Narrative Rough Cut Lab roundup

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"Boppin' at the Glue Factory"
Jeffrey Jay Orgill
Orgill conceived of his feature debut -- about a junkie working at a retirement home -- from the struggles of a friend. "The lab mentors were so supportive and encouraging that I was re-energized and inspired by the experience," he says.

"El Coyote"
Damian Rodriguez and Sergio Palacios
On paper, "El Coyote" sounds like a classic Western revenge flick: The dark hero wanders into a corrupt town and cleans up the mess. Rodriguez says the idea came from an abandoned train depot near Palacios' family's home, adding that while he doesn't see the point of film school, "the lab was an insider's look at filmmaking, which was invaluable."

"The First Breath of Tengan Rei"
Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski
According to Koziarski, he and Kajino constructed a revenge narrative about an Okinawan woman who tracks down ex-Marines and exacts retribution to explore "the psychological consequences of occupation." Adds Kajino, "The lab gave us a sense of how a range of industry professionals respond to the film. It confirmed that it was working."

"General Impression of Size and Shape"
Alex Karpovsky
After hearing a CNN report about the discovery of a woodpecker long thought to be extinct, Karpovsky decided that the scenario would form his next project. "How could you not base a film on this?" he asks. "(After) everything we learned at the lab, I feel we're much closer to helping the film find its audience -- it's definitely out there."

"The Marconi Bros."
Marco Ricci and Michael Canzoniero
Ricci and Canzoniero drew on their own experiences for this comedy about two brothers working as wedding videographers. The directors hope that star Dan Fogler's roles in Rogue Pictures' "Balls of Fury" and Lionsgate's upcoming "Good Luck Chuck" will help them find a distributor, but Ricci says the lab was "a breakthrough in terms of allowing the film to breathe and heightening some of the drama."

"Moon Europa"
Chris Bower
Bower's futuristic yarn aims to prove that bloated budgets aren't always necessary for sprawling plots. "I wanted to do a guerrilla film on an epic scale," he says. "The (lab) helped bring realism and understanding to my career goals."

"The New Year Parade"

Tom Quinn
Before shooting his drama about siblings dealing with their parents' divorce, Quinn interviewed people who had endured similar situations. He notes, "Throughout the (lab) workshops, our cast of non-actors were singled out as real discoveries."

"Older Than America"

Georgina Lightning
Lightning's film focuses on a Native America boarding school with a dark secret. "Georgina wants to continue directing and providing opportunities for other Native Americans through her company, Tribal Alliance Productions," says writer-producer Christine Kunewa Walker, whose credits include 2003's "American Splendor." She commends the lab for functioning "like a real-world boot camp for the public launch of film."

"Rainbow Around the Sun"
Beau Leland and Kevin Ely
Filmmakers Leland and Ely turned their friend Matthew Alvin Brown's 2006 semi-autobiographical album "Rainbow Around the Sun" into a musical fantasy (co-starring Brown) that was inspired by the likes of 2001's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." "Living in Oklahoma, we are very isolated from the mainstream industry," says Ely. "Without the lab, we would be taking shots in the dark."

"Tales From the Dead"

Jason Cuadrado
Cuadrado decided to combine four stories into a "Twilight Zone"-esque anthology. He says that the lab raised his expectations for the project. "Initially, I assumed it would find a home with a straight-to-DVD distributor," Cuadrado explains. But the lab leaders "were extremely encouraging about submitting the film to 'A' festivals."
-- Eric Kohn

Short clips from each film will be screened for industry members attending the IFP Market, at the Angelika Film Center at noon on Sept. 19. A public showcase in collaboration with Rooftop Films follows that day at 8 p.m.  


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