This past summer I was a mentor at Sundance's first Creative Producing Lab. I was completely impressed. In regards to Jane's earlier post today, this is that program. Granted it can only be accessed by a very limited number of participants (there were 4 fellows last year), but it was a comprehensive and intensive program that I would advise for everyone.
The Sundance Creative Producing Initiative much more than just the summer lab though (from Sundance's own literature):
it is a year-long creative and strategic fellowship program for emerging American producers with their next project.
The program was conceived to develop and support the next generation of American independent producers. For over 27 years, the Sundance Institute has offered in-depth year-round programs for feature screenwriters and directors. In an increasingly competitive and complex marketplace, the health and excellence of the independent film movement hinge on sophisticated creative and strategic producers with whom these directors and writers can collaborate.
The initiative focuses on the holistic producer, who identifies, options, develops and pitches material, champions and challenges the writer/director creatively, raises financing, leads the casting/packaging process, hires and inspires crew, and navigates the sales, distribution, and marketing arenas. The program is designed to hone emerging producers' creative instincts in the scripting and editing stages and to evolve their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project.
Five producers will be selected for a one-year fellowship and participate in the following:
Creative Producing Lab (described below)
Producers Conference attendance
Sundance Film Festival attendance (screenings, networking opportunities)
$5,000 living stipend; $5,000 pre-production grant
Year-round mentorship from 2 industry advisors
Community building among producing fellows
Year-round support from Sundance staff
SUNDANCE CREATIVE PRODUCING LAB
Fellows will attend a 5-day lab focused on creatively strengthening their projects from script to screen. The idea is to give producers the chance to explore their own creative take on material and to give them skills and experience in evaluating and developing this material at script stage and beyond. Scripts will be discussed in one-on-one sessions with advisors, as well as in a collective notes process with the group. Case studies will be used to explore creative issues in the production and editing processes, while techniques in communicating with writer/directors and potential production partners will also be addressed.
Candidates must have produced at least one short or feature-length narrative or documentary film (no more than 2 narrative features total).
Producers must have a completed, legally-optioned, scripted narrative project in hand with a director attached to the project.
Candidates may not be writer or director of submitted project.
Candidates must be based in the U.S., although submitted project does not need to be English language nor filmed in the U.S.
Sundance Institute strongly believes in strength in diversity and actively encourages applications from women, people of color, differently abled people, and all persons who support the Institute's mission.
I should also add on another front, it is also deadline time for IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs. I just blogged about it on Let'sMakeBetterFilms over on HammerToNail. Check it out too. Get those applications in the mail! These are great programs that we are fortunate to have.