The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced that its third annual Southern Producers Lab, initially planned to take place in-person, will be held via virtual gatherings between April 13-15, 2020. Ten emerging, independent producers from six Southern states are selected to participate in the lab.
This year’s participants are working on different projects, telling the stories of our time in the American South. Lab participants represent six Southern states—Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas. Each participant will receive a $2000 grant in project support, and will also take part in two additional convenings once it’s safe again to gather: one in New York to connect with industry leaders and experienced producers there, and another in New Orleans during the annual New Orleans Film Festival. Scroll down to see all participant bios.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for artists to come together – to share from experiences, to learn from one another, and to build a stronger and better-connected filmmaking community,” said Clint Bowie, artistic director of the New Orleans Film Society. “And while we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to commune in person, we aren’t letting this important work be stymied by COVID-19. Our staff has found creative solutions to replicate a virtual lab, and we look forward to future in-person convenings of the cohort once it’s safe to travel.”
“We are proud to be supporting a group of talented producers who are creating bold work that gives voice to underrepresented communities and untold stories. Their projects and their work help to redefine and expand mainstream notions of what the American South is in new and exciting ways. We are excited to be working with Sundance Institute’s Co//ab, an online platform designed for creators to learn from one another, to help connect this year’s cohort and advisors together” said Kiyoko McCrae, Filmmaker Programs Manager at the New Orleans Film Society.
The 2020 Lab will engage the expertise of industry leaders and successful producers to address the following aspects of producing: funding and financing, sales and distribution, treatment writing, story development, pitching, budgets, and festival strategy. Industry advisors will lead workshops and small-group sessions, and offer one-on-one mentoring to participants. Advisors include Karim Ahmad (Sundance Institute), Jannet Nuñez (ITVS), Shrihari Sathe (Producer), Summer Shelton (Producer), and Shana Swanson (ITVS).
The Southern Producers Lab launched in 2018 as an extension of New Orleans Film Society’s programs aimed at furthering the professional careers and artistic practices of emerging filmmakers. These efforts include a regional independent filmmaking summit, professional pitch competition, mentorship program for filmmakers of color in Louisiana, filmmaker forum with 20+ panels and round tables, and an industry exchange that facilitates over 400 one-on-one meetings between filmmakers and industry gatekeepers each October.
Support for the Southern Producers Lab comes from Cinereach, Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Oolite Arts, Perspective Fund, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council.
New Orleans Film Society would also like to thank Sundance Institute and ITVS for their advisory support.
SHORT BIOS OF SOUTHERN PRODUCERS LAB 2020 FELLOWS
Abbey Hoekzema, Georgia
Abbey Hoekzema is a documentary producer and educator based in Savannah, Georgia. She is the director of DOC Savannah, a collective of nonfiction storytellers in coastal Georgia. Her projects explore social justice, women, small communities, and youth. Her films have screened at film festivals internationally and has been featured on the Reel South series. She is currently producing her first feature documentary, The Caregivers.
Adrián Geyer, Florida
Adrián Geyer is a Latin American director/producer based in Miami. He started his career in Venezuela and is currently post-producing Hernan Jabe’s latest film Jezabel, following their previous collaboration on Rock, Paper, Scissors, Venezuela’s official submission to the Oscars in 2012. Most recently, he produced his first U.S. production, Maria Corina Ramirez´s film Bridges, and also premiered his first documentary feature as director, Juan.
Anjanette Levert is a producer, filmmaker, curator/programmer, and professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently she’s producing the feature documentary The Only Doctor from director Matthew Hashiguchi, as well as an untitled short film about Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras. She’s also preparing to launch a podcast dedicated to documentary film this year.
Bryn Silverman, Kentucky
Bryn Silverman is a producer based in Louisville, Kentucky. She recently story-produced an episode for an upcoming Netflix documentary series. She worked on the feature documentary Roll Red Roll, which premiered at Tribeca, and produced the short film Pinball, which screened at the Director’s Guild through Film Independent. She is currently producing the feature adaptation of Pinball in Louisville.
Fabiola Rodriguez, Florida
Fabiola Rodriguez is a film and television producer. She began her career at WPBT2 South Florida Public Media, Miami’s PBS affiliate, producing children’s content and later news and political programming. She then shifted into film, working above- and below-the-line on narrative projects. Fabiola currently has a short and a feature on the festival circuit. She graduated from the University of Iowa.
Jillian Godshall, Louisiana
Jillian Godshall is a documentary filmmaker whose projects shine a light on issues related to human migration, fragile ecosystems, and mental health. Her work has screened at SXSW and appeared on PBS, TIME.com, and in film festivals across the globe.
Kelsey Scult, Louisiana
Kelsey Scult is a New Orleans-based multidisciplinary artist and film producer drawn to projects that push the boundaries of contemporary storytelling emerging out of New Orleans. In her own practice, Kelsey explores themes of intergenerational trauma and the feminine processing of inherited memories. Ma Belle, My Beauty is the debut feature film Kelsey is producing with her frequent collaborator, director Marion Hill.
Kiah Clingman, Georgia
Kiah Clingman is a passionate content creator who merges her corporate skills with her creative talents. Her biggest accomplishment to date is producing a webseries, Outlandish, that has over 300,000 views on YouTube and was considered by Issa Rae Productions for Season 2 distribution/production. She is in post-production for her SAG short film that she wrote and produced, Eavesdropping on the Elders.
Pilar Timpane, North Carolina
Pilar Timpane is a filmmaker and producer based in Durham, North Carolina. In 2018, She co-directed and produced Santuario, winner of the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Shorts American South Pitch and the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at the New Orleans Film Festival. She has been an invited speaker at universities and festivals around the country. Her work has focused on women’s stories, immigration, and religious communities, with the aim of using storytelling for social change.
Ramón Villa-Hernández, Texas
Ramón Villa-Hernández is a 1st generation Mexican-American filmmaker based in El Paso, Texas. He is the 2019 NALAC – Adán Medrano Legacy Award winner in Film. His films have found support from the Austin Film Society, American Documentary-POV, and Tribeca Film Institute. In 2017, he ran his first successful crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark.