Sundance Institute 2008: Fellows of Inaugural Creative Producing Initiative

June 30, 2008–The Sundance Institute has announced the selection of five Fellows for its inaugural Creative Producing Initiative, a new year-long Fellowship program for emerging independent producers. The Initiative includes attendance at the Creative Producing Lab, the Independent Producers Conference, and the Sundance Film Festival, year-round mentorship from advisors, a living stipend and pre-production grant, and on-going support from Sundance Institute staff. The Creative Producing Lab, a five-day Lab held just prior to the Independent Producers Conference, takes place at the Sundance Resort in Utah from July 27-31, 2008. The Lab will focus on developing the creative skills of producers at all stages of production.

The Initiative will support a wide range of projects from producers bringing varied levels of producing and other experiences. From a neophyte producer with a business background, to a television producer branching out into independent narrative, to an established indie line producer, each Fellow is at a critical moment of stepping into a larger creative producer role.

The Fellows and projects selected for the Creative Producing Initiative are:

Alan T. Chan / QUARI
Nekisa Cooper / PARIAH
Diane Houslin / YELLING TO THE SKY
Joshua Zeman / FOREST GROVE

“The new Creative Producing Initiative expands on the work Sundance began more than 25 years ago with the first Directors Lab to create a stronger and deeper support structure for independent artists,” said Michelle Satter, Director, Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. “We are thrilled to support such a promising group of independent producers whose projects are distinctive and singular in their vision.”

During the Lab, the Fellows work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors, including producers Ted Hope (THE SAVAGES, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, LOVELY AND AMAZING, THE ICE STORM), Meg LeFauve (THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS), Paul Mezey (SUGAR, HALF NELSON), Mary Jane Skalski (THE VISITOR, THE STATION AGENT) and writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (SUGAR, HALF NELSON) and Kip Williams (THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR).

Alan T. Chan: QUARI

An independent film producer based in New York, Alan T. Chan is also a practicing attorney and a former Wall Street commercial banker. In 2006, he produced Cho Eunhee's INNER CIRCLE LINE which premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was awarded a Special Jury Prize at SXSW 2006. He most recently produced Jennifer Phang's feature HALF-LIFE which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

QUARI – QUARI explores the trials of love and friendship among three young adults over the course of a summer spent in the idyllic countryside. (Writer/director Cho Eunhee)

Nekisa Cooper: PARIAH

(Mark Silverman Grantee)
Nekisa Cooper was previously an accomplished marketer for such companies as General Electric and LOreal, as well as a former assistant coach for Womens Division I College Basketball. She recently produced the award-winning short film PARIAH and is currently in post-production on a feature documentary titled EVENTUAL SALVATION, winner of the 2007 Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award and a 2007 Sundance Documentary Fund Grant.

PARIAH – A Bronx lesbian teenager juggles multiple identities to please her friends and family. (Writer/director Dee Rees, a 2008 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab Fellow)

(Sheila C. Johnson Fellow)

Diane Houslin is a New York based television and film producer. She served as Executive Producer on the ESPN Original Entertainment feature documentary THROUGH THE FIRE which chronicled one fateful year in the life of Brooklyn basketball phenom, Sebastian Telfair. She also produced the short film MORNING BREATH, which received a special jury prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

YELLING TO THE SKY–In a distressed New York neighborhood, the youngest of two mixed-race sisters navigates an identity between the known: a violent life of crime, and the unknown: a life of purpose and meaning. (Writer/director Victoria Mahoney, a 2006 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab Fellow)


Sophia has worked in independent film for more than a decade garnering a wide range of production credits, including production manager and line producer for films such as STRANGERS WITH CANDY and David Gordon Green's ALL THE REAL GIRLS and UNDERTOW. Sophia's producing credits include the period drama HENRY MAY LONG and Craig Zobel's GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

SCOUTMASTERS – A darkly comedic story about the dysfunctional scoutmasters of a Boy Scout Troup's ill-fated camping trip. (Writer/director Todd Rohal (THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE))

Joshua Zeman: FOREST GROVE
(Steve Bing Fellow)

Joshua Zeman is a New York-based independent film producer whose physical production credits include THE STATION AGENT, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, and THE HAWK IS DYING. In 2005, Joshua partnered with producer Zachary Mortensen to produce his first feature CHOKING MAN with their company Ghost Robot. Most recently, he produced the film, AGAINST THE CURRENT, starring Joseph Fiennes, which is currently in post-production.

FOREST GROVE–A modern gothic fairy-tale set in a gated community where a 14-year old boy takes on a dare to swim each and every backyard pool. It is a journey that brings lessons about love, memory, and the desperation of lives lived in complacency. (Writer Maya Churi, director Jonathan Caouette (TARNATION))

The launch of the Creative Producing Initiative has been made possible in large part through the generous support of Sheila C. Johnson and Steve Bing. Their involvement at this moment of inception not only demonstrates their commitment to independent voice in filmmaking but also will crucially sustain this key new endeavor of the Sundance Institute.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance 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 US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.