Five Alumni Participate In Cine Qua Non Lab's Storylines Lab

BY Felix van Kann, September 3, 2020

Five Columbia alumni and their projects have been chosen to participate in Cine Qua Non Lab's Storylines LabI Don’t Dream in Spanish Anymore by Missy Hernandez '17, Narrows by Lena Rudnick '14, Think of Me by David Barba '05, Yasmine/Jasmine by Yossera Bouchtia '19, as well as Guitar God by Matt Kenchington ‘13 are among the 21 participants in the workshop designed for narrative feature film projects from early concept to treatment stage.


The lab – which is currently being held online until the end of September instead of its usual location of Tzintzuntzan, a small town in the state of Michoacán, Mexico – aims to give independent filmmakers from around the world the opportunity to work intensively on the creative development of their projects. In addition to a mentorship program and one-and-one meetings, the participants get to workshop their materials with other international filmmakers, be part of a community of like-minded artists, and access the Cine Qua Non Lab film professional network.


In I Don’t Dream in Spanish Anymore by Missy Hernandez, a frantic warning from a woman she believes to be the ghost of her dead mother sends Isabel on a mission to reconnect with her clairvoyant Abuela in order to undo the curse that has followed their family from Puerto Rico to Chicago and plagued them for generations.

Missy Hernandez is a filmmaker, writer, actor and assistant professor in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago. Her most recent film and television credits include associate producer for Terence Nance’s Peabody Award-winning television series Random Acts of Flyness, and writer/co-producer of American Thief, a feature narrative/documentary hybrid and social thriller (Jerome Foundation Grantee 2016, IFP Narrative Lab Participant 2017). Her television pilot script, Family Medicine, was a finalist for the 2020 Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition. Hernandez is currently in production for a short documentary about a close-knit family of Chicago-based Puerto Ricans struggling to stay close at a time where COVID-19 forces them to keep their distance.


In Narrows by Lena Rudnick, Maxine and Lee go to the Chesapeake Bay to clean out her mom’s house, but the task grows complicated when Maxine becomes convinced she’s possessed. A comedic-thriller about your worst nightmare — turning into your mother.


Lena Rudnick’s short films have shown at New York’s Lincoln Center, Miami International Film Festival, New York International Latino Film Festival, Saint-Tropez and will soon premiere on PBS. Her feature Daddy’s Girl, with Emmy-nominated Reka Posta producing, is currently in development. She is also developing a television comedy with Rebecca Thomas and Anonymous Content. Rudnick was a participant at Cine Qua Non Lab’s 2018 Script Revision Lab with her project Daddy’s Girl.


In Think of Me by David Barba, a gay couple’s relationship is threatened when one of their mothers is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moves from Puerto Rico into their one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.


David Barba is a Latinx filmmaker whose short films have screened at over 150 festivals around the world, garnered national and international awards and aired on Showtime, HBO Latino and AXN Network in Latin America. He has produced and co-directed three feature documentaries: Pop Star On Ice (2009), American Cheerleader (2014) and Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer (2018) which won the Audience Award at the 2017 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Barba served as co-creator, showrunner and executive producer on two seasons of the documentary series Be Good Johnny Weir (2010 & 2012). He is co-founder and co-director of the New York City Short Film Festival. Barba was a participant at Cine Qua Non Lab’s 2014 Script Revision Lab with his project La Paz.


In Yasmine/Jasmine by Yossera Bouchtia, a depressed daughter starts to receive haunting visions of her doppelgänger in a dream-like parallel reality, following the death of her mother. She returns to her homeland Morocco to bury her mother, find her absent father, and retrieve a part of herself she never knew.


Yossera Bouchtia is a Moroccan-American drama and thriller screenwriter/director. Her past film work has explored the role of religion and culture in shaping feminine identity and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Morocco World News. Most recently, she co-wrote and directed an Alfred P. Sloan-funded short film on the life and work of astronomer Vera Rubin. She currently lives in Virginia and is an Assistant Professor of Cinema at VCU School of the Arts.


In Guitar God by Matt Kenchington, after her prized guitar is stolen, Gigi, an apathetic narcissist with low self-esteem, forces herself to hit the highway with her 13-year-old, irritatingly precocious student to reclaim the guitar from her main suspect: music superstar John Mayer. Through a variety of comedic incidents, the unlikely duo ultimately learns about their faults, strengths, and the power of the human condition.


Matt Kenchington is a comedy filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He has directed and produced two award-winning seasons of the comedy web series Headshots and has written and directed several short films. His most recent short film, Turtle (2019), premiered at the Austin Film Festival and screened at a dozen festivals, winning numerous awards. Kenchington is presently pitching a TV series called Boca Heat, developing a docuseries called Housebroken, and developing a feature film, Guitar God.


Cine Qua Non Lab is a nonprofit organization based in Morelia, Mexico, and New York City, founded in 2010 with the mission of supporting independent cinema by providing a space for filmmakers to envision and develop their work and bringing them together to exchange ideas, share perspectives and find new opportunities for collaboration. Cine Qua Non Lab supports independent film that has a global and humanistic sensibility. Cine Qua Non Lab focuses on storytelling and holds residential workshops in English and Spanish in Tzintzuntzan, in a quiet natural retreat overlooking Lake Pátzcuaro, giving filmmakers from around the world the opportunity to work intensively on the development of their projects in a creative environment that provides not only incredible feedback, but also a lifelong community of like-minded artists.