L-R: Bryan Poyser, Kat Candler, Craig Zobel
Craig Zobel, Director, Compliance
went to what is now known as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts
in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
According to Zobel
, there was not too many bars in Winston-Salem, so he
and a lot of his
peers spent time watching movies.
After college, he briefly moved to Los Angeles, then moved back to the Southeastern United States, where he worked as a production manager for a number of years.
More recently, he directed the controversial film Compliance and served as a producer on Prince Avalanche, which played at SXSW.
Said Craig Zobel
Early on in his career, Craig Zobel founded Homestar Runner, and amassed a small fortune.
funneled this small fortune into his
first feature, The Great World of Sound.
his collaborator, Mike Chapman, landed some writing deals as a result of their Homestar Runner
Despite specializing in Screenwriting at NCSA, Zobel
was ill prepared for the professional duties that lied ahead of him.
"I was like, oh my God, I have to write!
Over the years, Zobel
pitched projects that he
wasn't too passionate about, but pitched them because he
Zobel also teaches a graduate class in directing at Columbia chimed in, saying that he got his job after teaching a master class.
knows this well.
After living in the Southeast for a number of years working as a PM, he
moved to New York.
Even though a lot of films are made in LA, Zobel opines that it may not be the best place to start a career in Indie Film.
doesn't see a lot of good films being made there, but that doesn't mean "That there aren't amazing, creative people in LA."
Mentor labs were highly praised during the panel.
has participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and Candler has participated in an IFP Lab
Both Candler and Zobel
praised the labs as opportunities to find more established mentors and forge lasting relationships with them.
A highlight of participating in the Sundance Lab for Zobel was meeting Scott Frank, the screenwriter of Out of Sight, one of his favorite movies.
According to Zobel
, Frank would say, "'Look, I really liked your last movie, and I really liked this and this and this, and I'd really like to see you put this in,' and push you in a way that maybe you would've been defensive to hear from someone else.
The labs, says Zobel
, were not so much about schmoozing as they were about cultivating new work relationships.