx, has won numerous awards. His scenographic and theatre work has received international acclaim and has won him two Naledi Theatre Awards.

Established in 1989 by Walter H. Annenberg, the Annenberg Foundation provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally through its headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania and offices in Los Angeles, California. Its major program areas are education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation operates a number of initiatives which expand and complement these program areas. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.