Articles by

Jasmine Rivera

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    This article is cross posted from Sundance Film Festival.  Sundance Institute hosted its inaugural Screenwriters Intensive in Detroit with support from Knight Foundation. The morning of the Sundance Institute Detroit Screenwriters Intensive, 13 writers, including myself, gathered at the University of Michigan’s Detroit outreach office. We came with anticipation, nervousness, and curiosity as to how the day’s events would unfold. As we nervously nibbled at the breakfast buffet and shyly introduced ourselves over coffee the same thought undoubtedly ran through many of our minds: How did I get here? I for one had never imagined that I would ever attend a Sundance Institute workshop, much less one held in Detroit. Overworked and overwrought due to the post-production schedule of my latest project, as a filmmaker I felt burnt out over the creative process, a fatigue borne of budget worries and too many hours in the editing bay. The last feature I had written had been abandoned, left to sit in a file after frustrating multiple attempts to revise my way out of a writing rut that left me disheartened about my abilities. So it was with immense surprise that I learned that my script, submitted on a skeptical whim, had been accepted into the intensive. As I listened to the other fellows describe their own projects, I was humbled by their dedication to their work. The variety of stories was an amazing collection of inspirations and viewpoints, gathered from a scattering of writers from all over the metro Detroit area. I immediately saw the genius of the Sundance intensives, held in cities across the country in order to identify and nurture writers and filmmakers who, though far from the epicenters of independent filmmaking like New York and Hollywood, create stories sprung from their unique experiences and the communities that shaped their lives. Each and every one of these scripts would make for powerful films that should be seen, heard, and celebrated. To have all those ideas in one room was a feast of inspiration.