Fellowship to aid producers

Sundance launches creative lab

The Sundance Institute is launching the Sundance Creative Producing Initiative, a fellowship program for emerging American independent producers. The initiative was announced Sunday during the Producers Lunch at the festival in Park City.

The yearlong fellowship program will include a new five-day Creative Producing Lab; attendance and industry meetings at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Institute's Independent Producers Conference; year-round mentorship from industry advisers; and ongoing support from institute staff. It also includes a living stipend and preproduction grant.

Five fellows and their projects will be selected for the pilot year. Beyond that, the program will expand to support eight fellows.

"The Creative Producing Initiative is designed to develop a producer's creative instincts in the scripting and editing stages and to evolve their communication and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project," said Michelle Satter, director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.

Added Robert Redford, the institute's president and founder: "The next step in independent film involves deepening Sundance's commitment to supporting the next generation of independent producers. The Creating Producing Initiative completes the circle of support that Sundance began more than 25 years ago with the first lab for directors and screenwriters."

Fellows -- who must have produced at least one short or feature-length film but no more than two features and who must have a legally optioned script -- will be selected in the spring to attend the inaugural lab scheduled for July. The application deadline is March 1.