Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota is pleased to announce the four artists selected to receive the 2016 McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists. This year’s fellows are Nicole Brending of St. Paul, and Michael Forstein, Isaac Gale, and Dan Schneidkraut of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“The national panel that chose these four fellows was blown away by the high quality of work in our state,” said Andrew Peterson, IFP Minnesota’s Executive Director. “This year’s fellows are an amazing group, and their body of work represents a diversity of media arts not often seen for this fellowship, including screenplays, documentaries, and music videos, as well as both traditional- and experimental-narrative films.”
The McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists support mid-career artists residing in Minnesota whose work is of exceptional artistic merit. The $25,000 fellowships will enable these four artists to study, reflect, experiment, and explore over a twelve month period with support and assistance from IFP Minnesota and The McKnight Foundation.
In addition to the cash award, the program supports its fellows by creating opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, by organizing a year-end McKnight Retrospective featuring the fellows, by providing assistance to attend the annual Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, and by offering special class and workshop opportunities through IFP Minnesota.
The fellowships are funded by a generous grant from The McKnight Foundation and administered by IFP Minnesota.
2016 McKnight Media Artist Fellowship Recipients
Nicole Brending is a screenwriter, director and performer whose work has screened at over 50 festivals worldwide and been honored by the Berlin International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest, and the Walker Arts Center’s Women In Film Series, among others. Her work has been supported by the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Ezra Litwak Foundation, and the Milos Foreman Finishing Fund. As a screenwriter she has developed projects with producer Robert Evans, director Catherine Hardwicke, director Steven Shainberg, actress Nicole Kidman, TV veteran Cheryl Dolins, Tom Dolby, and Natalie Portman’s production company Handsome Charlie. Her short film SELFIED is screening In Competition at the upcoming Moscow International Film Festival. She is currently in pre-production on a film starring Olafur Darri Olafsson and Joseph Sikora with Alexa Fogel producing. She received her MFA in Film from Columbia University and is represented by Ann Blanchard (TV) and Chris Till (Literary) at Creative Artists Agency.
Michael Forstein is a director and producer from Minneapolis. His work has screened at film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, AFI, and Rooftop Films. His most recent film, MEAT, screened at over 30 festivals across the United States, Europe, and Australia, and was featured on Short of the Week. In between making films he’s helped show them for organizations like the Tribeca Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and Walker Art Center. He has taught master classes in filmmaking at the San Francisco Academy of Art, University of Texas-Arlington, and IFP-Minnesota.
Isaac Gale is a filmmaker and musician from Minneapolis, MN. Since 2005, he has made over 80 music videos and numerous documentary and experimental short films. His music video work has been shown on Vice, Pitchfork, MTV, Paper Magazine, Interview Magazine, and at the SXSW Film Festival. His experimental, collaborative video project for the band Bon Iver “Bon Iver (Deluxe)” was featured by Time Magazine. His documentary short film, “Sweet Crude Man Camp” screened at film festivals around the world, winning several awards including “Best Documentary Short” at Edindocs and Indie Memphis, and was featured by the New York Times Magazine and Hot Shoe International. He has toured extensively with his experimental music project Marijuana Deathsquads. Recent filmmaking adventures have taken him on a road trip through the Midwest commissioned by Aperture Foundation, and to Havana, Cuba, documenting the emergence of a skateboarding culture among youth there. He has two hilarious cats.
Dan Schneidkraut is a writer/director/editor and sometimes camera operator currently residing in Minneapolis. A recipient of 2010 The McKnight Fellowship For Filmmaking and the 2015 Creative Capital Grant for Moving Image, he has been recognized primarily for his experimental narrative projects (SEEKING WELLNESS, INVINCIBLE FORCE) but recently delved into the documentary form with a personal exploration of fatherhood and the death of record stores entitled OLD MAN. His work has been called “very peculiar” (Star Tribune 2016), “unsettling” (Pioneer Press 2016), “uncomfortable to watch” (Urban Cinephile, 2009), “sublime yet terrifying” (Filmstock, 2008), “stunningly depraved” (Melbourne Underground, 2009) and “the kind of thinky/sadistic exercise that even the dark prince of psychological horror Michael Haneke might find difficult to watch” (City Pages, 2008). Dan’s most recent project, a feature documentary entitled VORE KING, is a detailed portrait of the world’s most prolific creator of carnivorous sex monsters.
2016 McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists Selection Panel
There were three professionals who served as panelists, selecting four fellows from 62 total applicants.
Mick Casale is an award-winning writer of works for the stage and screen. An internationally known script doctor, dramaturge and consultant on hundred of scripts for short, feature, documentary films, television shows, theatrical plays, and nightclub and stand up acts. Mick was a Bush Fellow at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre where he received an MFA in Creative Writing. He has been a teacher of dramatic writing at New York University’s acclaimed Graduate Department of Film and Television for the last 30 years, where he has been has been honored as an NYU Distinguished Professor, nominated for the David Payne Award for Excellence in Teaching three times, and as Head of Screenwriting, has taught some of today’s finest young filmmakers. As a writer, his current work includes Somebody To Love, a feature film, winner of the Tribeca All-Access script writing prize, directed by award winning director Alrick Brown, starring Wendell Pierce and Melvin Van Peebles; The Loser, a feature adaptation of a story by writer Gay Talese; and Action Precedes Explanation, book on screenwriting, set to be published later this year.
Kamal Sinclair is a producer, community arts leader and multi-disciplinary artist. She currently serves as the Director of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs Program, which supports artists working at the convergence of film, art, media and technology; and as artist and producer on the Question Bridge: Black Males transmedia art project. At New Frontier, she partners with Chief Curator, Shari Frilot, to development and platform landmark projects in the evolution of story, including experimentations with virtual reality, augmented reality, data intelligence as storytelling mediums. At Question Bridge, she and her collaborators launched an interactive website and curriculum; published an book; exhibited in over forty museums and festivals, including Brooklyn Museum and Sundance Film Festival; and won International Center for Photography’s 2015 Infinity Award for New Media. Previously, Kamal worked as a Transmedia Producer at 42 Entertainment on projects such as J.J. Abrams’ Legends of Alcatraz, Mark of the Spider-Man and Random Acts of Fusion; and as Principal at Strategic Arts Consulting. Her professional career began as a cast member of the Off-Broadway hit STOMP and founding artistic director of Universal Arts. She graduated cum laude with both her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her MBA from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.
Ryan Werner runs Cinetic Marketing, a marketing and publicity firm that specializes in high quality and award-winning cinema. The company works with distributors, film festivals and filmmakers directly. Upcoming films include Cannes Jury Prize winner THE LOBSTER starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner WEINER, Sundance Best Director winners the Daniels’ SWISS ARMY MAN, Berlinale Golden Bear winner FIRE AT SEA, Berlinale Best Director winner THINGS TO COME, Cannes Best Director winner Olivier Assayas’ PERSONAL SHOPPER starring Kristen Stewart, and Cristian Mungiu’s GRADUATION. The company also represents The Criterion Collection and Janus Films. Previously he was Senior Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for over 7 years at IFC Films, where he helped launch the company’s groundbreaking day-and-date strategy, as well as with overseeing the release of hundreds of films. He has also worked at Magnolia Pictures, Wellspring, Palm Pictures, Shooting Gallery, Sundance Channel and IFP. In addition, he has worked on the programming of BAMcinemaFest, the Woodstock Film Festival and the Philadelphia International Film Festival.
About The McKnight Artist Fellowships Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, The McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1981. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 10 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $1.7 million per year to its statewide fellowships. For more information, visit mcknight.org/artistfellowships.
About The McKnight Foundation The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $88 million in 2015. Learn more at mcknight.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.