red state

Sundance 2011 = Officially Over

Sundance 2011 = Officially Over

(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.”

Sundance Film Festival Films Tackle Faith

Sundance Film Festival Films Tackle Faith

One notable trend amongst the films in this year’s Sundance Film Festival: faith.

The Los Angeles Times’ John Horn writes:
Among the roughly 120 features playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a surprisingly large number use faith — and specifically Christianity — as either a critical narrative fulcrum or a key expositional backdrop. And the dramas do not always take a neutral stance.

Kevin Smith: Indie King or God Complex?

Kevin Smith: Indie King or God Complex?

Kevin Smith protests the Westboro Baptist Church.
First there was the hype, then there was the letdown, and now, a day after Kevin Smith screened his latest film, RED STATE at Sundance, there is the residual anger. On Sunday, the CLERKS writer-director stunned audiences and film buyers alike by announcing that he was not, as promised, going to auction off the distribution rights to RED STATE, a movie he touted as a “horror movie” inspired by Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps.

Instead, Smith bought the rights himself, for twenty bucks, and said that in an act of anti-studio-system protest, he’d sell his own film, starting things off with a 15-city tour this summer. Smith’s disingenuousness was made all the worse by the overload of characteristic Smith hype that preceded RED STATE’s screening. (The protest/counter-protest outside the Eccles Theater being just one piece of his elaborate fabric.) Not helping matters is that the film, though loved by certain Smith die-hards, is generally considered a disappointment.

Busy at Sundance: Kyle Gallner

Busy at Sundance: Kyle Gallner

If you think things are going to be busy for you during the Sundance Film Festival, spare a thought for the actors who have more than one film premiering there. Take, for instance, Kyle Gallner, a 24-year-old actor who stars in both Kevin Smith’s horror film RED STATE and Elgin James’ in-competition LITTLE BIRDS. Gallner, best…

Kevin Smith trades comedy for horror in RED STATE

Kevin Smith trades comedy for horror in RED STATE

The recently released trailer for Kevin Smith’s new film, RED STATE, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month, does more to evoke a mood than to reveal the plot. But it does make one thing perfectly clear: The film is a definite departure for the writer-director who made his reputation bringing to the screen slacker comedies like CLERKS and MALLRATS.