LOS ANGELES — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, announced the names of the 10 filmmakers and six projects selected for the 2016 Documentary Lab, a five week intensive program designed to support filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentaries.

Netflix is returning for the second year to support the program, including a $25,000 finishing fund for projects being developed in the Lab. Now in its sixth year, the Documentary Lab has two primary focuses: (1) providing creative feedback and story notes to the selected filmmakers; and (2) helping filmmakers strategize the completion, distribution, and marketing of their film.

“We are excited to kick off the sixth year of our Documentary Lab and to continue to deepen our connection to the documentary filmmaking community,” said Film Independent Director of Artist Development, Jennifer Kushner. “There is such profound and groundbreaking work being done in documentary today, and we are thrilled to be able to bring together this dynamic and inclusive group of filmmakers and creative advisors in support of great storytelling.”

Projects developed in past Documentary Labs include Marah Strauch’s Sunshine Superman, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Andrew Droz Palermo & Tracy Droz Tragos’ Rich Hill which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, PJ Raval’s Before You Know It; Hilla Medalia’s Dancing in Jaffa; Nicholas Wrathall’s Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia; Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali Worrall’sCall Me Kuchu; Laura Nix and Julia Meltzer’s The Light In Her Eyes; and Nicole Karsin’s We Women Warriors, among others.

Documentary filmmakers Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel), Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen (Marwencol) and Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room) are this year’s Documentary Lab Advisors. Guest Speakers include Doug Blush (Editor, 20 Feet From Stardom), Laura Gabbert (City of Gold) Jennifer Arnold (Tig, A Small Act), Chris Perez (Legal Issues for Documentarians) and Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute.

The Documentary Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation and is sponsored by Netflix, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support provided by Dolby Laboratories, Inc.

The 2016 Documentary Lab projects and Fellows are:

 Inbetween Nowhere, Aslihan Unaldi – director/producer

Inbetween Nowhere is an intimate portrait of three young Syrian revolutionaries, who came of age during the war and who are now living in exile in Turkey.

 Larry Flynt for President, Nadia Szold – director/producer

In 1983, battle wounded from an assassination attempt on his life, Larry Flynt re-emerges with a vengeance and announces his run for President from his golden wheel chair.

Marriage Brokers, Smriti Mundhra, Sarita Khurana – director/producers

In a modern India still weighed down by tradition, three young women must put their lives and dreams on pause to have arranged marriages.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, Deborah Riley Draper – director/producer

In 1936, 18 African-American athletes won hearts and medals the Berlin Olympic Games, defying Aryan theories. History forgot all except one. This is the story of the other 17.

Shot in the Dark, Dustin Nakao Haider – director, Daniel Dewes and Derek Doneen – producers

Deep within Chicago’s notoriously violent Westside, the Orr Academy Spartans must band together – not only to win a championship, but to survive.

United Skates, Tina Brown, Dyana Winkler – director/producers

United Skates follows an underground subculture growing inside our country’s last standing roller rinks. Through the eyes of two unassuming leaders, Reggie and Phelicia, they battle in a racially charged environment, to save a movement still undiscovered by mainstream America.


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Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography.

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