Sundance ShortsLab Philadelphia

March 9, 2014

Recognizing the important role shorts have in cinema, storytelling, and culture, Sundance Institute presents ShortsLab: Philadelphia to help empower the next generation of artists. Filmmakers are invited to participate in this half-day seminar of Sundance-organized panels and discussions to offer firsthand insight and access into the world of story development,  production, working with cast and crew, and how to get the most out of making a short film.

Register here

ShortsLab is intended for anyone involved with filmmaking – writers, directors, producers, actors, all crew – that are interested in making a short, or have made a few shorts and want to continue making shorts and features. Whatever your film goal is, we will give advice to help the process.
Scheduled Speakers:

Cherien Dabis received her MFA in film from Columbia University. She has written, directed, produced and edited several short films including MAKE A WISH, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Dabis worked for three seasons as a writer and co-producer on Showtime´s groundbreaking, original hit series The L Word. In 2009, her feature directorial debut AMREEKA world-premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, opened New Director´s/New Films at MoMA, and won the prestigious FIPRESCI award at the Directors´ Fortnight at Cannes. Her second feature MAY IN THE SUMMER was a project in the 2010 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and premiered in competition at Sundance 2013.


Madeleine Olnek is a writer and director who honed her skills in downtown New York City venues with over 20 produced plays–all comedies. She is one of the authors of A Practical Handbook for the Actor, was awarded the William Goldman Screenwriting Fellowship and the Adrienne Shelly Award/Grant for Best Female Director at Columbia University Film School. Her first film, the comedy short HOLD UP, was presented at Sundance in 2006. She returned to Sundance in 2009 with another award-winning comedy short, COUNTERTRANSFERENCE. Olnek’s debut feature comedy, CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME, premiered at the 2011 Sundance film festival. She and her new feature, THE FOXY MERKINS, were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and was part of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.


Carter Smith’s first short film, BUGCRUSH, received the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. His script with Dennis Cooper, “Warm”, was a project at the 2006 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. He then directed his debut feature, THE RUINS, for DreamWorks. His next short, YEARBOOK, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD is his second feature and premiered at Sundance 2014 in competition. It marks his return to character studies focused on the teenage psyche and small-town life. Smith’s fashion photography and celebrity portraits can be seen regularly in Vogue, Elle, Allure, and GQ.
Event runs until approx. 4:00pm.

ShortsLab Philadelphia is presented by Sundance Institute. The program is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.