CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER tells the story of one couple whose relationship is managing to outlive their divorce. It’s a sweet story written by one of the film’s stars, Rashida Jones and her best friend/writing partner/actor/ex Will McCormack. Everyone always says how great it is to marry your best friend, but sometimes the relationship can tap out on the romantic level and settle in on that more comfortable territory. And that’s the story behind the film. But, the story behind the making of the film might be even more interesting. Rashida Jones, Elijah Wood and Andy Samberg are definitely names that have some clout in Hollywood, but CELESTE AND JESSE is still a true indie. As Jones points out, there ain’t no middle ground in Hollywood these days. Your movie is either big budget or DIY. But for Wood, who is used to big budgets and epic shoots, the indie process was really exciting. I guess there is something to be said for wearing stolen socks.
Sundance Film Festival
Every year Sundance Film Festival Founder and President Robert Redford invites all of the filmmakers to a classy brunch at his Sundance Resort just down the road from Park City. It’s every filmmaker’s dream meal, a chance to hobnob with other emerging talent and check out the inner sanctum of Sundance. It’s also a great opportunity to talk shop and enjoy a great party. As one filmmaker pointed out, “This party cost more than my film.”
Two years ago, Microsoft’s search engine Bing occupied the basement of Cisero’s off of bustling Main Street, where it played host to the after party of the Sundance hit WAITING FOR SUPERMAN—a documentary about the failings of the U.S. public education system. In the restaurant’s cramped, caliginous basement, John Legend, the film’s co-producer, teamed up with The Roots to perform an intimate show for about one hundred-plus people. To the right of the stage, behind a VIP rope flanked by three colossal security guards, stood a bespectacled middle-aged white guy in a fleece, cradling a beer and doing the Macarena. It was Bill Gates.
“We love the spirit of independence at Sundance, encouraging up-and-coming filmmakers, and the indie nature around it,” said Bing director Lisa Gurry. “Our first year at Sundance, we had such a great reception from the Sundance community that we decided last year to make a bigger investment.”
“WHERE THE F–K IS DRAKE?”
Do you like pretty pictures? We sure do. That’s why we’ve got a kick-ass Instagram situation out here in Park City. Make sure to download the app follow sundancechannel for the latest snappy-snaps of folks like Lizzie Olsen, Rashida Jones and Elijah Wood. Don’t have Instagram? Check out our best pictures over on our Tumblr. We’ve got some gems below:
There were a plethora of highly touted comedies boasting heavy-hitting casts that had buyers—and audiences—salivating prior to the festival, but a little indie shot in just over ten days has emerged as the dark horse candidate for funniest film of Sundance 2012.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER comes courtesy of “mumblecore” filmmaker Lynn Shelton, whose last film, HUMPDAY, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival en route to a Special Jury Prize and critical raves for its uproarious portrait of two best friends locked in a no-holds-barred game of macho one-upmanship that leads to them agreeing to shoot a gay porn together.
We’re dealing with blizzard conditions here in Park City. And no, that isn’t a coastal overreaction to mountain weather. We almost lost a busload of filmmakers on the way back from Robert Redford’s brunch this morning and they’re shutting down roads left and right! But, have no fear, plenty of stars managed to snowshoe on over to Sundance Channel HQ. Perhaps it’s because we’ve got plenty of hot drinks and love to snuggle. Rashida Jones charmed everyone and Emily Blunt is still one of our favorite indie darlings, so check out the full roster of smiling faces and pretty pictures:
America has got some issues and this year’s slate of Sundance films is full of stories about ‘em. Festival founder Robert Redford stopped by to talk with Sundance Channel about those issues, and he’s got some valuable insights into the role independent cinema has to play in sharing stories about them.
Pretty girls in parkas! Crazy dudes in cowboy boots! It must be Main Street, Park City in the midst of the Sundance Film Festival. Take a look at how the stylish set are keeping warm with our gallery of Street Style on Main Street and get the logistics down on the best spots to find your favorite indie stars sipping hot cocoa…or perhaps something a bit stronger.
It was by all accounts a momentous occasion. Harvey Weinstein loitered in the hallway. Seth Rogen politely acknowledged some overzealous fans with his trademark chuckle. Shailene Woodley, with a gaggle of girlfriends in tow, waited patiently out in the cold to be let inside. The stars were aligned for the world premiere of CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER on Friday evening at the Sundance Film Festival’s 1,270-seat Eccles Theater.
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger (THE VICIOUS KIND, Sundance ’09), the film follows Celeste (Rashida Jones, who co-wrote the screenplay), a branding exec, and Jesse (Andy Samberg), an unemployed artist who, after a life-long friendship and six years of marriage, decide to split and see other people. Both parties, however, struggle to close the book on their storied past and start new, separate chapters in life.
So far, everybody has politely knocked the snow off their boots before they’ve tromped through Sundance Channel HQ out here in Park City. It was a busy day, with guests ranging from Mr. Sundance himself, Robert Redford, to Blythe Danner and Melanie Lynsky of HELLO I MUST BE GOING and the folks behind the gripping documentary about rape in the military THE INVISIBLE WAR stopping in for a chat. Check out all of those galleries and more:
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival was banner year, introducing many awards-bait films into the fold, and one unique box office hit. There were, however, also some incredibly hyped films acquired at Sundance that, whether it be faulty marketing, a poor release strategy, or general disinterest, failed to connect with audiences. Here are the five winners (MARGIN CALL) and losers (LIKE CRAZY) among the films that were purchased at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. We’ve already seen one sale at Sundance 2012 (Sony Pictures Classics just picked SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN), so it will be interesting to see if there were any lessons learned from this lot:
Kim Kardashian’s gaudy fairytale nuptials lasted just 72 days.
Louis XIV, in all his decadence, ruled France for just over 72 years, making him the longest-reigning monarch in European history.
Somewhere in between lies Jackie Siegel, the wonderfully tacky, basketball-bosomed protagonist of Lauren Greenfield’s rags-to-riches-to-rags documentary, QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, which made its world premiere the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival.
Going to Sundance is exciting for everyone from film lovers to those of us click-clacking away behind keyboards. But it must be a whole different ballgame for filmmakers who’ve gotten their projects into competition. To find out what that’s like we sat down with some of the folks behind this year’s slate of competition films:
First things first: at 75, actor, director, and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford is as virile and dashing as ever.
Named after his character from BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, Sundance was known as the U.S./Utah Film Festival when he founded it in 1978. In 1981, the festival moved to Park City, and in 1984, it was renamed the Sundance Film Festival. It soon became the premier showcase for independent film.
A still from CLEAR CUT: THE STORY OF PHILOMATH, OREGON
Sundance Institute announced thirteen films supported by the Institute that are for the first time available to rent, download and stream. Look for the films on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, SundanceNOW and YouTube. Films will be available on Netflix on March 1. For a full list of titles and where they are available, visit sundance.org/nowplaying or join Sundance Institute’s social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Kickstarter.
From time travel to Chinese dissidents and Australia to the Middle East, the films in competition this year have got just about every topic and locale covered. The first films premiere tonight, but to make sure we’ve got you ready for the next ten days, we’ve got photos for each one of the films in the running:
Well, it has started. So, what should we be looking forward to at Sundance this year? Besides, y’know, festival flu, exhaustion, and malnutrition.
Even before the festival officially began, The New York Times had already figured out this year’s Sundance. It’s basically The Year of the Bummer at Park City. “If the Sundance Film Festival is a mirror of America,” writes The Times’ Brooks Barnes, “this year’s installment depicts an unusually stark image of a broken place filled with broken people.” There are four films about corporate greed and more than a dozen movies about what Brooks terms “moral decay.” I hope you remembered to pack your sense of outrage along with your ear muffs, because it sounds like you’re going to need it to appreciate this year’s lineup. Trevor Groth, director of programming at Sundance, agreed, telling Barnes, that much of Sundance ’12 paints a picture of our “midlife crisis as a country.” Suddenly that Ferrari I saw Sundance driving around in last week makes a lot more sense.
Ever since he co-founded Sony Pictures Classics, an autonomous division of Sony Pictures that specializes in independent films, back in 1991, SPC co-president Tom Bernard—along with co-president Michael Barker—has been a regular fixture at the Sundance Film Festival.
Over the past twenty years, his company has acquired 36 titles at Sundance, including WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE; JUNEBUG, which helped launch the career of Amy Adams; the British crime drama LAYER CAKE, which introduced the world to Daniel Craig; and the bildungsroman AN EDUCATION, which racked up three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress (Carey Mulligan).
It’s that time of the year, kids, where Hollywood and its satellite equivalents convene on a small piece of American paradise—Park City, Utah—to peacock around in the latest pieces of après-ski fashion. And also to discuss cinema or film, or whatever’s currant, before they leave. This year’s selections are looking especially intense, with a hot list of LGBTQ films and shorts in the mix. For the past thirty-four years the Sundance Film Festival has been one of the most inviting opportunities for Queer cinema. Check out some of the highlights from this year’s schedule, and place bets as to which one you think will be the next PARIAH.
By now you know that Sundance Channel is set to have Park City locked down over at our Sundance Film Festival site. But, you can also catch coverage on-air by tuning into 10 DAYS OF SUNDANCE, a program that will provide viewers with unparalleled access to the films, celebrities, events and buzz from the festival. 10 DAYS OF SUNDANCE kicks off on January 20th and continues through January 29th, airing nightly from 6-8P E/P.
Sundance Channel will present the network’s largest ever multimedia experience at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival with robust on air, on site and online activities in order to provide unprecedented access to those attending the festival and for fans at home. “Sundance Channel HQ” will offer a one-stop shop for exclusive Festival media coverage, insider events, musical performances, celebrity news, and guests can unwind and recharge while enjoying the many Sundance Channel HQ events. Highlights include meeting the cast of the new original non-fiction series PUSH GIRLS at Sundance Channel’s Festival Party and an intimate Artist Talk with INVISIBLE WAR soundtrack performer Mary J. Blige. The HQ will be located at the Hope Gallery, 268 Main Street, in the heart of Park City, Utah.
“Not in my backyard” – it’s an attitude environmentalists frequently encounter when proposed renewable energy installations move closer to becoming real ones. The Cape Wind project, for instance, has encountered stiff resistance from wealthy part-time residents of Cape Cop who, while supporting renewable energy in general, don’t want their view spoiled. That’s a fairly easy example of the NIMBY attitude to dismiss, as are those involving resistance to most wind projects.
But what if a coal or nuclear plant was planned for nearby? Would you want to be “downstream” from either of those? Would the label NIMBY seem fair for those who protested such development? If you think so, you may want to check out ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA, which premieres on January 23rd at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Hello! My name is Marlow Stern and I’m the assistant culture editor of Newsweek and The Daily Beast. I am very excited to be providing full (read: expansive) coverage of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for its entirety, from January 19th through the 29th, for Sundance Channel.
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:
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.