Sundance screenwriters pencil in 12 new projects


The 2007 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab has announced 12 new feature film projects, including a new script from writer-director John Leguizamo and an indie lineup of advisers, including Christopher McQuarrie, John Ridley and Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal.

Leguizamo's "Jessie Sanchez: An Imperfect Life" is adapted from his 2001 autobiographical one-man Broadway show "Sexaholix ? A Love Story." The fictional comedy follows a suicidal artist who takes a critical look back on his life. Leguizamo directed the 2003 boxing drama "Undefeated."

This year's other entries in the five-day workshop cover such subjects as heroin-addicted parenting, politico siblings and Haitian refugees.

Nir Bergman's "The Book of Internal Grammar" follows the son of Holocaust survivors in the early 1960s. Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance" traces the international impact of one soldier's death in the Middle East.

Sophie Barthes' "Cold Souls" takes a Charlie Kaufman-esque look at the storage of souls. Jorge Gaggero's "Dog Security" examines the effects of the fear of violence on a family. David Riker's "The Girl" looks at a Texas mother's ill-fated attempt at border smuggling.

Peter Craig's "Green" chronicles the reappearance of a slacker's brother who was long believed dead. Patricia Benoit's "Haiti Cherie" profiles three Haitian refugees haunted by a violent past. Braden King and Dani Valent's "Here" follows a mapping engineer and photographer as they document Armenian terrain.

Eric Lahey's "Spoons" studies the relationship between a heroin-addicted father and his son. Lara Foot Newton and Gerhard Marx's "Tshepang" sheds light on child abuse in an impoverished South African town. Richard Montoya's "Water & Power" follows the rise of two poor brothers from their childhood in Los Angeles to lives of political corruption.

The professional writers who will guide each project along include lab artistic director Scott Frank, Marcos Bernstein, Anthony Drazan, Erik Jendresen, John Lee Hancock, Walter Mosley, Tom Rickman, Jose Rivera, Howard Rodman, Susan Shilliday, Zach Sklar, Michael Tolkin and Audrey Wells.

In other Sundance Institute news, the group's Theatre Program announced two new projects set to be workshopped at the Theater Lab at White Oak. Tim Acito's "The Women of Brewster Place ? The Musical" adapts Gloria Naylor's popular novel about 10 black women in a 1970s housing project. Mabou Mines' "Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting" uses a Greek chorus of men to celebrate the history of New York.

The Screenwriters Lab runs Jan. 12-17, and the Theatre Lab at White Oak will be held Jan. 14-28.
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