Pretty much everyone involved with screenwriter Lucy Alibar‘s first film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, was a virtual or total unknown. That won’t be the case for her next project, however. Alibar is set to team with Guillermo del Toro on The Secret Garden, Universal’s adaptation of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel.

While the pair are coming from different levels of the Hollywood hierarchy, they should make for a good match. Both have previously explored heavy, bittersweet themes through tales about young people navigating fantasy worlds — Alibar with Beasts, del Toro with Pan’s Labyrinth. Plus, the involvement of del Toro makes just about any film better. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Forget costumed heroes, vampire hunters, rogue assassins, and ’80s action stars — the summer flick I’m really dying to see centers around a six-year-old girl. Beasts of the Southern Wild, a fantasy drama from first-time director Benh Zeitlin, flew almost completely under the radar before it hit Sundance in January. In the months since, however, it feels like no one’s been able to stop raving about it.

That kind of buzz can get downright annoying when a film takes too long to jump from the festival circuit into theaters, but fortunately Fox Searchlight isn’t holding out too long for this one and has it slated to open later this month. The first trailer released last month offered a small glimpse of the movie’s magic, and now they’ve given us an enchanting new clip and an intriguing featurette to go with it.

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Sundance Labs

Sundance has announced the 12 projects they have chosen for the 2009 Directors and Screenwriters lab. Why should you care? Well because the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has hand picked some of the most original filmmakers of the last 28 years.

Here are some of the films that have come out of the program: Quentin Tarantino‘s Reservoir Dogs, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Hard Eight, Kimberly Peirce‘s Boy’s Don’t Cry, Darren Aronofsky‘s Requiem for a Dream, John Cameron Mitchell‘s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Peter Sollett‘s Raising Victor Vargas, Miranda July‘s Me and You and Everyone We Know, Ryan Fleck‘s Half Nelson, and most recently Cary Fukunaga‘s Sin Nombre and Alex Rivera‘s Sleep Dealer.

So, what 12 projects have been chosen for this year’s Summer labs? Find out after the jump.
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