Cine Qua Non Lab’s mission is to provide a space for Mexican and international filmmakers to envision and develop their work, and to bring 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, and is inclusive of all cinematic forms, including narrative, documentary, experimental and animation work.
Currently, Cine Qua Non Lab holds an annual call for applicants of its core program, the Screenwriter’s Workshop. The residency allows talented filmmakers the opportunity to develop and revise their scripts in an intensive workshop that provides not only incredible feedback, but also a lifelong community of other like-minded filmmakers. Additionally, we believe that by bringing together a diverse group of filmmakers who have similar sensibilities about the kinds of films they want to make, the diversity will trigger new ideas, new formulas, and fresh perspectives for filmmaking.
In the longer run, Cine Qua Non Lab aims to support independent film projects by holding several workshops per year, in English and Spanish, and providing a residency space for stays of up to 12 weeks so that independent filmmakers and their production teams can work on their projects during the pre- and post-production stages of the film.
Cine Qua Non Lab was born out of Villa d’Acqua, an artists space created in 2001. During its first years of operation, Villa d’Acqua hosted, in an informal way, several Mexican independent filmmakers who wanted a quiet space to work on their projects. Some of the visitors over those years included Agustín Tapia & Anna Soler (directors) for “Los días sin Joyce”; Ricardo Benet (writer) for “Noticias Lejanas”; Lourdes Villagómez (animator) for Greatest Hits; Roberto Hurtado (music composer) for “Noticias Lejanas” and “Un Bel Morir”; and Elena Pardo (editor) for Lila Downs’ videos.
In 2008, Cine Qua Non Lab was officially founded by Jesús Pimentel-Melo, Ladimer Haluke and Sarita Khurana as an artist residency for filmmakers throughout the world. Our first Screenwriter’s Workshop was held in August 2008. Five filmmakers from Columbia University, from Mexico, New York and Puerto Rico, were invited to participate. For most of them, it was their first trip to Mexico and their first contact with the Mexican culture. The result was a one-week workshop with daily sessions of four hours to work on storylines and scripts for both short films and feature films. The workshop was very successful, since three of the scripts were produced the following year: “What Remains”, by Sarita Khurana (2010); “Public”, by Jeannie Donohoe (2010); and “Miramelinda”, by Luis Trelles and Jesús Pimentel Melo (2010). Since then, we have held an annual call for applicants from throughout the world of our Screenwriter’s Workshop.