2017 Film Independent Fast Track Projects Announced; $20k Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant Awarded To Radiant

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Film Independent announced the ten projects and 24 filmmakers selected for the 14th annual Fast Track film finance market. Held during the LA Film Festival, Fast Track helps producer-director teams advance their projects through meetings with top industry executives.

Selected Fast Track recipients will meet with financiers, agents, managers, distributors, production companies, and granting organizations. During three days of intensive meetings, participants build vital industry relationships and gain valuable exposure for their projects as they fast track their films towards completion.

Film Independent will present the ninth annual Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant, a $20,000 production grant to support a film that explores science and technology themes or that depicts scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways, to writer/director Annika Glac and producer Robyn Kershaw for their fiction feature film Radiant.

"We are thrilled to continue our decade-long partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, championing cinematic stories that engage with the dynamic world of science and technology," said Jennifer Kushner, Film Independent's Director of Artist Development. "The Fast Track finance market helps spark critical relationships for filmmakers to support the development of their feature films, while also offering high level executives the opportunity to discover some of the talent that Film Independent fosters through our Artist Development initiatives."

LA Film Festival Announces World Premiere Of Colin Trevorrow’s The Book Of Henry Will be the 2017 Opening Night Film

"We are delighted to join with Film Independent in awarding this year's Sloan Fast Track grant to Annika Glac and Robyn Kershaw's narrative portrait of Marie Curie, Radiant, said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Sloan has long championed stories about women in science including this year's hit Hidden Figures and the upcoming Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Storyalong with films in development about Rosalind Franklin, Lise Meitner, and Jane Goodall, so in this year of Wonder Woman, we look forward to celebrating on the big screen the remarkable life and work of another wondrous woman, the only person to ever win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences." 

A select list of Industry participants include: Bunim-Murray, CAA, Color Force, Electric City Entertainment, Fox Searchlight, Imperative Entertainment, June Pictures, LA Media Fund, Mandalay Pictures, Participant Media, Pilgrim Media Group, Preferred Content, ShivHans Pictures, Sight Unseen Pictures, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Sycamore Pictures, Symbolic Exchange and UTA.

Recent Fast Track projects completed include Lana Wilson's The Departure, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival; Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton's Bad Kids, which premiered at Sundance 2016; Maris Curran's Five Nights in Maine which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; Chloe Zhao's Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and Directors' Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for three Film Independent Spirit Awards. Additional projects supported through Fast Track include Kyle Patrick Alvarez's C.O.G.; Robbie Pickering's Spirit Award-nominated Natural Selection; Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall's Call Me Kuchu; and Courtney Hunt's Academy Award and Spirit Award-nominated Frozen River.

The following filmmakers have been selected to participate Film Independent's 2017 Fast Track program:

2017 Fast Track Projects and Fellows

Blow the Man Down, fiction feature, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy – co-writers/co-directors, Drew Houpt, Producer

An Accidental Murder. An established Madam who does her dirtiest business while the town willingly looks the other way. Fifty grand of cash up for grabs and the local men out to sea… enter two sisters with nothing and everything to lose. 

Cantering, fiction feature, HIKARI – writer/director/producer, Peter Maestrey – producer

In order to escape her oppressive home life, a naïve paraplegic artist begins to illustrate for an erotic manga, putting her on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Farewell Tour, fiction feature, Sean Hackett – writer/director, Frederick Thornton – producer

When three Christian fundamentalist teenagers with the dynamic of The Golden Girls help a local agnostic search Kansas City for his AWOL, terminally ill mother, they are forced to re-evaluate their true intentions and discover what truly binds their friendship.

Followers, fiction feature, Tim Marshall – writer/director, Christina Radburn – producer

A lonely woman who has lost all faith in God, becomes obsessed with her aqua-aerobics instructor after seeing the face of Jesus on his swimming shorts.

Maybe Tomorrow, fiction feature, Eliza Lee – writer/director, Michelle Sy – producer, Sophia Chang – executive producer

In 1978 London, with only 24 hours left on her visa, a young American musician, Chrissie Hynde, takes one last stab at keeping her rock 'n roll dream alive.

Radiant, fiction feature, Annika Glac – writer/director, Robyn Kershaw – producer

Paris 1900, a physics prodigy glimpses a future world of unseen energy. Now she must battle the male scientific academy. The closer she gets to recognition, the more she realizes the battle is not with the male establishment but with the unleashed power of her own radioactive discovery. 

Son of A Very Important Man, fiction feature, Najwa Najjar – writer/director, Hani Kort – producer

A Palestinian couple must travel to Israel in order to get a divorce and discover that sometimes the most unexpected roads in life are in the detours you didn't mean to take.

In response to a growing community of nonfiction filmmakers, the Fast Track finance market will also feature a new Documentary Fast Track session where selected projects will connect with industry executives dedicated to working in the nonfiction space:

Minding the Gap, documentary feature, Bing Liu – producer/director, Diane Quon – producer

A group of skateboarders confront domestic violence as they come of age in a rust-belt Midwestern town.

Missing in Brooks Country, documentary feature, Jeff Bemiss and Lisa Molomot – producers/co-directors/cinematographers, Jacob Bricca – producer/editor

In a small town in Texas, the border wall has already arrived.

Untitled Claudia Sparrow Documentary, documentary feature, Claudia Sparrow – director, Steven J. Berger and Ryan Schwartz – producers

A woman farmer from the beautiful highlands of South America stands up to a massive international mining conglomerate, defending the land, water, and people from devastating corporate greed.

Film Independent Artist Development has also selected two additional filmmakers and their projects to receive support that will include participation in select Fast Track meetings and mentorship:

Experience Designer, documentary feature, Mackenzie Fegan – producer

On an apocalyptic commune in the Alaskan wilderness, a young man returns to confront his past in this unconventional non-fiction film.

Selene, fiction feature, Maris Curran – writer/director

Selene fears she has laryngitis again. On a routine doctor visit to get antibiotics, she is diagnosed with a rare condition that leaves her permanently voiceless. As her world turns upside down and she struggles to communicate and adapt, she discovers that this limitation leads to the opening of a new world.

Fast Track is supported by Film Independent Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, EFILM | Company 3 and National Endowment for the Arts.

Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions independent visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a Member, visit filmindependent.org.


The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan's program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.   

Sloan's Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about scientists, science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past 15 years, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country—including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC—and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent's Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop such film projects as Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, Mathew Brown's The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda's Experimenter, Rob Meyer's A Birder's Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed's Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess.   

The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club, as well as supporting select productions across the country. Recent grants have supported Leigh Fondakowski's Spill, Nick Payne's Incognito, Frank Basloe's Please Continue, Deborah Zoe Laufer's Informed Consent, Lucas Hnath's Isaac's Eye, and Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51, recently on London's West End starring Nicole Kidman. The Foundation's book program includes early support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, now the highest grossing Oscar nominated film of 2017 that was awarded the San Francisco Film Society Sloan Science in Cinema Prize in 2016.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit sloan.org.

Haute Tease

  • Academy Releases Complete Presenter, Performer list; Adds Terrence Howard, Felicity Jones as Presenters at 87th Oscars®

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Oscar®-nominated actor Terrence Howard (2006) and Oscar nominee Felicity Jones will be presenters at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.

  • Whitney Houston Funeral Held At Childhood Church

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Whitney Elizabeth Houston, mother, daughter, friend, pop superstar, was remembered yesterday by those who knew her best during her 'Home Going' tribute at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, NJ.

  • The Dressmaker Review - Magnificent, Fashionable, Haute Fun

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dressmaker, from Amazon Pictures and BroadGreen Pictures, brings to the screen a powerful dramedy set in the deep outback when a femme fatale returns to clear her name and exact revenge upon those who wounded her.

  • Paul McCartney's LIPA Channels the Spirit of John Peel in Weekly New Music Event

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by one of the city's most celebrated sons Paul McCartney, is launching The 2Ube, an eclectic showcase of musical talent from across the north west.

  • A Private War Review - Dramatic, Poignant, Heartfelt, Raw

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Private War, from Aviron Pictures, presents the true story of Marie Colvin, a celebrated war correspondent, who spent a decade reporting every major conflict never allowing fear to stop her from securing the truth.

  • Film Independent Selects Thirty Filmmakers For Project Involve 2018; 25th Anniversary Of Diversity Mentorship Program

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, has selected 30 filmmakers for Project Involve, the organization's signature diversity mentorship program, that this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.