Film Independent Unveils This Year's Directing Lab Fellows

Catherine Hardwicke - H 2015
AP Images

Catherine Hardwicke - H 2015

Catherine Hardwicke and James Ponsoldt will be two of the industry advisors to this class of fellows.

Film Independent on Tuesday announced the eight filmmakers selected for its 16th annual Directing Lab. 

Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke, Cake's Danile Barnz and The End of the Tour's James Ponsoldt will act as the advisors at the eight-week program designed to support emerging independent film directors in preparations on their feature films.

Upon completion, they will become Film Independent Fellows, receiving year-round support, including eligibility for grants and awards, access to the organization's annual film education offerings and a pass to the LA Film Festival.

“We are thrilled to welcome this group of visionary directors into the Lab," said Jennifer Kushner, director of artist development at Film Independent. "We look forward to supporting the growth of these storytellers with their current projects and championing their work throughout their careers.” 

Past Directing Lab Fellows include Sian Heder with TallulahAndrew Ahn with Spa Night and Robbie Pickering with Natural Selection.
Film Independent is the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA.
The 2016 Directing Lab participants and their projects are:

Clinch (Jules Nurrish, director)
A gifted boxer risks his family and career when he starts an affair with another man.

In the Shadows of the Rainbow (Blaise Godbe Lipman, writer/director)
A strung-out 23-year-old Club Kid escapes New York City in 1992, venturing home to a rural pot commune to make amends with the people who raised her. She soon discovers the hippy paradise she left as a child has grown fanatical, and her estranged family hides peculiar secrets behind cult-like dogma.

Midwestern (Danny Jacobs & Darren Grodsky, co-writers/directors)
After the Social Security Administration mistakenly declares him dead, failed travel agent Harry Pfeiffer attempts to save his crumbling marriage and restart his life by collecting the life insurance, only to wind up in a labyrinth of murder and corruption that he is ill equipped to handle.

Rita Mahtoubian Is Not a Terrorist (Roja Gashtili & Julia Lerman, co-writers/directors)
When Iranian­-born Rita Mahtoubian sets out to change her life from ordinary to extraordinary she accidentally captures the attention of a Homeland Security agent in this fractured, fresh comedy about romance, terrorism and trying to be a better person.

Skin Deep (Maggie Kiley, director)
In Skin Deep, two teenage girls cast a spell that makes them incrementally more attractive. The catch? It only works when they hurt people. As the never-ending quest for beauty consumes them, these two best friends will maim, mutilate and mangle their way to perfection. And only one of them will be left standing.

Up With Tte Joneses (Rani DeMuth, writer/director/producer)
When an eccentric mother leaves her family to pursue a career in performance art, the remaining members all struggle to find meaning in their lives, especially when the mom returns home.