Intensive seven month film lab modeled on Sundance, Binger and Turin and created by the Sam Spiegel Film & TV School brings 12 film-makers to Israel this week including Alvaro Brechner, Nadav Lapid, Burhan Qurnabi and Ernesto Contreras.

A new Sundance-style film lab is being launched this week in Israel.

The Jerusalem International Film Lab, created by the prestigious Sam Spiegel Film & Television School-Jerusalem, is based on the model which has worked successfully for Sundance, Binger in Amsterdam and Turin as a means to foster the scripts of young film-making talent.

The film lab is the brainchild of Renen Schorr, the director and founder of the Sam Spiegel school. He will serve as director, alongside Avishay Kahana and Ifat Tubi.

12 writer-directors will work with world-class script editors over seven months to hone and refine their next projects for production.

They are:

Tsivia Barkai (Israel)

Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay)

Ernesto Contreras (Mexico)

Chaim Elbaum (Israel)

Philippe Lacote (Ivory Coast-France)

Nadav Lapid (Israel)

Asaph Polonsky (Israel)

Burhan Qurnabi (Germany)

Shimon Shay (Israel)

Dominga Sotomayor (Argentina)

Michael Vinik (Israel)

Malik Vitthal (US)

Some of those young directors have already achieved international profile. Lapid’s Policeman was in Locarno, Toronto and London this year, Qurnabi’s Shahada was in competition at Berlin in February, Brechner’s Bad Day To Go Fishing was selected for Critics Week at Cannes in 2009, and Contreras’ Blue Eyelids was also selected for Cannes Critics Week in 2007.

“The twelve film projects selected are extraordinarily poignant, politically sassy thought-provoking scripts that have already aroused the interest of leading producers internationally,” said Schorr. “We are already conducting advanced-level dialogues with a number of them.”

This Friday (Dec 2), the 12 selected film-makers, six from around the world and six from Israel, will arrive in Jerusalem with an intensive week of work alongside script editors Clare Downs from Eave workshops, Gino Ventriglia of Turin Film Lab and Israel’s Hagai Levi, the creator of hit TV series In Treatment.

In March 2012, the participants will return to Jerusalem to work on a further draft of the scripts; they will be joined by French script editor Jacques Akchoti who will offer each film-maker a second opinion. In between the two meeting periods, the writers will continue their collaboration with the script editors via email and telephone.

In July 2012, during the Jerusalem Film Festival, the participants will come to the city for a third time with their producers to present the final scripts before an audience of international industry professionals and a panel of international judges. The panel will select the two winning projects which will be awarded production grants totaling $80,000. An additional prize of $25,000 will be awarded by the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund for an exceptional script whose story is set in Jerusalem.

The panel of judges will include several members of the Jerusalem Film Lab’s international advisory committee namely Olivier Pere of the Locarno Film Festival, Georges Goldenstern of the Cannes Film Festival, Sonja Heinen from the Berlinale, Alesia Weston of the Sundance Institute, Joana Vicente of IFP New York, Savina Neirotti of the Turin Film Lab, US producer Antony Bregman and Katriel Schory of the Israel Film Fund.

The Lab has an annual operating budget of $0.45m and is a cooperative joint venture of the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School-Jerusalem and the Cultural Administration of the Israeli Ministry Of Culture, the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund of the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Israel State Lottery Council for Culture and the Arts.

Other supporting organisations include the Jerusalem Foundation, Mishkanot Sha’ananim, the Israeli Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, the Kronhill Pletka Foundation, the Israel Film Fund, the Russel Berrie Foundation, the French Institute in Tel Aviv, the American Institute in Jerusalem, BI ARTS – British Israeli Arts Training Scheme and the Geothe Institut, Jerusalem.