SFF

LIFE IN A DAY: The Filmmakers

LIFE IN A DAY: The Filmmakers

If you missed LIFE IN A DAY, the Kevin Macdonald-directed, Ridley Scott-coproduced, global-input film about life all over the world on a single day, when it was screened on YouTube Thursday night, it looks like, if you live in the United States, you won’t be able to see a rebroadcast on Friday night at 7…

Dargis: The Indie-Film Crisis Has Passed

Dargis: The Indie-Film Crisis Has Passed

The Sundance Film Festival and the American indie film scene it represents have endured ups and downs, flush times and lean, Hollywood love and industry belt-tightening. In recent years, as major studios shut or trimmed down their art house divisions and smaller companies went belly up, things were looking pretty bleak. But now, notes New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis, the indie film world seems to have bounced back, and may be than ever.

“Crisis was the name of the game, and then suddenly it wasn’t,” Dargis writes, continuing:

Sundance Film Festival Tells Stories of Love

Sundance Film Festival Tells Stories of Love

Sometimes, love is all you need.

“Watching two movies in a row in which adolescent girls cut their bodies with a razor was a reminder of all the dark places the Sundance Film Festival takes you,” writes Ruthe Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle. “This time there were movies featuring drug addicts, abusive cults, a drunken driver who wipes out a family and Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son.”

Stein says she found “a welcome reprieve” from all that in three festival movies about love: Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY, Braden King’s HERE and Miranda July’s THE FUTURE.

LIFE IN A DAY Is Starting Soon!

LIFE IN A DAY Is Starting Soon!

Don’t forget to check out the LIFE IN A DAY screening and post-screening Q&A, which the Sundance Film Festival is live-streaming on YouTube starting at 8 p.m. EST Thursday night (tonight — in just a few minutes!). The 90-minute documentary, directed by Kevin Macdonald and executive produced by Ridley Scott, is a product of more…

Sundance Film Festival Review Roundup: THE DETAILS

Sundance Film Festival Review Roundup: THE DETAILS

The critical response to Jacob Aaron Estes’ dark comedy THE DETAILS, starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and Laura Linney, among others, has been decidedly mixed. A sampling of reviews:

“Writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes’ real accomplishment is successfully moving the tone of the movie from broad comedy to some serious business. THE DETAILS was picked up at Sundance by the Weinsteins, who should be able to use the picture’s star power and savvy marketing to make it a date night conversation piece.” — James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Sundance Film Festival Directors Poised to Break Through

Sundance Film Festival Directors Poised to Break Through

Lots of critics are scrambling to tell you which films are poised for success following the Sundance Film Festival this year. Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke has compiled a list of heretofore under-the-radar directors whose names you might hear a lot more often from now on. On the list: ANOTHER EARTH director Mike Cahill; Paddy Considine, whose…

Sundance Institute Connects With Kickstarter, Facebook

Sundance Institute Connects With Kickstarter, Facebook

Looks like it just got easier for new filmmakers to raise money and promote their projects. The Sundance Institute has announced plans to team up with online crowdfunding company Kickstarter to help the Institute’s artists and alumni – including lab participants, grant recipients and festival filmmakers – place their projects on Kickstarter.com with Sundance branding…

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.

Sundance Film Festival Documentaries That 'Expose and Inspire'

Sundance Film Festival Documentaries That 'Expose and Inspire'

The filmmakers behind the more than two dozen documentary films being showcased at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival may have different reasons for being there, notes Reuters’ Christine Kearney. “Some are competing for prizes and aiming to score distribution deals, others are seeking media hype to gain traction with audiences, and still more simply want…

Sundance Film Festival Deals: THE DETAILS, PERFECT SENSE, THE GUARD, ANOTHER EARTH

Sundance Film Festival Deals: THE DETAILS, PERFECT SENSE, THE GUARD, ANOTHER EARTH

The Sundance Film Festival deal-making continues. Recent acquisitions: IFC Films has nabbed the North American rights to director David Mackenzie’s romantic thriller PERFECT SENSE, starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, which debuted at the festival in the Premieres section on Monday night. (Just announced; see trailer below) The Weinstein Company has picked up the worldwide…

Raves for Miranda July's THE FUTURE

Raves for Miranda July's THE FUTURE

What is the Sundance Film Festival’s “buzziest film (so far)”? Miranda July’s THE FUTURE, according to The Week. These three rave reviews alone would seem to prove the point: “Miranda July’s THE FUTURE is narrated by a stray cat that mid-thirties couple Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) take in, and like that fragile kitty,…

Ed Helms, Now and Then

Ed Helms, Now and Then

“Is it too early to declare 2011 as the year of Ed Helms?” wonders the Hollywood Reporter, citing the former Daily Show correspondent’s first starring role in the warmly received comedy CEDAR RAPIDS, which just debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as roles in the forthcoming HANGOVER sequel and what is sure to…

Robert Redford on Career 'Irony'

Robert Redford on Career 'Irony'

You might be surprised to learn, as we were, that Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford, who has nurtured the work of countless filmmakers over the years, doesn’t have a scrum of those filmmakers clamoring to cast him in meaty roles. “I ask the question — I say, ‘Hey I’d like to be [in that…

CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

Miguel Arteta’s CEDAR RAPIDS, which premiered Sunday night at the Sundance Film Festival, is garnering positive, if not rapturous, reviews. General consensus: The insurance-industry fish-out-of-water comedy, which stars Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.,  is slight, but sturdy, sweet and funny, with a lot of heart. A sampling of responses:…

And the Nominees Are … Sundance Film Festival Veterans

And the Nominees Are … Sundance Film Festival Veterans

About those Academy Award nominations announced this morning, Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has noted a trend: If you add up the number of [Oscar] nominations [for films] from last year’s [Sundance Film] festival — 14 all told — it’s a more impressive total than the dozen for THE KING’S SPEECH. The two…

David O. Russell: From Ticket Taker to Oscar Nominee

David O. Russell: From Ticket Taker to Oscar Nominee

David O. Russell, who began his movie career as a Sundance Film Festival ticket taker in 1991, woke up today to find that his film THE FIGHTER had nabbed seven Academy Award nominations, including best picture and, for him, best director. It was a triumph for the filmmaker, who has experienced career ups and downs…

THE SON OF NO ONE Gets Harsh Reception

THE SON OF NO ONE Gets Harsh Reception

Despite an all-star cast featuring Al Pacino, Channing Tatum, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche and Katie Holmes and solid advance buzz, Dito Montiel’s THE SON OF NO ONE has been dubbed the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s “first bomb.” At a screening for press and industry members on Monday, the crime drama, which is scheduled to close…

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.

AMC Covers the Sundance Film Festival

AMC Covers the Sundance Film Festival

As you prowl around looking for Sundance Film Festival news, in between dashes from screening to screening in Park City or from blog to blog on your couch, permit us to point you to some of the nifty festival coverage on our sibling site AMC. AMC News will be blogging from the festival and will…

A Happy ANOTHER HAPPY DAY Story

A Happy ANOTHER HAPPY DAY Story

A meet-cute Sundance Film Festival story has the gossip press sighing: Ashton Kutcher reportedly surprised wife Demi Moore by showing up at a bash for Sam Levinson’s generally well-received ANOTHER HAPPY DAY, in which Moore stars with Ellen Barkin and Kate Bosworth. (The film debuted Sunday night in the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition.) According to…

A Flurry of Sundance Film Festival Deals

A Flurry of Sundance Film Festival Deals

More deals closed Monday at the Sundance Film Festival. Among them: Andrew Rossi’s PAGE ONE: A YEAR INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES: Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media have partnered to purchase the U.S. rights to the film, a documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes at the venerable broadsheet, with a theatrical release planned for this…

Sundance Film Festival Deals: HOMEWORK, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Sundance Film Festival Deals: HOMEWORK, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Fox Searchlight Pictures has snapped up two Sundance Film Festival films in rapid succession. On Sunday night, Fox Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced that the company had acquired “most worldwide rights” to first-time filmmaker Gavin Wiesen’s HOMEWORK, a coming-of-age story starring Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Sam…

Sundance Film Festival: Chaz Bono Gets Standing O

Sundance Film Festival: Chaz Bono Gets Standing O

“I was living life as a man trapped in a female shell,” Chaz Bono says in Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey’s documentary chronicling his gender reassignment, BECOMING CHAZ, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. “Now for the first time I’m living in my body.” Bono, who was greeted by a standing ovation…

Kevin Smith Makes Waves With RED STATE

Kevin Smith Makes Waves With RED STATE

Kevin Smith’s RED STATE, which opened at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday night amidst protests by the inflammatory Christian fundamentalist group that inspired it (and counter-protests, in which Smith himself participated), is “cleverly contrarian enough to get a rise out of almost any audience,” Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy writes in one of the…

Joe Zee: how to dress Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore and Ellen Barkin

Joe Zee: how to dress Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore and Ellen Barkin

Still from US Dramatic Competition film ANOTHER HAPPY DAY.
I met costume designer Stacey Battat way back when she was still working for Marc Jacobs in their Mercer Street store, which probably explains her close relationship to Sofia Coppola. Flash-forward to today, she was most recently the costume designer for Sofia’s newest film, Somewhere, as well as the recent Gwyneth Paltrow musical vehicle, COUNTRY STRONG.