Sundance Film Festival 2012

The Sundance Review Revue: WISH YOU WERE HERE

The Sundance Review Revue: WISH YOU WERE HERE

If you watched THE HANGOVER and thought it would work better as a thriller, then last night’s opening night premiere from Sundance 2012′s World Dramatic Competition, WISH YOU WERE HERE, will be right up your alley. Numerous critics out of Park City, including David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter and Steven Zeitchik from The Los Angeles Times, have drawn comparisons between the blockbuster American comedy about a bunch of buddies who wake up after a night of partying they can’t remember to find one of their ranks missing, and this Australian import from writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith about two couples who wake up after a night of partying they can’t remember to find one of their ranks missing. In other words, throw in Zach Galifianakis and a Mike Tyson tattoo, and we’re in Todd Phillips territory.

Watch Sundance films from home…right now!

Watch Sundance films from home…right now!

If you’re a fan of independent film, there’s nothing better than being at the Sundance Film Festival. And if you’re a fan of independent film, there’s nothing worse than not being at the Sundance Film Festival. The future of indie cinema is unspooling before the eyes of your fellow cinephiles, and all you can do is sit back and read about it on Facebook. The Internet is a double-edged sword in this regard. Social media gives you instant and constant access to festival buzz — but for a long time you couldn’t act on that buzz until those buzzy movies found distribution and made their way to your local theater. Slowly but surely, though, the Internet is starting to bring Sundance films, old and new, right into your home. Now while Park City’s bustling, you can do a lot more than just refresh your Twitter feed for hours on end while you cry into a pint of ice cream (not that I would, y’know, do something like that. I have a very rich and full life of, uh, other things).

The Sundance '12 opening night round-up

The Sundance '12 opening night round-up

Have you filled all your travel size bottles of Purell? Looked online to find out how many packets of Emergen-C a human being can safely ingest without overdosing on potassium? Bought enough Powerbars to qualify as a minority investor in the company? Good, then you’re ready for Opening Night of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Which is fortunate, cause it starts in, like four hours.

SMASHED takes a shot at Sundance '12

SMASHED takes a shot at Sundance '12

As one of the stars of Breaking Bad, if Aaron Paul’s acting like he’s under the influence of a controlled substance, it’s usually meth. But in the Sundance ’12 U.S. Dramatic Competition film SMASHED, Paul trades in the crank for the drank. He plays Charlie, one half of a young married couple who love to have a good time and get absolutely hammered. But when Charlie’s wife Kate (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead) realizes she needs to get sober, it not only changes her life, it changes their marriage as well.

HELLO I MUST BE GOING to Sundance '12's U.S. Dramatic Competition

HELLO I MUST BE GOING to Sundance '12's U.S. Dramatic Competition

HELLO I MUST BE GOING is a true Sundance film, and not just because it’s premiering later this week at Sundance ’12′s U.S. Dramatic Competition. Screenwriter Sarah Koskoff and director Todd Louiso — himself a Sundance alum from his 2002 feature directorial debut, LOVE LIZA — first developed the project at the Sundance Institute’s 2009 Screenwriters Lab and the 2010 Screenplay Reading Series. Then, as Louiso explains in his Meet the Artists interview below, Louiso went to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival looking to find a producer. On January 19th he gave the screenplay to Mary Jane Skalski. One year later, on January 19th, 2012, the film — produced by Skalski — makes it world premiere at the Eccles Theatre at Sundance.

WISH YOU WERE HERE — From Australia to Cambodia to Park City

WISH YOU WERE HERE — From Australia to Cambodia to Park City

If the sudden influx of smart crime films from Australia is any indication of the quality of life in Oz, it might be time to start worrying about our friends down under. Hopefully it’s just an indication of the quality of cinema in Oz — which has risen sharply, along with the cinematic crime rate, in the last few years. In 2009, we were blown away by THE SQUARE, a sharp neo-noir from Aussie stuntman-slash-director Nash Edgerton. In 2010, David Michôd brought us ANIMAL KINGDOM, an epic tale of a Melbourne crime family in freefall; it won the World Cinema Jury Prize at that year’s Sundance Film Festival. This year’s Sundance’s World Dramatic competition features WISH YOU WERE HERE from writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith, who appeared in both THE SQUARE and ANIMAL KINGDOM. All three films and all three filmmakers are part of an Australian collective called Blue-Tongue Films that also includes Luke Doolan and HESHER director Spencer Susser. Edgerton and Darcy-Smith’s partnership goes all the way back to the 1990s, when the duo co-directed their first short film together. It was called LOADED. And, hey, lookee! Here it is!

Sort out your Festival schedule

Sort out your Festival schedule

So many films, so little time. I know, 10 days sounds like more than enough time to see your fill of films, but there are 117 feature-length films in the festival this year (not to mention a whole bunch of shorts)! Plus, you need to mix in some time to mingle, look fabulous and get your party on (did we mention Drake and Deer Tick are playing the Bing Bar?). Fortunately, everyone on the internet loves lists and there are tons of good ones out there rounding up what films you shouldn’t miss. And because we’re all about being service-y, we’ve decided to list some of the best ones here:

LUV – Common comes to Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition

LUV – Common comes to Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition

In interviews, LUV co-writer/director Sheldon Candis likes to describe his film as a “driller” — part drama, part thriller. Candis, a USC grad and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film for 2011, based the film’s coming of age story on his own life growing up on the streets of Baltimore. Looking for a father figure, he found one in an uncle — not realizing that, as he puts it in his Sundance ’12 Meet the Artists interview (see below), the man he idolized was “one of the most infamous and feared drug dealers” in the entire city.

Film intelligence: Documenting the new Best Documentary Oscar rules

Film intelligence: Documenting the new Best Documentary Oscar rules

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]).

1. Documenting Big Changes for the Best Documentary Oscar

Every year the movies that do and do not get nominated for the Best Documentary Academy Award become a huge source of contention. In 2011, popular and acclaimed documentaries THE INTERRUPTERS, SENNA, and BEING ELMO — and JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER, cried ten thousand beleaguered Beliebers — all missed the doc Oscar shortlist. To rectify the situation, the Academy announced this week they are overhauling the nomination process for the Best Documentary category: among the changes, films will now need a one-week commercial release in New York and Los Angeles and a review from the New York Times or Los Angeles Times. Hopefully these changes will help the best and most important docs get the recognition they deserve and we’ll never hear about Oscar documentary controversies again. On the other hand, you never say never. [Indiewire]

The LCD Soundsystem funeral and James Murphy's Sundance takeover

The LCD Soundsystem funeral and James Murphy's Sundance takeover

By now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS, the LCD Soundsystem documentary about their last show/the greatest funeral ever. Yeah, it is pretty much the only thing anyone on the internet is talking about. We can’t wait, either and are gearing up for the big premiere on Sunday, January 22nd at the Egyptian Theater. It’s sold out, but you can also catch Mr. Murphy in the Tim and Eric helmed drama THE COMEDY.

What Bruce Willis should expect when he's expecting to go to Sundance

What Bruce Willis should expect when he's expecting to go to Sundance

To: bruce.willis@brucewillis.com
From: matt.singer@sundancechannel.com
Re: Sundance Preparedness List

Dear Bruce-

Your people asked my people to ask me to write up a list of things to remember before you head to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. They know you’ve been to Sundance before — back in 2008, you walked the red carpet in support of Barry Levinson’s WHAT JUST HAPPENED — but they’re apparently a little worried you might be a little “What just happened?” about the whole experience and need a Park City refresher. You may decide you want to fire your people for that. That’s between you and them. I just do as I’m told. Don’t blame this on me and then drive a car into a helicopter into my living room, or run barefoot with a machine gun through my kitchen. Thanks.

Parker Posey to host 2012 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony

Parker Posey to host 2012 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony

Sundance Institute announced today the 22 members of the six juries awarding prizes at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, as well as the host of the Awards Ceremony on January 28. The Festival takes place January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED – Traveling through time with Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED – Traveling through time with Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza

The September/October 1997 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine featured a curious classified ad. It read:
“WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322, Oakview, CA 93022. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”

Film intelligence: An online home for Sundance films and more

Film intelligence: An online home for Sundance films and more

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]).

1. Sundance Alumni Head Upstream for Distribution

Thousands of movies have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over the years, but only a comparative handful of those movies ever find theatrical distribution. Now a new partnership between the Sundance Institute and film distributor New Video will offer hope to festival filmmakers whose work has fallen through the cracks of the studio system. Soon any director that’s ever played Park City will have the opportunity to release his or her film through Sundance/New Video onto one (or all) of six web portals: Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, YouTube and SundanceNOW. Let the reconsideration of forgotten 90s indie gems begin. [The New York Times]

Tracy Morgan, Sean Penn & Frances McDormand star in late additions to 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Tracy Morgan, Sean Penn & Frances McDormand star in late additions to 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Institute announced today the selection of four additional films for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will be January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at www.sundance.org/festival.

2012 Sundance Film Festival selects DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST and REALITY BITES for 'From the Collection' screenings

2012 Sundance Film Festival selects DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST and REALITY BITES for 'From the Collection' screenings

Park City, UT – Sundance Institute announced today that DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST(1991) and REALITY BITES (1994) have been selected for the From the Collection screenings at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Both titles are part of The Sundance Collection at UCLA (The Collection), a film preservation program designed to archive work that has been supported by a Sundance Institute program. The Festival takes place January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Ticket information is available at www.sundance.org/tickets.

Sundance Institute announces films for Sundance Film Festival USA on Jan. 26

Sundance Institute announces films for Sundance Film Festival USA on Jan. 26

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival that will screen in independent theaters in nine different cities around the country. The screenings are part of Sundance Film Festival USA, a program designed to bring the Festival experience to film-loving audiences nationwide. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

On January 26, the second Thursday of the Sundance Film Festival, nine filmmakers will each travel from Utah to one of the following cities: Ann Arbor, MI; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; San Francisco, CA; and Tucson, AZ. Their travel is courtesy of Official Airline Sponsor Southwest Airlines. In each city, the filmmaker will introduce and screen their film and participate in a Q&A with the audience. A video featuring highlights from this year’s Sundance Film Festival will precede each screening.

The Sundance Film Festival USA initiative was established in 2010.

Get your Sundance premieres right here: From Spike Lee to Bruce Willis and Lizzie Olsen to Ice-T

Get your Sundance premieres right here: From Spike Lee to Bruce Willis and Lizzie Olsen to Ice-T

Sundance Institute announced today the films selected to screen in the out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will be held January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at www.sundance.org/festival.

Dramatic and Documentary Competition Films Announced for Sundance Film Festival 2012

Dramatic and Documentary Competition Films Announced for Sundance Film Festival 2012

Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Film Festival will take place January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at www.sundance.org/festival.

Robert Redford, Founder and President of Sundance Institute remarked, “We are, and always have been, a festival about the filmmakers. So what are they doing? What are they saying? They are making statements about the changing world we are living in. Some are straight-forward, some novel and some offbeat but always interesting. One can never predict. We know only at the end, and I love that.”

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “In these challenging economic times, filmmakers have had to be more resourceful and truly independent in their approaches to filmmaking. Looking at this year’s submissions, the result is more fully realized visions and stronger stories; we are proud to see the Festival emerging as a key indicator of the health and creativity of our filmmaking community. The overall quality of the films in the 2012 Competition section will make for an exciting Festival and a remarkable year ahead for independent film audiences everywhere.”

For the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, 110 feature-length films were selected, representing 31 countries and 46 first-time filmmakers, including 26 in competition. These films were selected from 4,042 feature-length film submissions composed of 2,059 U.S. and 1,983 international feature-length films. 88 films at the Festival will be world premieres.