Currently, Cine Qua Non Lab holds an annual call for applicants of its core program, the Script Revision Lab in English. 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 and 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, a pilot workshop for screenwriters was held in Villa d’Acqua at the initiative of Jesús Pimentel Melo, Ladimer Haluke and Sarita Khurana. Five filmmakers from Columbia University took part in this workshop — Jeannie Donohoe (USA), Jesús Pimentel Melo (Mexico), Julie Buck (USA), Luis Trelles (Puerto Rico) and Sarita Khurana (USA/India). 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).
Based on the success of the pilot workshop, in 2010 Cine Qua Non Lab was officially founded by Jesús Pimentel Melo, Ladimer Haluke, Sarita Khurana, Lucila Moctezuma and Christina Lazaridi as an artists’ residency for filmmakers from throughout the world. Since then, Cine Qua Non Lab has held an annual international workshop for independent screenwriters from around the world — the Script Revision Lab.