ifp labs

[Updated: 2017 Narrative Lab selections have been announced.]

IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs have announced the selected projects for the 2017 Narrative Labs, a year-long mentorship program for first-time filmmakers in post-production on a low-budget feature film. The Labs support new filmmakers through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their debut film, giving them the technical, creative, and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers.

2017 Narrative Lab Projects:

  • AMERICAN THIEF – Against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, a black teenage hacker is out to avenge his father’s killing by the police. Not knowing who he works for, he concentrates on his personal revenge unaware that it may lead to his own demise. Miguel Silveira (Director, Writer), Melissa Hernandez (Co-Writer), Michel Stolnicki (Writer, Producer).
  • CUBBY – After a lie to his mother finds him unwittingly in New York City, a depressed and unfocused millennial discovers self-discipline and his artistic calling in the arms of a male dominatrix who appears thanks to a psychedelic cupcake. Mark Blane (Director, Writer), Carolina Gimenez (Producer), William Colby (Editor).
  • DEAD PIGS – While thousands of dead pigs float mysteriously down the Huangpu River, five people cross paths as they search for their place in a rapidly transforming modern China. Cathy Yan (Director, Writer).
  • THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND – A Mexican trans woman struggles to build a life for herself as an undocumented immigrant in New York City. Flavio Alves (Director), Roy Wol (Producer), Alex Lora (Editor).
  • GEPPETTO – Disgruntled female carpenter paints entire body with woodgrain, transforming herself into Pinocchio, a wildly destructive creature, who wreaks havoc on the town. Z Behl (Director, writer), Sam Kuhn (Director of Photography), Justin Cox (Music Supervisor).
  • JINN – Summer is a carefree, black teenage Instagram celebrity whose world is shaken when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety. Nijla Mu’min (Director, writer), Avril Z. Speaks (Producer), Collin Kriner (Editor).
  • JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK – A chronicle of Maya’s turbulant relationship with her first love Jules in the aftermath of a major car accident. Daniel Laabs (Director, Writer, Editor), Jeff Walker (Producer), Judd Myers (Producer, Editor).
  • KIDS GO FREE TO FUN FUN TIMEKids Go Free to Fun Fun Time is an international road movie that follows an ex-pat couple for 10 years as they travel around the world. Ben Hicks (Director, Writer).
  • NANCY – When the elaborate lies told by a serial imposter inevitably unravel, she becomes perilously close to losing her entire identity – and the only person who ever truly loved her. Christina Choe (Director, Writer), Amy Lo (Producer), David Gutnik (Editor).
  • THE THIRD WIFE – 19th century rural Vietnam, newly wed 14-year-old May must fight to find her own place within a household full of strangers. Ash Mayfair (Director, Writer, Producer), Ngoc Tran Thi Bich (Producer).

The Labs provide filmmakers various mentors throughout, with oversight by 2017 Lab Leaders Susan Stover (producer, Happy Accidents, High Art, Welcome to the Dollhouse) and Pierce Varous (producer, Always Shine, H., and founder of Nice Dissolve).

IFP Lab alumni include Kris Avedisian’s Donald Cried, Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again, Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, and Dee Rees’s Pariah. Past advisors and mentors include producers Scott Macaulay (Raising Victor Vargas), Joana Vicente (Coffee & Cigarettes), and Susan Stover (High Art), and directors Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Josh Mond (James White), Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men), and Craig Zobel (Compliance).


The IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs are sponsored by the Time Warner Foundation, as well as SAGindie, the Ford Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.


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