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Sundance 2014 Wrap: Discoveries, Disappointments, Breakouts & Awards Contenders

Sundance 2014 Wrap: Discoveries, Disappointments, Breakouts & Awards Contenders

The Sundance Film Festival is a crucible for industry trends and finding emerging talent. Festival watchers tend to focus on the weak economic prospects for many of the films showcased in Park City. The independent marketplace is slowly evolving, but there was plenty to see. So what if no one film galvanized the festival the way BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and FRUITVALE STATION did in recent years? The festival probably erred in starting off with its best offering, jazz thriller WHIPLASH. No other film topped the buzz generated by this one.

Sundance: Aaron Paul on Why He’ll Never Be the Next Tom Cruise and Resurrecting Jesse Pinkman for AMC

Sundance: Aaron Paul on Why He’ll Never Be the Next Tom Cruise and Resurrecting Jesse Pinkman for AMC

Aaron Paul is not Jesse Pinkman. Thanks to five trailblazing seasons on Breaking Bad, it’s damn near impossible not to think of Paul as anyone else. But as he stressed to Indiewire in Park City, the deeply troubled Pinkman is his “opposite.” The same goes for the alcoholic father he plays in Kat Candler’s scorching directorial debut, HELLION, which premiered in competition here at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival late last week.

Elisabeth Moss on Her First True Sundance Experience and Saying Goodbye to ‘Mad Men’

Elisabeth Moss on Her First True Sundance Experience and Saying Goodbye to ‘Mad Men’

Only three weeks into 2014, Elisabeth Moss has already won a Golden Globe for TOP OF THE LAKE, world premiered two films at the Sundance Film Festival, and shot some scenes for the upcoming final season of Mad Men. Talk about a great way to kick off the new year.

Sundance Review: You’ve Never Seen a Vampire Movie Like the Beautiful, Touching A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, Produced By Elijah Wood

Sundance Review: You’ve Never Seen a Vampire Movie Like the Beautiful, Touching A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, Produced By Elijah Wood

For centuries, vampires have provided handy metaphors for social and physical dilemma, but in the stylishly muted deadpan romance A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, the threat is personal. Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s stunning debut, produced by Elijah Wood, follows the experiences of a small Iranian town haunted by a vampiric presence who’s just as lonely as the other locals.

Sundance Review: Despite a Hilarious Setup, Madeleine Olnek’s THE FOXY MERKINS Is a Disappointing Sophomore Effort

Sundance Review: Despite a Hilarious Setup, Madeleine Olnek’s THE FOXY MERKINS Is a Disappointing Sophomore Effort

In 2011, Madeleine Olnek’s debut feature, CODEPENDENT LESBIAN ALIEN SEEKS SAME, premiered at Sundance to positive (if ultimately limited) reception. Made on a shoestring budget, (think space ships made out of tin foil), the warm and witty spoof on sci-fi B-movies firmly established the writer-director’s singular comedic sensibility. In her follow-up, THE FOXY MERKINS, Olnek turns the male hustler genre on its head to imagine what a lesbian prostitution ring in might look like.

Sundance Review: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Are As You’ve Never Seen Them In Otherwise Conventional ‘The Skeleton Twins’

Sundance Review: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Are As You’ve Never Seen Them In Otherwise Conventional ‘The Skeleton Twins’

Outside of their Saturday Night Live work, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have delivered some of their best performances onscreen together, in ADVENTURELAND and PAUL (they even both scored scene-stealing voice cameos in Spike Jonze’s HER). Even so, their chemistry in Craig Johnson’s THE SKELETON TWINS is something altogether different: These are serious dramatic roles with dark comedic ingredients that take them out of the farcical realm and allow them to craft fully realized characters.

Sundance Review: J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller Impress With a Ferocious Student-Teacher Dynamic in WHIPLASH

Sundance Review: J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller Impress With a Ferocious Student-Teacher Dynamic in WHIPLASH

BY EMMA MYERS Legend has it that Charlie Parker only became Bird because Jo Jones furiously threw a cymbal at his head when he choked on stage. At least that’s the story Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the barbarous band conductor in Damien Chazelle’s WHIPLASH, uses to justify the emotional and physical abuse he subjects his students…

The Sundance Springboard: 10 Actors to Watch Out For at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Springboard: 10 Actors to Watch Out For at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

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.

The 10 Films That Should Sell Big At This Year’s Sundance Film Festival

The 10 Films That Should Sell Big At This Year’s Sundance Film Festival

With the 2014 Sundance Film Festival kicking off tonight, the quality of this year’s lineup will gradually emerge in our daily coverage. However, for buyers at the festival, the question is less about the quality of various movies and more about their marketability. While the festival runs ten days, only a handful of movies in the main lineup have generated serious interest for distributors at this early stage. Here’s a look at ten contenders.