SFF 2009

How Not to Behave at Sundance

How Not to Behave at Sundance

Overheard at Sundance during the first weekend:

Festival volunteer: “So, do you see an increase in traffic during the festival?”
Bus driver: “That’s a stupid question.”

I Take on ADAM, and Lose

I Take on ADAM, and Lose

ADAM I’m glad I hadn’t seen the trailer for ADAM, which just won this year’s Sloan prize, before seeing the film this morning. Not that I have since watched the trailer—if one even exists—but I can just imagine what impression it leaves: Awkward twenty-something nerd lives with his dad. Dad dies. Row of identical mac-n-cheese…

Woody Allen's Chickpea-Sized Soul and Other Sources of Inspiration

Woody Allen's Chickpea-Sized Soul and Other Sources of Inspiration

Cary Fukunaga (SIN NOMBRE) rode the rails with illegal immigrants in Mexico… Sophie Barthes (COLD SOULS) had a dream about Woody Allen and a chickpea in a box… And Cruz Angeles (DON’T LET ME DROWN) overheard a group of Albanian teenagers in New York City cracking jokes about 9/11…

A Friendly Reminder from Howard Zinn that U.S. History is Mostly Horrific

A Friendly Reminder from Howard Zinn that U.S. History is Mostly Horrific

Celebrities, from the A list on down, are a dime a dozen at Sundance, where even nobodies (like me) walk around acting like they belong here—like they’re more important than that nobody walking in the opposite direction.

BIG FAN Keeps its Cards Close to its Chest

BIG FAN Keeps its Cards Close to its Chest

Robert Siegel sure knows how to write squirm-inducing scripts. THE WRESTLER—which just got shortchanged by the Academy—was one of my favorite films of last year, but also one of the hardest to watch. Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of an over-the-hill wrestler who continues to perform—and juice up—in spite of a heart condition is not unlike watching a car wreck in slow motion for two hours … and wondering all along whether the driver is going to die.

The Top Two (And Only?) Fistfights of the Week

The Top Two (And Only?) Fistfights of the Week

I’ve asked a lot of people this week—no, not anyone famous—their thoughts on this year’s festival, and nearly everyone has said that it’s been a quiet year: less marketers, less media, and less celeb-stalkers (though, according to festival director Geoffrey Gilmore, no fewer ticket buyers).

Pushy Publicists and Fisticuffs

Pushy Publicists and Fisticuffs

The last noteworthy fight out of Sundance can be read about in any book or magazine timeline that charts the fest’s history. Harvey Weinstein came to blows with producer Jonathan Taplin over “Shine.” That fight was about an acquisition. Harvey was pissed because someone else acquired the film.

Festival Updates Interview: Sophie Barthes of COLD SOULS

Festival Updates Interview: Sophie Barthes of COLD SOULS

Faith Salie speaks with COLD SOULS director Sophie Barthes and actor Paul Giamatti in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Spotlight: Short Films

Festival Updates Spotlight: Short Films

Programmers and filmmakers speak about the importance of short films in the Sundance Film Festival and the exposure it give to emerging talents.

Festival Updates My Premiere: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

Festival Updates My Premiere: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

Directors Glenn Ficarra’s and John Requa’s I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS, a film participating in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.

Festival Updates Interview: Michael Polish of MANURE

Festival Updates Interview: Michael Polish of MANURE

Faith Salie interviews MANURE director Michael Polish and cast members Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni, Kyle MacLachlan, Ed Helms, and writer Mark Polish in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

CORAZĂ“N Has Heart, Will Propagandize

CORAZĂ“N Has Heart, Will Propagandize

At the risk of sounding like a Sundance mouthpiece, I must say that the festival has long been a champion of Latin American cinema. This year is no different, with around a dozen films either made by Latin Americans or which pertain to their experience. CORAZĂ“N DEL TIEMPO, an entry in the world dramatic competition, falls into both categories.

More Movies, New Models and Getting Picked Up in Park City

More Movies, New Models and Getting Picked Up in Park City

I have left the crowded streets of Park City and headed for home. For those tramping along at the Festival until the very end, the experience might begin to compare unfavorably with the Bataan Death March. But my only regret -and this is a tribute to the programming- is the number of films that I couldn’t fit into the time allotted.

Sundance Jury Prizes for Short Filmmaking

Sundance Jury Prizes for Short Filmmaking

Park City, UT –The 2009 Sundance Film Festival announced today the jury prizes in shorts filmmaking based on outstanding achievement and merit. The Sundance Film Festival runs January 15-25, 2009 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Full awards will be announced the evening of January 24th at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony at the Park City Racquet Club. Actress Jane Lynch will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Sundance Supports New Filmmakers

Sundance Supports New Filmmakers

Sundance Institute announced today the first five grant recipients of the STORIES OF CHANGE: SOCIALENTREPRENEURSHIP IN FOCUS THROUGH DOCUMENTARY initiative, a $3 million, three-year partnership with the Skoll Foundation designed to explore the role of film in advancing knowledge about social entrepreneurship. This partnership creates new opportunities for leading social entrepreneurs and outstanding documentary filmmakers to collaborate and to create new projects about the innovative approaches found in both fields. The development and production grant awards announced today support the creation of feature-length independent documentary films that examine social entrepreneurship as an innovative approach to the central challenges of our time.

The YES MEN Fix Sundance's Humor Deficit

The YES MEN Fix Sundance's Humor Deficit

I was especially eager, then, for last night’s premiere of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD.

My Final Post on Digital Distribution, I Swear

My Final Post on Digital Distribution, I Swear

A lot of themes have emerged at Sundance this year. The environment. The economy. Noisy gum-chewers.

Beer O'Clock at the Sundance Channel

Beer O'Clock at the Sundance Channel

There are myriad ways of judging whether a party is a success or not.

Festival Updates Spotlight: Nightlife

Festival Updates Spotlight: Nightlife

Filmmakers, actors, and celebrities speak about the various happenings and emotions that define the collective experience that is the Sundance Film Festival.

Festival Updates Interview: Robert Siegel of BIG FAN

Festival Updates Interview: Robert Siegel of BIG FAN

Faith Salie speaks with BIG FAN writer/director Robert Siegel and actors Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Sarafina FIore, and Gino Cafarelli. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates Interview: John Hindman of ARLEN FABER

Festival Updates Interview: John Hindman of ARLEN FABER

Faith Salie interviews ARLEN FABER writer/director John Hindman and cast members Jeff Daniels and Lou Taylor Pucci in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.

Festival Updates My Premiere: THE YES MEN

Festival Updates My Premiere: THE YES MEN

Writers/directors Mike Bonanno’s and Andy Bichlbaum’s THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD, a film participating in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Composing some Thoughts on Film Music

Composing some Thoughts on Film Music

Someone once said, “Trying to discuss music is like trying to dance about architecture.” Or maybe it was “Talking about music…,” or perhaps “Writing about music…”

Magnolia Snags HUMPDAY

Magnolia Snags HUMPDAY

Magnolia Pictures has spent mid-six figures for worldwide rights to Lynn Shelton’s HUMPDAY. The lo-fi buddy comedy attracted six offers and a protracted bidding war. Film stars Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as two straight best friends who decide to film themselves having sex for an art project. Pic preemed Friday in the Sundance Film…

Don't See TYSON or He'll Get in Trouble

Don't See TYSON or He'll Get in Trouble

Director James Toback introduces Mike Tyson at a dinner for the documentary, “Tyson,” at the Sundance Film Festival.

Clearly moved by the growing interest in the docu since its Cannes preem, Tyson addressed the diners: “I’m really very humbled. I had no idea it’d get to this magnitude. I was looking forward to selling bootleg DVDs… I told James it might be a foreign movie because of the language I’d be using.”