New Works-in-Progress Forum

Participate in the filmmaker's journey with four works-in-progress sessions.

In a collaboration that highlights the Festival's reputation for unearthing global voices and recognizes its revered, cinephile audience, the New Works-in-Progress Forum will, for the first time, bring selected audience members into the creative process and add a dynamic, next-level component at a critical junction in the filmmaker's journey. This inaugural initiative, held June 8-9, 2017, will comprise two fictional narratives and two documentaries culled from around the globe. Also included in the program are mentors from film-industry sectors such as distribution, acquisitions, press, and representation, adding a wide breadth of diverse and independent voices to the conversation as an additional launch pad for the filmmaker's work. This program is perfect for anyone who believes deeply in cinema and wants to be a part of the creative process in visual storytelling.

Buy individual tickets below, or a full pass for entry to all sessions. All sessions are 2 1/2 hours in length and take place at the SIFF Film Center.

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Works-in-Progress Documentary Session One: A Good Week for Democracy

Sweden | 150 minutes | Cecilia Björk

June 8, 2017

The first documentary session of SIFF's New Works-in-Progress Forum, featuring A Good Week for Democracy and Children of Arbat.

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Works-in-Progress Documentary Session One: Children of Arbat

Sweden | 150 minutes | Hemen Kurda

June 8, 2017

The first documentary session of SIFF's New Works-in-Progress Forum, featuring Children of Arbat and A Good Week for Democracy.

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Works-in-Progress Narrative Session One: Julia Blue

USA | 150 minutes | Roxy Toporowych

June 8, 2017

The first narrative session of SIFF's New Works-in-Progress Forum, featuring Julia Blue.

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Works-in-Progress Documentary Session Two: The Silk and The Flame

USA | 150 minutes | Jordan Schiele

June 9, 2017

The second documentary session of SIFF's New Works-in-Progress Forum, featuring The Silk and The Flame.

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Works-in-Progress Narrative Session Two: Retablo

Peru | 150 minutes | Alavaro Delgado Aparicio

June 9, 2017

The second narrative session of SIFF's New Works-in-Progress Forum, featuring Retablo.

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Narrative Mentor: Chelsea Marelle Benson

Chelsea Marelle Benson came to Echo Lake after earning her Master's Degree in Producing from AFI in Los Angeles.  She holds a BA degree in Film Production (with a minor in Literature) and a BFA degree in Dance from the University of Arizona.  As a performer, she brings a unique perspective on entertainment as it relates to film and television and provides a fresh approach to the management team at Echo Lake.

Narrative Mentor: Lael Lowenstein

A former president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Lael Loewenstein regularly reviews films on KPCC's Film Week with Larry Mantle. During the two plus decades she has been covering film, she has reviewed movies for Variety and the L.A. Times, profiled directors for DGA Quarterly, and previewed new releases for KNBC. She has also written E! Online's daily Cannes Film Festival Coverage and served on juries and participated in panels from Palm Springs to COLCOA.  A graduate of Wesleyan University's film program and UCLA's graduate program in film studies, Lael has taught classes on criticism, film history and the business of film to undergraduates in Los Angeles and Sarajevo.

Documentary Mentor: Monika Navarro

Monika Navarro is the Senior Manager, Content & Initiatives at ITVS and joined in 2017. Monika made her directorial debut with Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas) with the support of ITVS and the documentary premiered on Independent Lens. She has worked in public media ever since—from the Peabody award-winning PBS series "The Latino Americans", to producing for WGBH-Boston's World Channel. Monika attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University.

Documentary Mentor: David Nugent

Based in New York City, David Nugent has worked throughout the independent and documentary film world. After receiving an award for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University in 2000, he moved to New York where he taught the history of documentary and American independent film at the New School for 10 years. Upon arriving in New York, he co-wrote Isaac Julien's three screen installation piece BALTIMORE. Nugent previously worked as the Program Director for DocuClub and the Director of Programming for the Newport International Film Festival.

He is now the Artistic Director for the Hamptons International Film Festival where he also directs the festival's annual Screenwriting Lab and produces and programs an annual showcase of documentaries called SummerDocs with Festival co-chairman Alec Baldwin. He has been a juror for the Student Academy Awards as well as the Sarasota, Newport International, Silverdocs, Galway, Gen Art, Doc NYC and NewFest Film Festivals.  He has written festival coverage for Indiewire and participated on panels at the Sundance Film Festival, the Dubai Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, South by Southwest, IFP's Independent Film Week & Script to Screen Conference, BAFTA and for the PGA. Nugent is a founding member of the nominating committee for the Cinema Eye Awards, as well as a judge for the International Documentary Association and has been a member of the Selection Committee for the Gotham Awards, and IFP's Independent Film Week.  He has delivered guest lectures at Harvard University, and spoken at Columbia University, Pratt Institute and Hunter College and served as a judge for student films at both New York University and the School for Visual Arts.

Documentary Mentor: Shane Smith

Shane Smith is Director of Programming at Hot Docs, North America's largest Festival and Market for documentary film.

Smith previously worked at the Toronto International Film Festival as the director of Special Projects, where he oversaw initiatives and events including TIFF40 celebrations, TIFF in the Park, Nuit Blanche, TIFF Kids International Film Festival, the Film Reference Library, digiPlaySpace traveling exhibition and Short Cuts programming for the Festival. Previously, he was the director of Public Programs at TIFF.

Prior to joining TIFF he worked as Executive Producer, In-Flight Entertainment at Spafax, overseeing all entertainment offerings on Air Canada. He was previously Director of Programming at Channel Zero Inc overseeing the digital cable operators' programming of Silver Screen Classics and Movieola- the Short Film Channel. Other positions include Director of the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, Short Film Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and Programmer for Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. He is the Founder and Co-Director of OzFlix: Australian Film Weekend in Toronto.

Smith has served on juries, or participated on panels at festivals and events around the world including Sundance, Cannes, Sheffield Doc Fest, DocNYC, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Guadalajara International Film Festival, Sao Paulo and Rio Short Film Festivals, Encounters Film Festival Bristol, and Bangkok International Film Festival.

He is not the guy from Vice.

Narrative Mentor: Alesia Weston

Alesia Weston is a Consultant to Independent Filmmakers and Film Festivals.  During her decade as head of Sundance Institute's year-round International Feature Film Program, she spearheaded the Screenwriters Labs in The Middle East, India, Turkey, Israel and South Africa, oversaw the Sundance/NHK Award, The Sundance /Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award and the international work of the Writers/Directors Labs in Utah.

In 2012, she became Executive Director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Jerusalem Film Festival and Israel Film Archives.

She is as a founding member of the Advisory Boards of the Torino Film Lab and Jerusalem Film Lab.