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The IFP has announced the ten projects selected for its Documentary Lab. The Lab will take place April 12-16 in New York City and will include five-days of intensive workshops and mentorships from working professionals.

The list of projects are below. Lear more at ifp.org.

25 To Life

William Brawner was infected with HIV before he turned two and kept it a secret for over twenty years. Now he seeks redemption from the women of his promiscuous past and embarks on a new phase of life with his pregnant wife, who is HIV-negative.

Fellows: Michael L. Brown (Director, Producer); Yvonne Shirley (Producer)

Damelo Todo (Give Me Everything)

Damelo Todo depicts the creativity and struggles of a unique community within Los Angeles bar Silver Platter. A refuge for transgender women who have immigrated from Mexico and Central America fleeing war, poverty, and prejudice, the bar is a present-day Stonewall, where drag shows meet avant-garde performance artists, giving rise to new alliances and modes of resistance.

Fellows: Wu Ingrid Tsang (Writer, Director); Felix Endara (Producer); Suzanne Mejean (Editor)

Dear Mandela

South Africa promised to eradicate the slums by 2010 in time for the Soccer World Cup. Dear Mandela follows three extraordinary young slum dwellers, from the chaos on the streets to the highest court in the land as they join their communities in resisting mass evictions. Their efforts unleash a deadly backlash, putting Mandela’s promise of a ‘better life for all’ to the test.

Fellows: Dara Kell (Director, Producer, Editor); Christopher Nizza (Director, Editor)

Fambul Tok

This insider’s view of an unprecedented post-conflict forgiveness program enters the lives of offenders who confess to crimes, and victims who forgive them, beginning together the process of reconciliation. This film will not only change the way viewers think about Africa, it will force them to examine their own lives and what the power of forgiveness can accomplish.

Fellows: Sara Terry (Director, Producer); Brian Singbiel (Editor)

Give Up Tomorrow

On a stormy night in July 1997, two young girls disappear without a trace. Simultaneously a murder-mystery and an exposé of endemic corruption in the post-Marcos Philippines, Give Up Tomorrow looks intimately at the case of Paco Larrañaga, a young Spanish mestizo sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of two Chinese-Filipino sisters on the island of Cebu.

Fellows: Michael Collins (Director, Producer); Marty Syjuco (Producer); Sara Kiener (Outreach Director)

Our School

The film follows three Roma children – Alin, Beniamin, and Dana – strugling to break down the barriers of segregation as they move from a dead-end segregated school into a mainstream school where they will learn together with Romanians. Rejected by teachers, Alin falters in isolation, with little support from his parents. Beniamin finds the strength to succeed in his mother’s faith him and the friendship of Romanian classmates. Dana abandons school for early marriage and motherhood.

Fellows: Mona Nicoara (Director, Producer); Miruna Coca-Cozma (Director); Erin Casper (Editor)

The Patron Saints

The Patron Saints is a disquieting and at times surrealistic exploration of an assisted living facility. Bound by first-hand ruminations of Jim, the nursing home’s youngest and recently disabled resident, the film is a revealing portrait of the changing nature of bodies and minds.

Fellows: Brian Cassidy (Director, Producer, DP, Editor); Melanie Shatzky(Director, Producer, DP, Editor)


Puppet interweaves a big picture look at the fraught history of American puppetry (its marginalization as children’s theater and its sudden explosion as high art) with an intimate thread following Dan Hurlin, a downtown artist who is creating a complex puppet work about the strange life of an eccentric, depression-era photographer.

Fellows: David Soll (Director, Producer, DP, Editor); Jared Ian Goldman (Executive Producer); Andrew Schwartztol (Associate Producer)

A Rubberband Is an Unlikely Instrument

Walter Baker is an eccentric, multi-instrumentalist struggling to find his creative voice in NYC. Artistically and philosophically situated on the fringes of mainstream culture, Baker grasps to bear the roles family man, business owner and aspiring composer. An unexpected Texas family gathering triggers deeper conflicts that find him grappling to reconcile fractured roots in the South and at home.

Fellows: Matt Boyd (Director, DP, Editor); Jason Ross (Producer); Michael Carter (Editor)

Salmon Dreams

A young Tlingit Indian makes a pilgrimage to remote rural Alaska to spend a summer living off the land and preparing traditional food, a winter’s supply of smoked salmon. He is forced to confront the dichotomy between his history and the modern world he lives in. His personal life story parallels his culture’s disintegration and struggle to revitalize itself.

Fellows: Luke Griswold-Tergis (Director, Producer, Writer, DP); Maureen Gosling (Editor)

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