Eclectic slate at Sundance labs


NEW YORK -- Lesbians, Evangelical Christians, refugees and skinheads are among the subjects profiled in 13 projects selected for the 11th annual Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs in June.

This year's advisers include Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford, Jon Amiel, John August, Walter Bernstein, Atom Egoyan, Nelson George, Keith Gordon, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Dylan Kidd, Aline Brosh McKenna, Peter Medak, Ron Nyswaner and Brad Silberling. Eight of the projects will be developed in the Directors Lab run by Gyula Gazdag and five in the Screenwriters Lab run by Todd Graff.

Two of the films focus on lesbian subject matter. Director John Morgan's "The Cavanaughs" chronicles a mother who disavows her family and Evangelical faith as she falls in love with another woman. Writer Dee Rees' "Pariah" follows a Bronx teen who leads a double life to hide her sexuality.

Refugees will travel onto the screen in two lab projects. Director Patricia Benoit's "Haiti Cherie" follows three haunted Haitian exiles in the U.S., and writer Tala Hadid's "Dreaming in Colour" takes a look at North Africans on a similar path in France.

The Middle East and its impact is represented in several films. Screenwriters Mohamed Al-Daradji and Jennifer Norridge's "Um Hussein" chronicles a mother and son trekking across Iraq to find a soldier captured by Saddam Hussein's Republican Guards. Writer James Ponsoldt's "Refresh, Refresh" explores how three teens cope when their fathers are called to fight in the Iraq War.

Director Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance" is a coming-of-age tale involving two girls growing up in Iran. And just north of the country, an American mapmaker explores Armenia in director Braden King's "Here."

Intense family drama is served up in several projects, including director Eric Lahey's "Spoons," chronicling a drug-addicted father who reunites with his son. Writer J.J. Lask's "This Is Not a Pipe: An Image of Treason" tracks a father and daughter from the 1930s to the 1960s.

A Nigerian boy's abandonment by his parents leads him to a skinhead gang in director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's "Farming," and director Richard Montoya's "Water & Power" explores the complex relationship between two Los Angeles brothers.

In director Sophie Barthes' Charlie Kaufman-esque "Cold Souls," a star discovers a "soul storage" facility for angst-ridden New Yorkers.

The labs will be held at the Sundance Resort in Utah from May 28-June 28.