2020 Documentary Edit and Story Lab
Application Dates: October 28–December 9, 2019
Lab Dates: June 19-27, 2020
Location: Sundance Mountain Resort, UT
Size of Lab: 5 Projects (director-editor teams)
The application for the Documentary Edit and Story Lab is open to filmmaking teams based in the U.S. We are not accepting international applicants at this time.
By applying to the Documentary Edit and Story Lab you will automatically be considered for the Film Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Ranch (July 7–20, 2020).
The Documentary Edit and Story Lab supports filmmakers with nonfiction feature films in post-production. Lab fellows advance their projects through rigorous creative exploration and discussion of story structure and character development with world-class advisors. Filmmaking teams work closely with director and editor advisors and staff in a dynamic and supportive environment, and after the lab they receive ongoing creative and strategic support. To take best advantage of the lab, teams should be at a place in their edit at which creative exploration with trusted advisors will advance their project and bring a greater clarity of vision. First-time feature directors as well as mid-career artists are encouraged to apply.
Past fellows include Jennifer Brea (Unrest), Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis (Whose Streets?), Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra (The Infiltrators), Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy), and Yance Ford (Strong Island).
The lab is open to feature nonfiction projects in mid- to late post-production (from assembly through rough cut). There is no restriction of genre or storytelling style—we are looking for projects with a bold, contemporary vision made by courageous storytellers. Ideal candidates are directors and editors who are eager to engage in a collaborative, exploratory environment and are receptive to feedback and experimentation. Projects that are far along in the edit, for whom creative input and exploration would be detrimental to the creative process, are not ideal candidates. Ideally, projects should have an editor attached at the time of application and should attend the lab as a director-editor team. (Projects for which the director is also the editor will also be considered.)
Ideally, projects will attend the lab at a late assembly/rough cut stage. At the time of application, you may submit edited sequences, specific scenes, or character assemblies. The material submitted in combination with the written application should reflect your current creative vision and challenges and explain the edit process as you work towards an assembly/cut.
Description and Format
The lab is an eight-day residential retreat held in June at the Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo, Utah. Director-editor teams attend the lab together and have access to all of their media on site at the lab. Over the course of eight days, fellows screen their rough cut for the group and meet regularly with creative advisors and staff in small groups. Throughout the week, creative advisors also give presentations on the art and craft of editing and directing nonfiction features. Six creative advisors participate in the lab: four editors and two directors.
The Documentary Edit and Lab is rooted in the belief that nonfiction editing is an art, not just a technical craft, and that the director-editor relationship is a core tenet of nonfiction storytelling. By inviting a team of experienced editors who articulate the nuances, challenges, and dynamic nature of this essential relationship in nonfiction storytelling, the lab fosters creative community and a unique focus on craft.
Previous Documentary Edit and Story Lab advisors include editors Kate Amend (Into the Arms of Strangers, The Keepers), Andrea Chignoli (Cielo, No), Jonathan Oppenheim (Paris Is Burning, The Oath) and directors Laura Poitras (Risk), Jeff Malmberg (Spettacolo), Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation), Robb Moss (The Same River Twice, Containment), and Margaret Brown (The Order of Myths, The Great Invisible).
Lab applicants are reviewed in two stages. You will be notified if you advance to the second stage of consideration and may be asked for an updated visual sample, production updates, and an interview. Final participants are selected in the beginning of May 2020.
Film Music and Sound Design Lab
By applying to the Documentary Edit and Story Lab, you are automatically considered for the Film Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound. There is no separate application for the Film Music and Sound Design Lab.
Dates: July 7–20, 2020
Location: Skywalker Ranch, California
Size of Lab: 8 Projects (director-editor teams): 4 fiction, 4 nonfiction
The lab is open to feature nonfiction projects in mid- to late post-production (from assembly through rough cut). Ideal candidates are directors who are eager to engage in a collaborative, exploratory environment and are receptive to feedback and experimentation. Directors who are already working with a composer are not best suited for the lab, as each director will be paired with a composer who is selected as part of the Film Music Program.
Description and Format
The Sundance Institute Film Music and Sound Design Lab brings together eight filmmaking teams in post-production (four fiction projects and four nonfiction projects) with eight emerging film composers, along with Skywalker sound designers, in the spirit of experimentation. Invited film teams select one to two scenes to create original cues for and, rather than attending with their composer or sound designer, are assigned an independent composer and sound designer to work with during the lab. (Composers interested in applying must do so through the Film Music Program.)
The goal of the lab is experimentation; participants are not expected to continue working with their assigned composers or sound designers after the lab.
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