Sundance Institute announced today the members of the six juries awarding prizes at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The Festival is the centerpiece of the year-round public programs for the Institute, which also hosts 24 residency labs and grants more than $2.5 million to independent artists each year.
Brit Marling, Elizabeth Olsen, Edward Burns, Terrence Howard and Gabourey Sidibe all came to Park City as relative unknowns and emerged as highly sought-after talents. With the 2014 edition of the Sundance Film Festival launching tomorrow, the springboard is loaded. Here’s Indiewire’s picks for the 10 actors to watch this year.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “arbitrage” is “the nearly simultaneous purchase and sale of securities or foreign exchange in different markets in order to profit from price discrepancies.” I don’t really understand what that means, so I am providing an alternate definition for the intelligence impaired. ARBITRAGE is “a dramatic thriller set in the world of high finance that is also one of the most buzzed about titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” That’s a lot easier to understand, right? I think so. Let’s give Mr. Merriam and Lord Webster or whoever it is a ring and tell them it’s time to update that book.
Recently I’ve seen two very different films that deal explicitly with grief, Mia Hansen-Løve’s THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN and Mike Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH. One’s a drama, and very French at that. The other a science fiction melodrama, and quite American. I saw them nearly back to back and the experience inspired a few thoughts. First, WOW – these directors are really young (Love 29 when she made her film; Cahill 32). Second, how bold (in a good way) to mine this experience of family and loss from an adult (parent, spouse) perspective from the other side (that is, under 40). Third, does it work?
It’s kind of puzzling to me that ANOTHER EARTH is billed as a science fiction/fantasy/drama. The story of Rhoda (Brit Marling), a young woman who kills a man’s wife and child in a car accident and then tries to atone for her mistake, is more like a quietly played drama set against a backdrop of space travel to a second, identical planet Earth. Still, it’s that backdrop as well as the film’s deftly handled inclusion of the complicated physics and math involved in the exciting multiuniverse theory that made it a shoe-in for the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance earlier this year. And all science aside, the muted way the film portrays the moral dilemma Rhoda is faced with made it an only all too worthy winner of the festival’s Special Jury Prize as well.
One of the best films I saw at SXSW this year was SOUND OF MY VOICE, a lean, disturbing micro-thrill of a film that features strong relationships as well as a strong genre bend. The film debuted at Sundance 2011’s NEXT series and the director, Zal Batmanglij, co-wrote the screenplay with his enigmatic star Brit Marling. An actress with no formal training, Marling dominates the screen in this small vehicle, which makes the other performances less compelling (this is due mostly to a brief bout of clichéd writing).
(Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images)
It’s been a long week—exhilarating, grueling, and never, ever dull—but Sundance 2011 is officially over. The stars, the studio executives, and the filmmakers have all packed up their North Face gear and headed home, wherever that may be.
Looking back on the last several days, there were some amazing, quintessentially Sundance-ian moments. We got to meet Robert Redford! We got to talk to young, idealistic, and extremely talented new artists (Brit Marling, Mike Cahill, for instance) whom we will certainly be hearing more from, and who are a reminder of Sundance’s real purpose (beyond an excuse to see a lot of great movies in the middle of a snowy paradise). As Marling told us, just following the premiere of ANOTHER EARTH, “I feel so lucky to be a part of this. Sundance is bringing together all these people and you know, brings them all into this little, this tiny town in the middle of the snow, and everyone can just talk and revel in ideas and make them into realities. It’s pretty awesome.”
As the 2011 Sundance Film Festival heads into its awards ceremony tonight and then, tomorrow, its final day, the festival-film trends are still emerging. The Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik has spotted another one: economic hardship, which he calls “a veritable through-line” in many of this year’s selections.
Brit Marling (Photo credit: Yvan Rodic / Face Hunter)
An economics major and an internship at Goldman Sachs as the path to Sundance? For Brit Marling, who stars and co-wrote not one but two films premiering here (ANOTHER EARTH and SOUND OF MY VOICE), and who’s been tagged as one of this year’s “It” girls
Just a few summers ago, the blonde, ethereal actress was studying economics at Georgetown University, which led to a summer on Wall Street. This led to disillusionment, which led to dropping out of school and moving to Cuba. Which led to making a documentary (BOXERS AND BALLERINAS) with a friend from school. Which led to going back to school, graduating, and moving to LA. Which led to more disillusionment.
“The things I would go read for, as a young, unknown actor, were pretty awful,” Marling said yesterday, curled up on a sofa, wearing a clingy floral dress and leather boots. “And people keep telling you, ‘Just do this stuff,’ this, like, horror film where you’re the girl in the bikini running from the man with the axe.”