Sundance Institute today announced the 13 projects selected for its annual June Directors and Screenwriters Labs, taking place at the Sundance Resort in Utah from May 28 through June 28. Under the leadership of Michelle Satter, Founding Director of the Institute’s Feature Film Program, and the artistic direction of Gyula Gazdag, the projects selected for this year’s program include emerging filmmakers and projects from the United States, Italy, Romania, Australia, Algeria, France, Chile and the UK.
There’s nothing worse than a bad movie that’s not even entertaining about it. But a bomb that manages to perversely delight you with its awfulness is just the kind of train wreck you want to usher into your living room.
For your kind (if somewhat sadistic) consideration, here are the top five good-bad flicks of the modern age. But bear in mind, I haven’t seen ABDUCTION yet.
Audiences have become obsessed with filmed tellings of the truth, even if they’re not always all that truthful, but there are some familiar traps documentaries fall into that remove luster from the genre and threaten to make them more like schlockumentaries.
To avoid these pitfalls in the future, I propose the following doc-ing guidelines:
Last summer the Sundance Institute brought the first-ever ShortsLab to Los Angeles, where, for a single day, short filmmakers participated in an immersive workshop experience with some of cinema’s leading producers and directors. The goal of ShortsLab is “to empower the next wave of emerging artists by giving them first-hand insight into the basics of developing their idea, making their film and getting it seen by audiences.” Because that’s the hardest part, right? You may have made the most amazing short film the world has ever known but how do you get anyone to see it? Answering that burning question, as well as all the other unknowns fledgling directors may have are what ShortsLab is all about.
Wow – here’s something amazing. Tom McCarthy’s WIN WIN is enjoying a 95% approval rating with RottenTomatoes.com’s “Top Critics” – the same score as something like Altman’s NASHVILLE. Not that these two movies have a lot in common. They don’t. But just in the general zeitgeist of movie-liking and likability, this movie is really … winning. Why? Read on to find out. (By the way, no secrets here. I really… liked it.)
Interview with Cynthia Wade, director of LIVING THE LEGACY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL
Oscar-winning documentary director Cynthia Wade.
On May 17th, Sundance Channel will screen LIVING LEGACY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL which follows three young students as they separate from their parents and enroll in Milton Hershey School, a residential school in Pennsylvania. The film follows the children during their first school year – a turbulent, dramatic and eye-opening experience for the students and their families. Director Cynthia Wade speaks with Sundance Channel about her experience working on this film.
SUNDANCE CHANNEL: What first drew you to the story of Milton Hershey School?
Wade: I’d recently finished FREEHELD, a 38 minute film (which won the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary in 2008 and 15 other film festival awards). I was directing another short documentary in Cambodia (BORN SWEET, which won Honorable Mention at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival). With those two short films as my latest endeavors, I was eager to move back into long-form documentary and direct another feature-length film.
It’s a completely different experience directing a feature-length film, as it demands so much more material, time, patience, and energy — think “marriage” as opposed to “long term relationship.” I was ready for another “film marriage.” When I was approached by the Milton Hershey School as a director for this project, I jumped at the chance. It was exciting to think about staying with a project on a long-term basis, following characters over an extended period of time.
There aren’t any jaded directors in Nollywood. Spirited and optimistic more appropriately describe Nigeria’s booming film industry as seen in NOLLYWOOD BABYLON, a documentary that follows its most important filmmakers as they battle low budgets and low technology to create “stories that explore traditional mysticism and modern culture, good versus evil, witchcraft and Christianity. Nollywood auteurs have mastered a down-and-dirty, straight-to-video production formula that has become the industry standard in a country plagued by poverty.”
Editor’s note: this is a new weekly editorial column from filmmakers Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson that will primarily focus on the evolution of film storytelling in this age of inexpensive, ubiquitous digital cameras and computer-based media. Watch for it every Wednesday. Welcome to our column! We are two filmmakers toiling away in the trenches,…