Sixth Annual Lab Highlights Importance of Editing Craft in

Documentary Filmmaking

Los Angeles, CA – Today, Sundance Institute announced the selection of eight Documentary Film Fellows representing four projects to participate in the Documentary Film Edit and Story Laboratory, June 21 – 28 in Sundance, Utah. Held in the Wasatch Mountains at Sundance Resort, the Lab convenes filmmakers in the process of making feature-length independent documentaries for an intensive week of creative feedback in a supportive community setting. Films this year span the globe, including the stories of survivors of Kim Jong Il's North Korean regime; a meditation on Mexico’s past, present and future; the tale of a Puerto Rican rapper who converts to Islam, and a filmmaker’s journey to understand the story of her own adoption from South Korea in the 1960s.

The Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory offers an intensive artist-to-artist collaborative experience where quality nonfiction storytelling is engaged with rigor and candor. Each artist is encouraged to explore a new take on story structure, narrative arc, voice, creative elements and more. Sundance Labs are an open, creative environment in which Fellows advance works-in-progress and are encouraged in the spirit of experimentation and risk taking.

"Sundance is welcoming a group of non-fiction artists, who we believe will both contribute and learn from the Sundance Institute's values of creative freedom and innovation,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program. “The Labs Advisors and Fellows also comprise an outstanding group of editing talent, some of whom have been working in the documentary form since the late 1960s," said Mertes. "Editing is a critical and often under valued element of documentary filmmaking and we are privileged to highlight their artistry in this Lab."

Four director/editor teams were chosen from projects which have received previous support from the Sundance Documentary Film Program. These Fellows will be joined by six Creative Advisors, including two Directors and four Editors, to jointly engage in the creative process.

The 2008 Documentary Fellows are NC Heikin (director) for KIMJONGILIA, Natalia Almada (director and editor) and Daniela Alatorre (producer) for EL GENERAL, Deann Borshay Liem (director) and Vivien Hillgrove (editor) for PRECIOUS OBJECTS OF DESIRE, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor (director) and Kenji Yamamoto (editor) for NEW MUSLIM COOL. The Fellows will work with an acclaimed group of Creative Advisors: Editors: Lewis Erskine (Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple and Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind), Mary Lampson (A Lion in the House and HARLAN COUNTY) and T. Woody Richman (FARENHEIGHT 9/11 and TROUBLE THE WATER) and Directors: Sam Green (WEATHER UNDERGROUND and lot 63, grave c), and Laura Poitras (MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY and FLAG WARS).

The participants for the 2008 Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab are:


The filmmaker explores her conflicting history as the great grand daughter of one of Mexico's most controversial presidents, and considers the social and economic injustices that have prevailed since his lifetime a century ago.

Natalia Almada (director and editor)

Natalia Almada's debut feature-length documentary, Al Otro Lado, about immigration, drug trafficking and Corrido music, was broadcast on P.O.V. and internationally on ARTE in France, VPRO in the Netherlands and EBS in Korea. The film screened at the Museum of Modern Art in March 2006 and is included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Her experimental short, All Water Has A Perfect Memory, about her family’s memories of the death of her sister, screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, The Guggenheim Museum in New York and received best short documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. She divides her time between Mexico City and Brooklyn, New York.

Daniela Alatorre (producer)

Daniela Alatorre is currently the producer of the Morelia International Film Festival, one of Mexico's most important film festivals. Her experience at festivals including Ambulante Documentary Tour, have not only given her production experience, but also great exposure to documentary films and invaluable relationships with Mexico's film community. Daniela worked on numerous cultural productions since graduating from Universidad Iberoamericana with a degree in communications in 2000. For two years she hosted a weekly radio program “El Cine Y…” dedicated to film commentary and criticism.


Through extensive interviews with refugees who have escaped the secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, KIMJONGILIA (or “flower of Kim Jong Il” ) brings to light one of today’s worst ongoing crimes against humanity.

N.C. Heikin (director)

N.C. Heikin made her film directing debut in 2004 with her prize-winning narrative short MANANA, which debuted on IndiePix in May 2008. Heikin studied dance and theater at Sarah Lawrence College before joining the ETC Company of La Mama, creating the title role in their renowned production Carmilla. At La Mama, she created a series of interdisciplinary performance pieces, shown in NYC and theatre festivals around the world. She began screenwriting in 1986 with commissions at Paramount and Disney, and has since written several plays currently in production development.

Peterson Negreiros Almeida (editor)

Peterson Negreiros Almeida is a documentary filmmaker and editor from Brazil, whose body of work revolves significantly around Brazilian culture and music. Recent credits for television broadcast include Guitars of Brazil; SÃo Paulo Suite, on the Youth Orchestra of Brazil; Duofel, on Brazilian violinists; and Duofel Live; Arena Conte l’Arène 50 ans, commemorating 50 years of theatre of São Paulo. In France, Mr. Almeida directed and edited Un Temple à la Gloire du Cheval, about the Great Stables of Chantilly during a horse show.


Filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem searches for her “double” , a girl named Cha Jung Hee, in an attempt to resolve a case of mistaken identity that took place when she was adopted from South Korea by an American family in 1966, exploring complexities of international transracial adoptions in the process.

Deann Borshay Liem (director)

Deann Borshay Liem's Emmy Award-nominated documentary, First Person Plural, which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, followed her to bravely unite her biological Korean and adoptive American families. Liem was Executive Producer for Spencer Nakasako’s Kelly Loves Tony and the Emmy winning AKA Don Bonus. She co-produced Special Circumstances (2007) which follows Chilean in exile, Hector Salgado, as he attempts to reconcile with former interrogators and torturers in Chile. She has over twenty-years experience in educational and public television programming and is former Director of the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA) where she programmed new films and greater minority representation on public television.

Vivien Hillgrove (editor)

Vivien Hillgrove has over 38 years of experience as an editor for both fiction feature films and documentaries. Her documentary credits include Lourdes Portillo’s The Devil Never Sleeps, Senorita Extraviada, and Corpus: A Home Movie For Selena; First Person Plural by Deann Borshay Liem; Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action by Roberta Grossman; Emiko Omori’s Hot Summer Winds;Heart of the Sea; and Future of Food. She has edited fiction features including Henry and June and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She was supervising dialogue editor for Blue Velvet by David Lynch, The Mosquito Coast and Amadeus by Milos Forman. She also served as dialogue editor for The Right Stuff and Never Cry Wolf.


Jason "Hamza" Perez is a Puerto Rican American Muslim convert and ex-gang member. Over the course of three years he works to build a new religious community, obtain custody of his kids from his drug addicted ex-wife, and seize the chance for happiness in a second marriage, all the while remaining a provocative star of the hardcore rap group Mujahideen Team.

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor (director)

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s works explore the connection between the personal and the socio-political, and frequently feature Latino themes with Spanish-language content. Jennifer's shorter works include the musical comedies Amerika Ya Ya and The Great Dykes of Holland, and the experimental essay The Paradise of Her Memory. She is a recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award for her body of work. Her documentary credits include Paulina, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast by the Sundance Channel, Home Front, Immigration Calculations, Ramadan Primetime, and most recently Special Circumstances, airing nationally on PBS in 2008.

Kenji Yamamoto (editor)

Kenji Yamamoto has been editing and producing documentary and fiction features since 1975. He produced Thousand Pieces of Gold for American Playhouse Theatrical Films, developed in association with the Sundance June Screenwriters Lab in 1988. It ranks among the top-twenty highest-rated American Playhouse broadcasts. His editing credits include the feature films The Stand-In starring Danny Glover and Shadow Play starring Cloris Leachman, and documentaries including Smitten, Downside UP, The Last Czar of Russia, and Immigration Calculations. Smitten has won more than five “Best Film” awards in national and international film festivals.


Kate Amend

In December 2005, Kate Amend received the International Documentary Association’s inaugural award for outstanding achievement in editing for her work, which includes two Academy Award–winning documentary features: Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport and The Long Way Home. Amend also received the 2001 American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Award for Into the Arms of Strangers and edited the 2001 Oscar-nominated documentary short On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom. Her recent film, Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, about the late actress Beah Richards, directed by LisaGay Hamilton and produced by Jonathan Demme, received the Grand Jury Award at the 2003 AFI Film Festival, aired on HBO in February 2004, and won a 2005 Peabody Award. She is on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.

Lewis Erskine

Lewis Erskine has edited films for more than 20 years. His credits include the highly acclaimed film Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. Other credits as an editor include Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind , and the Muder of Emmitt Till, WAGING A LIVING, MATTERS OF RACE, and THE BLACK PRESS: SOLDIERS WITHOUT SWORDS. He worked on the Ken Burns acclaimed series JAZZ, broadcast by PBS. Erskine's editing ear was honed my mixing sound for records and listening to 1970s Black radio, and his eye was trained by watching the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Mary Lampson

Mary Lampson is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and editor. Lampson co-edited the Academy Award–winning documentary Harlan County, USA and has worked with Emile de Antonio, Ricky Leacock, and D.A. Pennebaker. She also produced and directed Until She Talks, acquired by the PBS series American Playhouse and winner of the Mannheim Film Festival, the CINE Golden Eagle, a Blue Ribbon, and the Athens Film Festival. Lampson worked with Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert on A Lion in the House, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and also edited Rain in a Dry Land.

T. Woody Richman

Woody Richman edited Fahrenheit 9/11 and was Associate Editor of Bowling for Columbine. He has cut several independent features, including TROUBLE THE WATER, a documentary Grand Jury prize winner at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and Destination Unknown, winner of the Hamptons Film Festival. Woody honed his craft working as an Assistant Editor in the cutting rooms of Nick Gomez, Spike Lee and Oliver Stone.


Sam Green

Sam Green is a San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker. His most recent film, The Weather Underground, was nominated for an Academy Award, broadcast nationally on PBS, and included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. His other award-winning documentaries include lot 63, grave c, The Rainbow Man/John 3:16, N-Judah 5:30, and Pie Fight ’69. He has received grants from Creative Capital, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony, the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras is the Academy Award nominated director and producer of My Country, My Country (2006). She received a Peabody Award for her previous film, Flag Wars, which was nominated for both an Emmy and an Independent Spirit Award. Her other works include Oh Say Can You See ...? and Exact Fantasy. Laura is currently in production on a new documentary about men released from Guantanamo Bay prison and returning home. It will be the second film in her trilogy titled 'The New American Century,' about America post 9/11. The third film will focus on homeland security. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship to begin the Guantanamo project.

Sundance Institute’s Documentary Program is made possible by generous support from The Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, The Gill Foundation, S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, Woodruff Charitable Memorial Trust and the Skoll Foundation. Sundance Institute also gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance provided by the following organizations: Alesis Corporation, Apple Computer, Avid Technology, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, HP Marketing, JBL Professional, LaCie Limited, Mackie, Mark of the Unicorn, Sony Business and Professional Products, Sony Media, Sony SXRD and Soundcraft.

Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nurture nonfiction filmmakers worldwide. The program advances innovative nonfiction storytelling about a broad range of contemporary social issues, and promotes the exhibition of documentary films to a broad audience. Through the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory, Documentary Composers Laboratory as well as the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Independent Producers Conference and a variety of international initiatives, the program provides a unique, global center for documentary film.

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their work. The Sundance Film Festival, a major program of Sundance Institute held each January, is considered the premier showcase for American and international independent film. Since its inception the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for filmmakers and other artists. Sundance Institute conducts national and international labs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is a year-round program supporting artist development and the advancement of distinctive, singular independent projects through Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs, ongoing creative and practical advice, the post-production project, and financial support through fellowship opportunities. The Sundance Institute Theatre Program invigorates the national theatre movement with original and creative work, and nurtures the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nonfiction filmmakers through the Sundance Documentary Fund and programs that nurture growth and innovation in documentary storytelling. The Film Music Program supports and nurtures emerging film composers and inspires new ways for independent filmmakers to approach music in their films. The Institute maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.