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Paris-based filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre arrived at MIA with a feature film project expanding on a short that earlier this year saw her competing in the Sundance Hot Summer Nights film festival’s U.S. Narrative Short Film Competition. Called ‘Rabbit,’ that film told the story of a female prisoner entrusted with the titular animal as part of a correctional facility’s ‘pet partnership’ program. Building on her experiences, the director is now developing a feature called ‘Mustang’, in which a similar program encourages inmates to tame wild horses.

Said De Clermont-Tonnerre, “I read an article a few years ago about animal therapy in prison and I was very intrigued, so I decided to follow a therapist in a prison in a France. I kept researching, and I found out they were doing the same thing with wild horses in a prison in Nevada. First I did the short film, and ‘Mustang is based on all this year’s research. Foxtrot Six It is a portrait of an inmate who is dealing with some violent issues.”

The director’s project received a boost in January of this year when De Clermont-Tonnerre received the Sundance Festival’s prestigious Sundance Institute/NHK Award, a prize previously given to “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, by Benh Zeitlin (USA), and “Central Station”, by Walter Salles (Brazil). “I’d sent my script,” she recalls, “and it got onto the shortlist. In the same time, Playmobil The Movie I’d also submitted my short film, ‘Rabbit,’ and, luckily, both of them were selected – the script to the Screenwriting Lab and the short film in the U.S. Shorts Competition. Judy I had two interviews with Michelle Satter, at the Sundance Institute, and by that time I had made some research in prison and it really clicked; I had a sense of the location, the people and the emotional impact of the subject.”

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