This year's slate of films were selected from more than 60 submissions and include Joseph Sackett's 'I Was in Your Blood,' Wyatt Rockefeller's 'Settlers,' and Laurel Parmet's 'The Starling Girl'
The NYU Production Lab, a storytelling incubator designed to help launch the next generation of media creatives, today announced the addition of three new projects to its growing slate of films: Laurel Parmet’s narrative feature in development The Starling Girl, Wyatt Rockefeller’s narrative feature in production Settlers, and Joseph Sackett’s narrative feature in post-production I Was In Your Blood.
The three projects were chosen from more than 60 submissions to the NYU Production Lab film fund, which was created to provide financial and other support to artists at various critical points in the filmmaking process. Applications are open to students and alumni from all NYU schools and campuses. NYU Production Lab alumni include Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me), Michael Larnell (Cronies), Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs), A.B. Shawky (Yomeddine), Faraday Okoro (Nigerian Prince), and Shawn Snyder (To Dust), among others.
“We’ve seen some remarkable projects pass through the NYU Production Lab and this year’s crop is no exception,” said Linda G. Mills, the NYU Production Lab’s Executive Director and NYU’s Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice Provost for Global Programs and University Life. “Between the outstanding film education our students receive at Tisch School of the Arts and the Production Lab's support for emerging creatives, NYU is demonstrating its commitment to developing entrepreneurial skills and resources that help, in this case, NYU graduates to break through the entertainment industry.”
Though established only five years ago, the NYU Production Lab has helped establish the careers of some of the industry’s most exciting new talent. Zhao has gone on to write and direct the internationally acclaimed The Rider and is preparing to direct Marvel’s The Eternals; Larnell’s second feature Roxanne, Roxanne (about the life of Roxanne Shante) premiered at Sundance in 2017 and was released by Netflix; and Yan—who was also a Production Lab staffer—recently directed Warner Bros. and DC’s upcoming Birds of Prey.
“As [a staff member] I oversaw the first year of the Lab and I really got to see how impactful and helpful it was to the filmmakers we chose to support,” said Yan. “On the side, I was developing my own first feature, Dead Pigs, and when it was ready, I brought it back to the Lab to be part of the slate of supported projects.”
NYU Production Lab 2019 Slate Projects:
THE STARLING GIRL
Set deep in the heart of the American bible belt in Oklahoma, Laurel Parmet’s THE STARLING GIRL is an honest, unflinching account of a girl’s sexual awakening within the confines of her Christian fundamentalist community. Sixteen-year-old Jem Starling enters into an affair with her married youth pastor and begins a double life as she continues to fulfill her duties in her community. But soon the pressures of Jem’s desires, guilt and jealousies threaten to expose everything, jeopardizing her place in her family and the only world she’s ever known.
Produced by Kevin Rowe and Kara Durrett, the project has participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive and Creative Producing Lab and was featured in IFP’s Project Forum.
Parmet says, “I’m so grateful for the community and support I’ve found at NYU and the opportunity it’s given me to find my voice as a filmmaker. This support has only continued through the Production Lab. Their belief in and contributions to my project have been instrumental in helping me take this next step in my career of making my first feature.”
Laurel Parmet is a 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Fellow, and has written and directed several award-winning short films; the latest, "Kira Burning" premiered at SXSW in 2018 and screened at MoMA as part of the Future of Film is Female series. Her previous short film, "Spring," screened at SXSW, Outfest, and Palm Springs, and continues to play around the world. She’s a 2019 fellow in Ryan Murphy’s TV Director Mentorship Program and her music videos put her on the shortlist for the Young Director Awards at the Cannes Lions Festival. She's based in New York, where she's a thesis candidate at NYU's Graduate Film Program, and she really loves chips.
In Wyatt Rockefeller’s SETTLERS, Remmy and her parents, refugees from Earth, have found peace on the Martian outskirts—until strangers appear in the hills beyond their farm. Told as a triptych, the film follows Remmy as she struggles to survive in an uneasy landscape.
Currently in production in South Africa, the film stars Sofia Boutella (Atomic Blonde, The Mummy), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Miss Bala, Mary Queen of Scots), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones), and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary, Trainspotting) and is produced by Josh Horsfeld and Julie Fabrizio for Jericho Pictures.
As Rockefeller says, “Making one's first feature film is a learning experience. The Production Lab's support throughout the process has been simply invaluable. They have connected us to some of the most experienced people in the field, provided guidance through challenges and remained steadfast protectors of the integrity of the project."
Wyatt Rockefeller is a recent graduate of the joint MBA-MFA program in film at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Tisch School of the Arts and a grant recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Since making his first movie at age eleven, he has written, directed and produced numerous short films, commercials and documentaries. SETTLERS is his first feature.
I WAS IN YOUR BLOOD
9-year-old Johnny is a sensitive boy who adores his babysitter Melanie. When a YouTube video teaches Johnny about Free-Spirit Meditation, the ability to send your spirit out of your physical body, Johnny sends his spirit into Melanie. He can see through her eyes, speak through her mouth, and move around in her body. It’s a dream come true: Johnny-as-Melanie gets to be a woman for a day. But as the pressures of pretending to be someone else stack up, Johnny-as-Melanie gets himself in way over his head.
Sackett notes, “The NYU Production Lab has been a huge help to us. They have provided solutions to some of our biggest challenges and connected us to resources that we didn’t even know existed. It has been a game changer to have them in our corner.”
Based on Sackett’s short film of the same name, I WAS IN YOUR BLOOD, stars Colby Minifie (The Boys, Jessica Jones, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Tre Ryder (After the Wedding), and Maria Dizzia (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Orange Is The New Black) and is produced by Joy Jorgensen and shot by Laura Valladao (Premature, My Nephew Emmett).
Joseph Sackett is an award-winning filmmaker who has written, directed, and produced projects that have screened in competition at the Festival de Cannes, Slamdance, OutFest, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Rooftop Films Summer Series among others. He received his MFA in Screenwriting and Directing from NYU Graduate Film, and is the recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Grant. He is currently in post-production on his first feature.
About the NYU Production Lab:
The Production Lab opened its doors to NYU’s creative community in 2015. As a creative content incubator, the Lab serves as an experiential-learning bridge for students navigating the transition from an academic classroom to the professional creative industry. To date, the Production Lab has signed seventeen projects onto the Lab’s Slate; pledged $380,000 in film financing to the NYU creative community; hosted over 39,000 visits and nearly 1,000 auditions; helped 13 writers develop feature-length scripts from 200-word ideas; held numerous career-oriented events and panels, and so much more. With the expansion of our programmatic offerings in 2018 — including the “LabCast” (a podcast) and the Episodic Development Studio — the Production Lab is at the forefront of cultural entrepreneurship, preparing today’s emerging artists for the jobs of tomorrow.
For more information, please visit: https://wp.nyu.edu/productionlab/