$30,000 SLOAN PRODUCERS GRANT AWARDED TO THE DUST DIRECTED BY AMANDA BRENNAN AND PRODUCED BY SARAH DORMAN
LOS ANGELES, CA — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival, announced the producers selected for its 15th annual Producing Lab. The 2015 Producing Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The four-week intensive program is designed to help filmmakers develop skills as creative independent producers. Producers participate with a feature length narrative project that they are in the process of producing. Through the Lab, Fellows develop a strategy and action plan to bring their current projects to fruition. The Lab also helps to further the careers of the Producing Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing.
This year’s Creative Advisors are Karin Chien (Circumstance, Jack and Diane), Sheila Hanahan Taylor (Final Destination), Ted Hope (Adventureland, The Savages) and Tom Rice (Mississippi Grind, The Way, Way, Back). Guest speakers include previous Film Independent Producing Lab Fellows Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith, the producing team behind It Follows and I’ll See You in My Dreams both released this year.
Film Independent also awarded the 9th annual Sloan Producers Grant to the feature film project The Dust written and to be directed by Amanda Brennan and produced by Sarah Dorman. The Dust received a $30,000 production grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant was awarded on October 23, 2015 at the Film Independent Forum. For the past nine years Film Independent and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have joined forces to increase the public understanding of science and technology and to challenge stereotypes of scientists, engineers and mathematicians through compelling artist-driven films made by new, independent voices. Past recipients of Film Independent’s Alfred P. Sloan Grants include the Spirit Award nominated Valley of Saints, as well as The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel, which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; and Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, which received Film Independent’s inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Distribution Grant.
“At Film Independent we recognize the importance of the creative producer to the vitality of independent film” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development. “We are excited to support this group of filmmakers in their commitment to shepherd these meaningful, artist-driven films into being. They are all producers to watch. We are also deeply grateful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for our dynamic partnership, which allows us to nurture such unique and compelling stories as Amanda Brennan’s The Dust. The Sloan Foundation plays an essential role in urging filmmakers to look to the rigorous investigation and groundbreaking discoveries of science as inspiration for narrative fiction film.”
“We are delighted to join with Film Independent in honoring The Dust, a poignant, lyrical tale about a young woman grappling with her sexuality in 1930s Oklahoma which pits science, rationality and the latest soil management techniques against fear, ignorance and superstition,” said Doron Weber, Vice President of Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Amanda Brennan’s moving screenplay, to be produced by Sarah Dorman, originally received a Sloan Screenwriting Award while she was a student at Columbia University, part of the Sloan film development pipeline that has resulted in fifteen completed feature films over the past four years, including five films from the astonishingly fertile Film Independent Producing Lab—most recently Experimenter, The Man Who Knew Infinity and Basmati Blues. As both Sloan-supported and non-Sloan science films draw increasing audiences and critical acclaim—from last year’s The Imitation Game and Theory of Everything to this year’s The Martian and Steve Jobs—it becomes clearer with every new awards season that science and technology offer filmmakers wonderful stories, great characters and a unique approach to understanding and dramatizing the central issues and conflicts of modern life.”
Filmmakers were chosen based on the strength of their submitted script, business plan and creative vision. The Producing Lab is provided free to accepted producers and upon completion, the producers become Film Independent Fellows, receiving year-round support, including access to Film Independent’s annual film educational offerings and the LA Film Festival.