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Sundance Institute Announces Fellows for 3rd Documentary Film Editing and Story Lab

Sundance Institute

announced the selection of the eight participants and their projects for the annual Documentary Film Editing and Story Laboratory to be held June 23-30 at Sundance, Utah. This year’s projects represent topics ranging from immigration to modern journalism and the conflict between landowners and Mapuches (Native people of Chile) to two American women trying to understand war and their different cultural identities.

The 2006 Documentary Film Editing and Story Laboratory Fellows are:

–Maria Teresa Larrain (director) and Ricardo Acosta (editor) with THE TRIAL OF PASCUAL PICHUN (Chile)

–Senain Kheshgi and Geeta Patel (directors) and Billy McMillin (editor) with PROJECT KASHMIR (U.S.A.)

–Aaron Matthews (director and editor) with THE PAPER (U.S.A)

–Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini (directors) with MY


At the Lab, the eight Fellows (project directors and editors) will explore elements of story and character development in relation to their evolving rough cuts while working with six award-winning documentarians (four editors and two directors) serving as Creative Advisors.

Modeled after Sundance Institute’s Directors and Screenwriters Labs, the Documentary Edit and Story Lab offers participating Fellows the opportunity to collaborate with and be mentored by accomplished filmmakers. In keeping with Sundance Institute’s mission, the Lab is designed to assemble independent artists with original voices who, as a group, reflect stylistic and cultural diversity.

Editors serving as Creative Advisors include:





Fellows will also be working with directors:



The participants for the 2006 Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab are:

Maria Teresa Larrain, director and Ricardo Acosta, editor THE TRIAL OF PASCUAL PICHUN (Chile)

A conflict between wealthy landowners and the Mapuches (Native people of Chile) in the remote areas of rural Chile is the topic of THE TRIAL OF PASCUAL PICHUN. This timely, moving story focuses on the conflict as it takes on new urgency when the Mapuches are threatened with displacement, and acts of vandalism against private buildings and property are reported. The clash reaches new heights when Pascual Pichun, a politically vocal Mapuche, is placed on trial as a terrorist under a new Chilean law with serious implications for future cases, and for the fate of Chile’s indigenous population.

Maria Teresa Larrain is a Chilean born independent filmmaker. She studied law and drama in Chile, and then left her country to move to Canada where she has lived for the last twenty-eight years. With THE TRIAL OF PASCUAL PICHUN, Larrain has recently returned to her homeland. Most of Larrain’s work has focused on social issues, including the struggles of immigrant groups and women in Canada and in Latin America.

Senain Kheshgi, director, Geeta Patel, director, and Billy McMillin, editor PROJECT KASHMIR (U.S.A.)

Two American women, one Hindu and the other Muslim, sneak into their shared ancestral home of Kashmir to discover the truth behind the conflict in the region, long the site of sectarian clashes. As they explore and attempt to conduct interviews, the two filmmakers come face to face with the mystery surrounding the religious, cultural and political fault-lines that have come to define modern Kashmir. Through their struggle for answers, they are forced to examine the relevance and impact of the seemingly unsolvable tensions within their own lives and identities, and in the lives of the divided South Asian community in the United States.

Senain Kheshgi, a 2005 Rockefeller Award Winner, is a Pakistani-American documentary filmmaker who has produced, written and directed projects for numerous networks, including CNN, ABC News, Discovery and A& E. In 1999, she co-produced her first feature documentary, THE FIRST YEAR, with distinguished documentary film director Davis Guggenheim. The film was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody award for Excellence in Journalism, and broadcast on PBS nationwide in 2001.

Geeta Patel is a screenwriter and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Currently, she serves on the Artistic Board of the Los Angeles diasporic festival Artwallah and on the Advisory Board for the Center for Multi-faith Education in New York City. With her mentor, Emmy Award Winning Screenwriter and Producer Kario Salem, Patel has worked on projects with Disney, Universal Pictures, ABC, Paramount, Imagine Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox. The research for her first novel entitled, The Laughing, led to the making of PROJECT KASHMIR, with Senain Kheshgi.

Billy McMillin is a Sundance Award-winning Seattle-based editor for film and television. Recently, he edited the feature-length documentary IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS. He has worked in various areas of production including roles as Re-Creation Director/ Producer for the History Channel series Tech Effect and Absolute Evel: The Evel Knivel Story

Aaron Matthews, director and editor THE PAPER (U.S.A.)

THE PAPER is a revealing glimpse of the pressures and challenges of modern journalism as faced by the staff of a university newspaper embroiled in controversy. Following a year in the life of the campus newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania, this documentary shows what happens when a group of students, many of them considering careers in journalism, come face to face with the tensions inherent in the field: barriers to investigative reporting, circulation and the bottom line of profits, accusations of bias, and the quest for the elusive standard of “balance” in reporting. The film is a revealing portrait of the individuals whose disillusionment and determination is shaping the news we’ll read tomorrow.

For over 10 years Aaron Matthews has been making award-winning documentaries that have appeared on national and international television and in numerous film festivals around the world. His film MY AMERICAN GIRLS, about one Dominican family’s immigrant experiences in Brooklyn, won the Best Documentary Award at the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and aired throughout Europe and Latin America. It is currently being broadcast nationwide on the Discovery Times Channel. Matthews previous award-winning films, TADDO (about the oldest barber in Brooklyn) and THE ART OF THE MOMENT (an in depth look at three professional New York improvisers) played at numerous festivals around the country and have been broadcast on the History Channel, as well as Public Television.

Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini, directors MY AMERICAN DREAM (U.S.A.)

MY AMERICAN DREAM project provides an unprecedented glimpse into the backstairs of the American political process and the people who drive the machinery of public policy, as well as a close-up view of the nationwide struggle over immigration. From the very corridors of power in Washington to political hotspots in such diverse areas as Iowa, Kansas, and Arizona, the film documents the strategies and maneuvers of political insiders as they navigate an ever-changing political landscape complicated by 9/11, the War on

Terror, and related developments that have brought immigration to the forefront of American political consciousness.

Shari Robertson grew up in Texas and New Mexico where she trained in anthropology and ethnographic film. Since then, some of Robertson’s films have followed young Khmer Rouge guerrillas across Cambodian minefields (INSIDE THE KHMER ROUGE), captured Indian archaeologists fighting to restore the wondrous ancient temple of Angkor Wat (TEMPLE UNDER SIEGE), and explored the tragic-comic crossroads of domestic politics and the American drug war in Peru (WE AIN’T WINNIN’).

Michael Camerini shoots, directs and produces films and documentary series’ that have moved across geographical and subject areas as diverse as women’s rights and social change in India (DADI’S FAMILY); and the struggle to balance religious and cultural identity with mainstream values in the United States

(BORN AGAIN; BECOMING BUDDHA IN L.A.). Camerini’s approach to filmmaking is notable for a camera technique that is fluid and non-intrusive, and a style of filming that encourages people to tell their own stories, whatever the cultural context. Camerini’s interest lies in what it means to be a foreigner, it is the unifying theme in his work.