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Film Independent Sets Six For 2022 Producing Lab, Unveils Imaginar Producers Residency Awarding $150,000 In Grants To Latinx Creatives

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EXCLUSIVE: Film Independent has set Lexi Tannenholtz (Booger), Robert Colom (Mountains), Aya Hamdan (Out of Water), Shao Min Chew Chia (The Plutonians), Sabrina Stoll (Tiny Birds with Broken Brains) and Pin-Chun Liu (Wonderland) as the participants and projects for its annual Producing Lab, now in its 22nd year. 

Film Independent’s Producing Lab is an intensive that looks to help creative, independent producers develop their skills and further their careers by introducing them to professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing. This year’s roster of creative advisors and guest speakers includes Carly Hugo, Sarah Kim, Amy Lo, Amanda Marshall, Lena Vurma, Mollye Asher, Liz Cardenas, Dr. Nicole Friedman, Christine Hsu, Lauren Mann, Diego Najera, Ross Putman, Lizzie Shapiro, Anita Surendran, Sheila Hanahan Taylor and Elliott Whitton.  

As a further reflection of its commitment to support independent creative producers, Film Independent also today announced the launch of the Imaginar Producers Residency for Latinx Producers, made possible by The Walt Disney Company, Searchlight Pictures and in consultation with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Over the course of nine months, three selected Fellows will receive a $50,000 cash grant, mentorship, professional and financial coaching, development support and more to build traction for their projects. They also will be able to collaborate with Disney and Searchlight executives to gain a better understanding of how to package and set up projects for studios and independent endeavors. Applications for the Imaginar Producers Residency will open November 1.  

“Film Independent is deeply committed to championing creative producers. And this innovative new partnership with The Walt Disney Company and Searchlight Pictures tackles the need for a pipeline of diverse studio producers,” said the organization’s Director of Artist Development, Angela C. Lee. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to further our support to producers with the launch of this Fellowship, as we welcome the talented and intrepid cohort of producers in this year’s Film Independent Producing Lab.”  

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“The Walt Disney Company is committed to embracing stories and storytellers who reflect the rich diversity of our world,” said The Walt Disney Company’s VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Christine Cadena. “Alongside Searchlight Pictures, we are thrilled to collaborate on this meaningful initiative with Film Independent and in collaboration with NALIP in support of expanding the Hispanic and Latinx producing community. We look forward to the launch of the program and engaging deeply with the Fellows as we reimagine a more inclusive tomorrow, together.”

“We are incredibly proud to be combining the resources and experience of these organizations together to form the Imaginar Producers Residency for Latinx Producers,” added Searchlight President and Film Independent Board Member Matthew Greenfield and Searchlight President David Greenbaum. “Producers are a key driver in bringing new, exciting, and diverse stories to audiences worldwide, and this program will identify emerging talent and give them the tools they need to succeed.”

  

The nonprofit behind the Spirit Awards also today named Shao Min Chew Chia as the recipient of this year’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Producers Grant, who will receive $30,000 to further the development of her project The Plutonians through the Producing Lab. Awarded to producers whose screenplays integrate science or technology themes and characters into dramatic stories, the grant is part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s nationwide film program to advance public understanding of science and technology.

“I’m very grateful to the Sloan Foundation for honoring me with this grant and for the work that they do in bringing stories about science to the screen,” said Chia. “The impact that scientific progress has on the arc of human history is indelible and profound, and how we face scientific discoveries and wield new technologies will determine what the future holds. Starting with The Plutonians, our brazen comedy about the cost of ambition and the value of curiosity, I hope to do my part in telling science stories and I can’t wait to be in the audience watching many others. Thank you Film Independent and Sloan Foundation!”

Film Independent’s Producing Lab has previously developed such films as Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection produced by Chester Algernal Gordon, which is set for release via A24 on November 18; Saim Sadiq’s 2022 Cannes Un Certain Regard winner Joyland, produced by Apoorva Charan; and Chloé Zhao’s Spirit Award-nominated debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me, produced by Angela C. Lee and Mollye Asher. Other notable talents supported by the lab include Lizzie Shapiro (Shiva Baby), Lena Vurma (Adventures of a Mathematician) and Avril Speaks (Jinn). 

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More information on the 2022 Producing Lab Fellows’ projects can be found below.

Title: Booger  
Producer: Lexi Tannenholtz  
Logline: Anna’s on a mission to find her dead friend’s cat while her life (and body) falls apart in the process. Will finding Booger save her from her immeasurable grief?  

Title: Mountains  
Producer: Robert Colom  
Logline: A Haitian demolition worker is faced with the realities of redevelopment as he is tasked with dismantling his rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.  

Title: Out of Water  
Producer: Aya Hamdan  
Logline: A coming-of-age about the childhood, teendom, and adulthood of a young woman growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to an American mother and Syrian-born Muslim father. When Layla’s grandpa arrives from Syria, her relationships with her family members and her identities, including her sexuality, are tested.  

Title: The Plutonians  
Producer: Shao Min Chew Chia  
Logline: When the official definition of the word “planet” puts Pluto under threat of expulsion, ninth planet expert Alvin Gibbs swoops into a sleepy international astronomy conference to save it. Bullying his peers with increasingly desperate ploys, Alvin fails to win this debate but rediscovers why Pluto matters to him in the first place.  

Title: Tiny Birds with Broken Brains  
Producer: Sabrina Stoll  
Logline: Tiny Birds with Broken Brains is a coming-of-age drama, set-in small-town Ontario in the 80s and 90s, that centers around an immigrant South Asian family, and the complicated relationship between Shabnam, the traditional, traumatized mother and her youngest daughter, Amanjeet.  

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Title: Wonderland  
Producer: Pin-Chun Liu  
Logline: When her mother disappears with the family bankroll in Las Vegas, eleven-year-old Adeline Tang hires a devious street magician to bring her mother home before her father finds out.  



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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