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2024 Sundance Institute Producers Lab: Tara Sheffer (Rubber Hut) & Mireia Vilanova (Silence Sometimes) Selected

2024 Sundance Institute Producers Lab: Tara Sheffer (Rubber Hut) & Mireia Vilanova (Silence Sometimes) Selected

The Sundance Institute today announced the 10 producers selected to participate in its annual Producers Lab and we find a 5/5 split. Fellows in the Feature Film Program include Ivan MacDonald with Buffalo Stone, Yona Strauss with The Glob, Tara Sheffer with Rubber Hut, (a project we are already excited about as per our conversation with filmmaker Hanna Gray Organschi), Mireia Vilanova with Silence Sometimes, and Carolyn Mao with Sprout. Fellows in the Documentary Film Program include Alan Domínguez with Commerce City, Eurie Chung with Finding Má, Brenda Ávila-Hanna with How to Clean a House in Ten Easy Steps, Mars Verrone with Untitled Solidarity Project, and Jillian Schlesinger with We Are Volcanoes. We spoke to the filmmaker behind Rubber Hut back at Sundance.

Here are the descriptions:

Feature Film Program

Ivan MacDonald with Buffalo Stone (U.S.A.): Two estranged Blackfeet sisters reunite after their mother’s death to return buffalo to their reservation, a bold effort that forces them to confront their shared history and inspire healing.

Ivan MacDonald, 2024 Mark Silverman Honoree, is an Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe. His work has been supported by Sundance Institute, The Redford Center, and the International Documentary Association.

Yona Strauss with The Glob (U.S.A./Canada): Three childhood best friends reunite on vacation at a luxurious villa to relax and reconnect, but the property’s owner, Isabella, and a mysterious celestial object, The Glob, have other plans for them.

Yona Strauss is an independent film producer who works with emerging directors and champions bold, original stories. Her debut feature, Haya Waseem’s Quickening, premiered at TIFF 2021. She is currently in post-production on Dead Lover, the sophomore feature from Grace Glowicki.

Tara Sheffer with Rubber Hut (U.S.A.): Rhode Island, 1992. An entrepreneurial ex–Pan Am stewardess opens a drive-thru condom shop in her Italian Catholic town. Overnight, Emanuella DelVecchio becomes the local lightning rod, a radical hero to the neighborhood teens and an unlikely threat to her tight-knit community.

Tara Sheffer is a filmmaker from Arkansas with an MFA from NYU Tisch. She has produced 25+ short films that have played in competition at SXSW, Clermont-Ferrand, Palm Springs Shorts Fest, Champs-Élysées, New Orleans, and others. She is a 2024 Gotham/Rotterdam Producing fellow.

Mireia Vilanova with Silence Sometimes (U.S.A./Spain): In this animated feature, Silvia, a flower shop owner, leads a lonely life to protect people from her mysterious condition: Everything she touches becomes unable to produce sound. But her world changes once she meets Marco, a talented musician.

Mireia Vilanova is a producer from Barcelona based in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in festivals including Tribeca, Santa Barbara, and Outfest. A graduate of USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, she is a Berlinale Talent, a PGA Create fellow, a Film Independent Project Involve fellow, and BAFTA Connect member.

Carolyn Mao with Sprout (U.S.A.): A fantastical tragicomedy about a workaholic auctioneer who, on the verge of the biggest opportunity of her career, receives an alarming diagnosis: she’s turning into a tree. And, the only hope for a cure lies with the estranged adult children she abandoned years ago.

Carolyn Mao is a filmmaker who produced writer-director Kate Tsang’s debut feature, Marvelous And The Black Hole (2021 Sundance Film Festival), funded through AT&T/Tribeca Films Untold Stories. She is an alum of Sundance Institute’s Catalyst program, the Cannes Producer Network, Film Independent Producing Lab, and Project Involve.

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Documentary Film Program

Alan Domínguez with Commerce City (U.S.A.):
Eurie Chung with Finding Má (U.S.A.)
Brenda Ávila-Hanna with How to Clean a House in Ten Easy Steps (U.S.A.)
Mars Verrone with Untitled Solidarity Project (U.S.A.)
Jillian Schlesinger with We Are Volcanoes (Hong Kong)

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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