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The Sundance Institute on Monday unveiled the fellows chosen for its 2024 Directors, Screenwriters, and Native Labs. 

The Native Lab, based in New Mexico, will support four fellows and two resident artists, while the Directors Lab, located in Colorado, will nurture eight projects with nine fellows, plus an additional three joining for the subsequent online Screenwriters Lab.

For over forty years, the Sundance Institute's labs have provided emerging filmmakers with a space to cultivate their projects and hone their artistic vision, guided by experienced creative mentors.

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“Our Indigenous Program team looks forward to returning to Santa Fe to spend a week supporting some of the best and brightest Indigenous artists working today,” said Adam Piron, Director of Indigenous Program in a press release. “This group is diverse in the work they are bringing to develop and in how their Indigeneity shapes it — their differences are their strengths. We can’t wait to see what those combined strengths help them add to each other’s projects as they collaborate with each other and with our creative advisors.”

The 2024 Native Lab, held in person in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from April 29 to May 4, is tailored for Native and Indigenous participants, focusing on integrating Indigeneity into storytelling. Through one-on-one feedback sessions and roundtable discussions with advisors, fellows will refine their feature film and episodic scripts while fostering a sense of community. 

The Directors Lab will be held from May 7 to May 22 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, supported by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The Screenwriters Lab will follow online from June 4 to June 7.

The oversight of the Directors and Screenwriters Labs falls under Satter and Ilyse McKimmie, Deputy Director of the Feature Film Program, while the Native Lab is overseen by Adam Piron and Ianeta Le’i, the program’s Senior Manager.

Furthermore, Sundance Collab, the institute's digital platform for artists, offers "Insider Sessions" where staff and labs alumni provide guidance on navigating the institute's programs and funds.

The 2024 Sundance Institute Native Lab fellows include:

Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan: Hailing from the Philippines, Eblahan's works delve into trauma, spirituality, and nature, often exploring post-colonial spaces and Indigenous identities. His film "The Headhunter’s Daughter" earned the Short Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Ryland Walker Knight: A Cherokee filmmaker and former film critic, Knight resides in Oakland and Los Angeles, California, with a passion for basketball and audiobooks. His project "The Lip of the World" follows the journey of Cassandra and a young Indigenous woman into the psychedelic culture of Northern California.

Charine Pilar Gonzales wrote and directed the short films River Bank (Pō-Kehgeh) andOur Quiyo: Maria Martinez. She co-produced the 2024 Sundance Film Festival short doc Winding Path. A Tewa filmmaker from San Ildefonso Pueblo and Santa Fe, New Mexico, she aims to intertwine memories, dreams, and truths through story.

Lindsay McIntyre: McIntyre, an Inuit/settler filmmaker, explores portraiture, place, and personal histories in her works. Her film "NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ" won Best Short at imagineNATIVE and received critical acclaim, marking her transition from experimental to narrative filmmaking.

The 2024 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs fellows are:

Keisha Rae Witherspoon and Jason Fitzroy Jeffers: Witherspoon, a Miami-born filmmaker, co-wrote and directed "T," which won the Golden Bear at the 2020 Berlinale. Jeffers, a Barbadian filmmaker, co-founded the Third Horizon Film Festival and produced award-winning shorts like "Papa Machete."

Jane Casey Modderno: Modderno's rom-com "Here for the Weekend" follows three trans girls in Palm Springs, exploring themes of love and friendship. Her previous work includes writing for Facebook's "The Birch" and Peacock's "The Girl in the Woods."

Sylvia Khoury: Khoury, a playwright and filmmaker, tells the story of Fadia, a widowed Lebanese housewife, in "I’m Heather." With accolades like being a 2022 Pulitzer Finalist in Drama for "Selling Kabul," Khoury's storytelling delves into complex characters and societal norms.

Kristine Gerolaga: Gerolaga, a Filipina American filmmaker, explores themes of vengeance and transformation in "Lamok." Supported by The Future of Film is Female and Sundance Institute’s Artist Accelerator Program, Gerolaga's work challenges traditional narratives.

Diana Peralta: Peralta, a Dominican American filmmaker, delves into family dynamics in "No Love Lost," showcasing the lengths siblings will go to protect each other. Her debut feature film, "De Lo Mio," premiered at BAMcinemaFest in 2019 and received critical acclaim.

Hanna Gray Organschi: Organschi's "Rubber Hut" portrays the entrepreneurial journey of Emanuella DelVecchio in 1992 Rhode Island. With accolades like being on the 2024 Purple List and receiving the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Accelerator Grant, Organschi's storytelling captures the essence of resilience and community.

Sara Crow and David Rafailedes: Crow, a Brooklyn-based writer-director, explores subcultures and misfits in her work. Rafailedes, a bicoastal filmmaker, brings his unique perspective to projects like "Satoshi," blending storytelling with technological intrigue.

Urvashi Pathania: Pathania's horror-thriller "Skin" delves into the complexities of identity and beauty standards. Selected for the 2023 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive, Pathania's work challenges societal norms with a compelling narrative.

Claire Fowler: Fowler, a writer and director from North Wales, delves into family dynamics and memories in "Toad." With accolades like winning a BAFTA Cymru for her short "Salam," Fowler's storytelling resonates with audiences worldwide.

Ramzi Bashour: Bashour, a filmmaker based in New York, draws inspiration from his Lebanese heritage in "Tomahawk Springs." With experience as a cook, baker, journalist, and teacher, Bashour brings a diverse perspective to his storytelling.

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About The Author
Kaili Berg
Author: Kaili BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.