festival sundance

13 Ways Of Looking At Sundance

13 Ways Of Looking At Sundance

While everyone talks about the Sundance Film Festival, anyone who has been here quickly realizes that there are many festivals, or, at least, many ways of looking at it.

Just as Wallace Stevens found “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird [www.writing.upenn.edu],” here are 13 perspectives on the festival.

Update: With A Bullet: Documentary Jury Winner Jason Kohn

Update: With A Bullet: Documentary Jury Winner Jason Kohn

UPDATE: Manda Bala is a superbly-composed and riveting look at kidnapping and corruption in Brazil. It made its theatrical debut on Friday, August 17 at the Angelika Film Center in New York, with nationwide releases leading through November.

Update: More Done Deals

Update: More Done Deals

UPDATE: This runaway hit from Sundance Film Festival, SON OF RAMBOW, went on to the Milwaukee Film Festival and will be coming out on DVD soon. The story of two young kids who think of themselves as the “sons of Rambo(w)”. About youth, imagination and the troubles of a challenging childhood.

Festival Shorts Online

Festival Shorts Online

Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival Short Film Program comprises 83 short films representing 17 countries from 5,107 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by more than 15% over last year. The 2008 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-27 with screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.

Update: Ker-ching! Film Sells At Sundance

Update: Ker-ching! Film Sells At Sundance

UPDATE: Making its limited theatrical debut this past October, MY KID COULD PAINT THAT was released with wide acclaim. Richard Roeper says, “It’s one of the best documentaries of this or any other year.” IN UPDATE: THE SHADOW OF THE MOON invoked a sense of nostalgia in many when it was released for its theatrical debut on September 9, 2007. It went on to receive the Audience Award from the Florida Film Festival, as well as the Grand Prize at the Boulder International Film Festival.

Update: Forty Million And Counting

Update: Forty Million And Counting

UPDATE: Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood have received praise from critics for their roles in KING OF CALIFORNIA, which had a limited release in theaters this past September 2007. With a theatrical release coming this January 28, 2008, Variety’s Justin Chang describes HOW SHE MOVE as a “moody, intelligent take on conventional material.”

Update: Past Is Prologue: Historical Documentaries

Update: Past Is Prologue: Historical Documentaries

UPDATE: James Greenberg from the Hollywood Reporter reviews NANKING: “Indispensable, beautifully crafted account of a little-known Japanese massacre.” It had its limited theatrical release in December 2007.

Update: Five Things I Took Away From Sundance: Thom Powers

Update: Five Things I Took Away From Sundance: Thom Powers

UPDATE: Said to have the ability to obtain cult-movie status, ROCKET SCIENCE had a limited theatrical release this past summer.

“What makes the first fiction feature from documentarian Blitz persuasive is its late-film detour from the inspirational niche-sports genre to something altogether unexpected — and the winning lead performance of Reece Daniel Thompson.” – Jim Ridley (Village Voice)”

Update: Five Things I Took Away From Sundance: Basil Tsiokos

Update: Five Things I Took Away From Sundance: Basil Tsiokos

UPDATE: With a limited theatrical release in June, CRAZY LOVE captured the attention of critics with its interesting look into a dysfunctional relationship. “Crazy Love scrapes away the cartoon exterior around this story and peers into the unknowable murk of the human heart.” – Ty Burr (Boston Globe)

Update: Grace Achieved: Audience Dramatic Winner James C. Strouse

Update: Grace Achieved: Audience Dramatic Winner James C. Strouse

UPDATE: GRACE IS GONE, a touching story of a family’s survival after the loss of the mother in Iraq, made its theatrical debut on December 7, 2007, went on after Sundance to win the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival.

Update: Hear For Good: Audience Documentary Winner Irene Brodsky

Update: Hear For Good: Audience Documentary Winner Irene Brodsky

UPDATE: Irene Taylor Brodsky’s Audience Award winning documentary HEAR AND NOW [festival.sundance.org] documents what happens when a pair of deaf parents decide to undergo cochlear implant surgery in order to hear the world again. The twist, however, is that the subjects aren’t just any pair of parents; they are Brodsky’s own mom and dad, Paul and Sally Taylor.

Update: A Sad Sight: Iraq At Sundance

Update: A Sad Sight: Iraq At Sundance

UPDATE: GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB had an exciting year with its nominations for three Emmys including: Outstanding Directing, Picture Editing, and Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming, and winning the Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special. “Not only does the film thoroughly and skillfully explain the context in which something as heinous as Abu Ghraib could happen, it attempts to understand the psychology of those involved.” – James Greenberg (Hollywood Reporter)

Who'd You Pick up at SXSW?

Who'd You Pick up at SXSW?

South By Southwest is one of the select few festivals where industry and acquisitions types show up to do business, namely the business of buying films. Sundance Channel got into the action this year by acquiring the North American broadcast rights to the controversial documentary 638 WAYS TO KILL CASTRO [www.638waystokillcastro.com]. Magnolia Pictures also swooped…

Global Reach: Dramatic Jury Winner Christopher Zalla

Global Reach: Dramatic Jury Winner Christopher Zalla

Christopher Zalla, the writer/director of this year’s Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic PADRE NUESTRO [festival.sundance.org] is an American independent filmmaker with a global perspective. His film, a neo-realist primarily Spanish-language thriller in which a case of identity theft awkwardly brings together a mismatched quartet of outsiders in New York, highlights the immigrant populations that make up New York with an empathy that makes them feel completely American.

Once More With Feeling

Once More With Feeling

In addition to his excellent coverage, Ray Pride at Movie City Indie [www.mcnblogs.com] points out that you can find the music from the film ONCE [festival.sundance.org] on thier MYSPACE MUSIC [www.myspace.com] page. There you will find four songs — “Leave,” “Falling Softly,” “Drown Out,” “What Happens when…” — you can listen to and download.

Worlds Away: Science And Film

Worlds Away: Science And Film

Yesterday at the Prospector Theater convened “Space, A Guided Tour,” one of the most intellectually expansive panels held this year that dealt with one of most complicated of subjects — the collision of science and cinema. While the panel veered off into all sorts of themes — ranging from medieval magic, teleportation, and Einstein’s time/space paradigms — the participants kept returning to a singular predicament: how do we relate these two very different technologies for re-imagining the universe. Science deploys the tools mathamatical analysis and logic to model our cosmos, while filmmakers use narrative and celluloid…

Five Things I Took Away From: Carl Spence

Five Things I Took Away From: Carl Spence

As the Artistic Director of Seattle International Film Festival (May 24 – June 17) and the Director of Programming at Palm Springs International Film Festival (January 4 – 15, 2007), Carl Spence spends all year watching films. So what will he remember from his experience this year at Sundance?

Drawn To Life

Drawn To Life

Along with the animation spotlight, several films are using animation to further their narrative storytelling. In the opening night film, CHICAGO 10 [festival.sundance.org], Brett Morgen employed animators to bring to live the court transcripts of the Yippees on trial.

Party Of Choice

Party Of Choice

Sundance Channel party last night marked in many ways the final big party of the festival party season — that is, of course, before the Awards ceremony this weekend. Unlike many of the celebrity driven parties, those impossible affairs with only the rumor of a famous person flaming the crowd into tighter and tighter spaces, Sundance Channel party was an event for comrades in work: filmmakers, buyers, publicists, and film people in general. The big, splashy parties one sees on “Entertainment Tonight” happen over the weekend, and pretty much end when the stars wing their way back to wherever stars live. Nevertheless fond memories of Sundance society stay behind.

Sundance Meet Oscar

Sundance Meet Oscar

The early morning announcement of the Academy Awards [www.imdb.com] marked the next step of the journey that many films began at Sundance last year. Three of the narrative films were on the nomination slate: LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE [www.imdb.com](Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Abigail Breslin and Best Original Screenplay; HALF NELSON [www.imdb.com] (Best Actor for Ryan Gosling); THE ILLUSIONIST [www.imdb.com] (Best Cinematography). And two documentaries are also up for Oscars: AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH [www.imdb.com] (Best Documentary, Original Song); IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS [www.imdb.com] (Best Documentary). Finally WEST BANK STORY [www.imdb.com] is up for Short Film: Live Action.

Draw Me A Picture: Animation At Sundance

Draw Me A Picture: Animation At Sundance

While animation is not a constant among the selections at the Sundance Film Festival, this year sees a new focus with the “Animation Spotlight,” a specal program of eight short films. According to programmer Trevor Groth, “We have always dabbled in it and have tried to sprinkle it though the festival.” While the festival programmers look for workin other festivals, they have found that the animation world often seeks out the festival. “Animators by having been in Sundance they have expressed a gratitude for having an outlet for their work. For them to find an audience outside of their realm is really appreciated.”

Foreign Stars In Sundance

Foreign Stars In Sundance

While most people look to the World Dramatic Competition for foreign stars, several international names are showing up in American documentaries: Zoe Cassavetes’ BROKEN ENGLISH (which premiered yesterday) and Gina Kim’s NEVER FOREVER (which premieres tonight) both sport stars from abroad.