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Created to support high-quality, independent projects at the rough cut stage
of production prior to submission to film festivals, IFP announced today the films that will take part in its May Documentary Lab that connects first-time feature filmmakers with leading industry mentors, which this year includes filmmakers Doug Block (51 Birch Street), Liz Garbus of Moxie Firecracker Films (The Farm: Angola, USA) and editor Keiko Deguchi (Cats of Mirkitani). Excerpts from the films will then screen at IFP’s Independent Film Week in New York City this September.

The 10 selected films include:

Burning in the Sun – A young entrepreneur starts producing and selling
homemade solar panels to rural Malians without power, but the harsh realities
of doing business in Mali threaten to overpower his good intentions. Cambria
Matlow (Director, Producer, Writer, Director of Photography); Morgan
Robinson (Director, Producer, Writer, Director of Photography); Claire
Weingarten (Executive Producer)

The Hand of Fatima – The daughter of late NY Times music critic Robert
Palmer investigates her estranged father’s transformative encounter with an
ancient Sufi band when she journeys to the remote village of Jajouka,
experiences its sacred musical rituals, and comes to terms with her father’s
legacy. Augusta Palmer (Director, Writer); Chris Arnold (Producer, Editor)

Mine: Taken by Katrina – Hundreds of thousands of people lost their pets in
Hurricane Katrina, but 15,000 were heroically rescued and sent to shelters
and adoptive homes around the country. When the original owners want their
pets back, rescuers and animal lovers alike are divided over what is right for
the animals and what is fair to the families who love them. Geralyn Pezanoski
(Director, Producer, Writer); Erin Essenmacher (Producer)

Ocean of Song and Dance – Ngawang Choephel tells the story of Tibetan folk
music, and how Chinese policies have systematically destroyed it since the
takeover of Tibet – and his own story of filmmaker turned political prisoner.
Ngawang Choephel (Director, Producer, Writer); Tim Bartlett (Editor)

The Presence of Joseph Chaikin – The story of the most innovative late-
century American theater director in his own words, and those of his
collaborators. Chaikin’s career as actor, director, writer, and leading light in
new theater of the 1960’s, belies his lifelong struggle with rheumatic heart
disease and resulting stroke, an ever-present harbinger of death. Troy Word
(Director, Producer, Writer, Director of Photography); Encke King (Writer,

The Stranger’s Land – An observational portrait of the filmmaker’s return,
after a long absence, to rural Spain, where he grew up – rediscovering a
place lost to time and memory. Xavier Marrades Orga (Director, Producer,
Writer, Director of Photography, Editor)

Tijuana, Nada Más – A story of visible and invisible borders faced by four
homeless children in the busiest frontier city in the world. Yolanda Pividal
(Director, Producer, Writer); Carmen Vidal (Director of Photography); Sara
Booth (Editor)

Ulises’ Odyssey – The story of the filmmaker’s struggle as a Chilean-American
woman to mend a 30-year-old rift between her father and uncle who were on
opposite sides in the 1973 military coup that brought General Pinochet to
power in Chile. Lorena Manriquez (Director, Producer, Writer); Miguel Picker
(Director, Producer, Director of Photography, Editor)

Up With People
– The story of the sacrifices and secrets kept from the public
eye of a clean-cut youth group who believed they could change the world
with music as their weapon of choice to attract minds to the American values
of Freedom and Democracy in the riotous 1960s. Lee Storey (Director,
Writer); Bari Pearlman (Producer)

The Visitors – A documentary about the passengers of a charter bus that
leaves New York City every weekend for visits to various prisons located in
upstate New York, reflecting the struggles of a unique culture living at the
intersection of the confinement and the free world. Melis Birder (Director,
Producer, Writer, Director of Photography, Editor)

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