Festival Updates

What lessons can we take away from Sundance?

Article: What lessons can we take away from Sundance?

WINTER’S BONE, Grand Jury Prize Winner at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival

Now that Sundance is over, it’s time for a little perspective. And critics and industry watchers are only too happy to provide it.

Sure, since the awards were handed out on Saturday night and the festival wrapped on Sunday, there have been the requisite stories about which movies to watch out for and the reports on last-minute acquisitions. (Ten movies were acquired at the festival; in the past few days, Weinstein Co. snagged Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE, starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; IFC Films scored the rights to Michael Winterbottom’s THE KILLER INSIDE ME; and Roadside scooped up Debra Granik’s WINTER’S BONE, which won the festival’s grand jury prize.)

But what lessons can we take away from Sundance 2010?

A flurry of deals in Sundance's final days

Article: A flurry of deals in Sundance's final days

Until Thursday, Sundance Film Festival watchers from afar could have been forgiven for concluding that the increased emphasis on art, rather than on commerce, in the festival offerings this year may have worked all too well. Many of the films making their debuts were wowing critics, but the money people appeared to be unimpressed, or at least not impressed enough to open their wallets. Or at least opening them too often.

Will Mormons a see gay-marriage doc?

Article: Will Mormons a see gay-marriage doc?

In his review of 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, a documentary about the Mormon Church’s campaign to pass Prop. 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California, Variety’s Peter Debruge writes that the film is “mostly preaching to the converted.”

“Although controversy could spur interest, the pic hasn’t been as incendiary as one might expect playing just north of LDS HQ at the Sundance Film Festival,” Debruge asserts.

He may have spoken too soon.

Punk saviors? Crazed cars? Spotting Sundance trends

Article: Punk saviors? Crazed cars? Spotting Sundance trends

What are the top trends emerging from the Sundance Film Festival this year? That really depends on whom you ask.

Los Angeles Times Film critic Betsy Sharkey thinks it’s punk saviors. “If there is a collective vision emerging out of the films in the Sundance dramatic competition it is this: The punks will save you,” she writes, citing WELCOME TO THE RILEYS, the debut film of director Jake Scott (son of Ridley); actor Mark Ruffalo’s directing debut SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS, in which he also stars; and Spencer Susser’s HESHER.

Talking about art at Sundance

Article: Talking about art at Sundance

Sundance Film Festival attendees who are looking to unglue their eyes from screens and emerge from darkened movie theaters now and again just got a little added incentive. The Festival has announced a series of panels, roundtables and special events examining the powerfully transformative role of art and culture in society

What are people saying about HOWL?

Article: What are people saying about HOWL?

Seems like James Franco has been all over the place in the last few days, talking about, among other things, HOWL, the new film by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman in which the actor stars as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Here he is discussing his love of poetry with Vanity Fair. There he is explaining his love of soap operas to New York magazine. Here he is defending his tendency to play roles based on himself on screen in Movieline. And there he is getting rapped for his shabby grad-school duds by old-school gossipist Cindy Adams: “His black coat was littered with light brown hair,” she sniffed in her New York Post column on Wednesday.

Will Sundance 2010 chart indie film's future?

Article: Will Sundance 2010 chart indie film's future?

Talk about pressure. Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper may have the entire independent film industry riding on him. So says New York Times writer Brooks Barnes, positing on Thursday, hours before the Festival kicked off, that “this might very well be the most important Sundance in years.”

Making music at Sundance

Article: Making music at Sundance

Still from ODDSAC.

Music is surely a strong theme at this year’s Sundance Film Festival: In Sam Taylor Wood’s NOWHERE BOY, a teenage, pre-Beatles John Lennon finds an escape from his dysfunctional family through music (watch a clip here). The band Animal Collective will debut the film it has spent years collaborating on with Danny Perez, ODDSAC, a psychedelic mix of abstract music and visuals. TWILIGHT’s Kristen Stewart stars as rocker Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning plays Jett’s bandmate Cherie Currie in Floria Sigismondi’s rock-and-roll biopic THE RUNAWAYS. And that’s just for example.

How you can help in Haiti

Article: How you can help in Haiti

Cine Institute Students Effort from Ciné Institute on Vimeo.

One of the issues the Sundance Film Festival has set out to explore this year is the role of the arts today — how filmmaking and other art forms can not just stay relevant, but can actually be an agent for positive change in a world that surely needs all the help it can get. It’s hard to think of a better example of the transformative power of art than the efforts of the students at Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school, located in the country’s cultural capital, a seaside city called Jacmel.

Sundance films coming soon to YouTube

Article: Sundance films coming soon to YouTube

Those of us feeling sad about being stuck at home during the Sundance Film Festival yet again this year will be relieved to hear that our distance from Park City is a diminishing disadvantage. Today’s news? Audiences across the United States can view three Sundance feature films on their very own computers even before they screen for Festival audiences, thanks to a deal Sundance has forged with YouTube.

And the Sundance Film Festival judges are…

Article: And the Sundance Film Festival judges are…

Actor David Hyde Pierce will be announcing the awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival has announced the names of the jurors who will determine which films competing in five different categories will take home awards from Park City this year. The awards will be announced at a ceremony hosted by actor David Hyde Pierce on January 30. The winners in the Short Film category will also be announced earlier, at a separate event on January 26.

HBO nabs Sundance film in early deal

Article: HBO nabs Sundance film in early deal

Although the shimmering wave of industry bigwigs and cinematic glitterati won’t roll into Park City for a few more days, the Sundance Film Festival business deals have already begun. Last week, HBO announced that it had acquired the U.S. television rights to New York-based Argentinean filmmaker Nicolas Entel’s feature documentary SINS OF MY FATHER.

Sundance Film Festival from the comfort of your own home

Article: Sundance Film Festival from the comfort of your own home

An image from 7 DAYS.

Four words of advice for film-loving humble folk who aren’t packing up their parkas and heading to the Sundance Film Festival this year — and especially for the even humbler folk who aren’t near any of the eight theaters around the country that will screen Festival films and host filmmaker Q&As on January 28 as part of the Sundance Film Festival USA audience initiative: Turn on the TV.

What does it mean to be an artist today?

Article: What does it mean to be an artist today?

What does it mean to be an artist today — and what can artists look forward to in the next decade? Will we be overwhelmed with information, stymied by Tweets and status updates, emails and IMs and an ever-faster news cycle? Will we throw up our hands (and put down our paintbrushes and mouses) in the face of economic woes? Or will we find inspiration in it all, a renewed sense of art’s importance and role in our lives — as well as distribution opportunities we never thought possible?

Sundance welcomes women directors

Article: Sundance welcomes women directors

Responding to the last-minute addition of three films to the Sundance Film Festival lineup this week, New York Times’ Carpetbagger blogger Melena Ryzik noticed something that, I confess, I overlooked: All three of the newly added films — Gurinder Chadha’s “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife,” Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids are Alright” and Galt Niederhoffer’s “The Romantics” — are from young female directors. In fact, there are several other women directors who will be presenting films in the festival’s Premieres category: Sam Taylor Wood, Nicole Holofcener, Floria Sigismondi and Shari Springer Berman among them.

Sundance premieres: Quirky mix, big names

Article: Sundance premieres: Quirky mix, big names

This week, the Sundance Film Festival announced that it would be adding three world premieres to its out-of-competition lineup, all of them from directors who’ve shown films at Sundance before: Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Annette Benning; Gurinder Chadha IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE, starring Shabana Azmi, Goldy Notay and Sally Hawkins; and Galt Niederhoffer’s THE ROMANTICS, starring Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood, Candice Bergen and Josh Duhamel.

Sundance films get SAG, Golden Globe nods

Article: Sundance films get SAG, Golden Globe nods

In the days between the announcements of the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations this week and the handing out of the awards themselves next month, much time will be spent parsing who’s gotten a nod, who’s been overlooked, what it says about the state of cinema today and what it portends for…

Festival Updates Interview: John Cooper, Festival Wrap

Article: Festival Updates Interview: John Cooper, Festival Wrap

Faith Salie speaks with festival director of programming John Cooper about the moving films and the surprising events of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Spotlight: Fashion with Charlotte Mickie

Article: Festival Updates Spotlight: Fashion with Charlotte Mickie

Faith Salie talks with internation sales agent Charlotte Mickie about the fashion dos and don’ts during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates: The Awards and After Party

Article: Festival Updates: The Awards and After Party

The filmmakers, actors, and celebrities come out to congratulate and celebrate all films and participants of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Festival Updates Interview: Kyle Buchanen of The Advocate

Article: Festival Updates Interview: Kyle Buchanen of The Advocate

Faith Salie is joined by Kyle Buchanen, a film crictic from The Advocate. They discuss post-queer cinema during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Interview: Roundtable Wrap Up

Article: Festival Updates Interview: Roundtable Wrap Up

Faith Salie interviews sales agent Sarah Lash, producer Ron Yerxa, blogger Anne Thompson, and publicist Wellington Love about the business happenings and film buzz from the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Spotlight: Bobcat Goldthwait

Article: Festival Updates Spotlight: Bobcat Goldthwait

Faith Salie speaks with director Bobcat Goldthwait and festival attendees on the streets of Park City about his film, WORLD’S GREATEST DAD.

Festival Updates Interview: FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN

Article: Festival Updates Interview: FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN

Faith Salie interviews FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN director Oliver Hirschbiegel and actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Spotlight: Documentary

Article: Festival Updates Spotlight: Documentary

Filmmakers discuss the importance of documentary films in the festival and the refreshing perspectives they reveal as a storytelling medium.