Sundance Film Festival

Joyce McKinney: the psychopath beauty queen in Errol Morris' TABLOID

Article: Joyce McKinney: the psychopath beauty queen in Errol Morris' TABLOID

In 1977 Joyce McKinney, a Miss Wyoming beauty queen, flew to England, kidnapped her former boyfriend, Kirk Anderson – a Mormon missionary – and drove him to a cottage where she tied him to the bed and raped him repeatedly in an attempt to become pregnant. According to McKinney, however, Kirk left with her willingly and the two proceeded to have the best weekend of their lives. She didn’t get pregnant either way, a failing she attributes to the evil Mormon brainwashing that made Anderson impotent. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you haven’t seen TABLOID, the latest from veteran documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (FOG OF WAR, THE THIN BLUE LINE). Extensive interviews with the very camera un-shy McKinney, as well as with the tabloid reporters who followed the case, a young ex-Mormon and even a Korean dog cloner, make this hands down the most entertaining documentary I’ve seen all year. And since Anderson refused to be interviewed (no surprise there), you’re naturally left puzzling over what really happened long after.

Brit Marling is stunning in ANOTHER EARTH

Article: Brit Marling is stunning in ANOTHER EARTH

It’s kind of puzzling to me that ANOTHER EARTH is billed as a science fiction/fantasy/drama. The story of Rhoda (Brit Marling), a young woman who kills a man’s wife and child in a car accident and then tries to atone for her mistake, is more like a quietly played drama set against a backdrop of space travel to a second, identical planet Earth. Still, it’s that backdrop as well as the film’s deftly handled inclusion of the complicated physics and math involved in the exciting multiuniverse theory that made it a shoe-in for the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance earlier this year. And all science aside, the muted way the film portrays the moral dilemma Rhoda is faced with made it an only all too worthy winner of the festival’s Special Jury Prize as well.

Sundance ShortsLab

Article: Sundance ShortsLab

Last summer the Sundance Institute brought the first-ever ShortsLab to Los Angeles, where, for a single day, short filmmakers participated in an immersive workshop experience with some of cinema’s leading producers and directors. The goal of ShortsLab is “to empower the next wave of emerging artists by giving them first-hand insight into the basics of developing their idea, making their film and getting it seen by audiences.” Because that’s the hardest part, right? You may have made the most amazing short film the world has ever known but how do you get anyone to see it? Answering that burning question, as well as all the other unknowns fledgling directors may have are what ShortsLab is all about.

IF A TREE FALLS: THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT

Article: IF A TREE FALLS: THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT

The term eco is thrown around a lot these days, preceding a mind-numbingly long stream of words like -friendly, -chic, -tourism, and the ubiquitous -tote. But rarely do we hear it in conjunction with terrorism, as in eco-terrorism, the subject of Sam Cullman and Marshall Cury’s documentary IF A TREE FALLS, which won the U.S. Documentary Editing Award at Sundance this year.

The Alternative Guide to Summer Films

Article: The Alternative Guide to Summer Films

Paul Rudd in this summer’s OUR IDIOT BROTHER. The time has come for summer film releases, and we wouldn’t dream of a better way to spend the hot days. Summer, great films, and air conditioned movie theaters simply go together. From notable directors to surefire blockbusters to Sundance Festival favorites, we’ve got your Alternative Summer…

Sneak Preview: THE LEDGE

Article: Sneak Preview: THE LEDGE

MATTHEW CHAPMAN’S CONTROVERSIAL THRILLER THE LEDGE
SNEAK PREVIEWS ONLINE AT SUNDANCENOW

Unique Release Continues Mission of Pioneering
New Distribution Methods to Reach the Widest Audience

New York City (May 6, 2011) – SundanceNOW, a new online destination to discover the best of independent film, announced today that the controversial Sundance thriller, THE LEDGE, is sneak previewing on SundanceNOW.com before it becomes available in theaters and On Demand marking the first time IFC Films has premiered a film online. THE LEDGE is a sexy, suspenseful, thriller that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. It is directed and written by Matthew Chapman and stars Charlie Hunnam (SONS OF ANARCHY), Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, and Christopher Gorham (UGLY BETTY). The film is produced by Mark Damon and Michael Mailer. THE LEDGE premieres on Wednesday, May 11th at SundanceNOW.com.

THE LEDGE is available for $12.99 on SundanceNOW prior to its pre-theatrical video-on-demand launch on May 25 on cable, satellite and digital platforms. The film is then going to have a theatrical premiere on Friday, July 8.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “THE LEDGE is a provocative film with a shocking conclusion that will really get people talking. It is exactly the kind of film that will work well on multiple platforms and gives us a great opportunity to expand on our mission: bringing independent films to the widest audience possible, utilizing all the platforms available to us. We continue to believe that the audience for our films is best-served by bringing films to them via the electronic art-house circuit we have created and continue to innovate as well as via the traditional theatrical art-house.”

“These days, there are many new and innovative ways to distribute a film, and new techniques are constantly evolving. IFC is at the forefront of cutting edge independent distribution, and we love that they are trying something new with THE LEDGE,” says producer Mark Damon.

Adds director Matthew Chapman, “We sold the film to IFC Films because we knew they would help us reach the widest audience possible and this unique release strategy does just that. THE LEDGE is a film that is designed to get people talking and thinking and a sneak preview on the web is a great way to start the conversation.”

One step can change a life forever in THE LEDGE. After embarking on a passionate affair with his evangelical neighbor’s wife (Liv Tyler), Gavin (‘Sons of Anarchy’s’ Hunnam) soon finds himself in a battle of wills that will have life or death consequences. Gavin, an atheist, is lured by his lover’s husband (‘Insidious’ Wilson) to the ledge of a high rise and told he has one hour to make a choice between his life and the one he loves. Without faith in an afterlife, will he be able to make a decision? It’s up to police officer Hollis (Howard) to save both their lives but the clock is ticking in this edge-of-your-seat film that will leave you gasping until the final frame.

Joe Zee with Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel

Article: Joe Zee with Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel

Joe Zee interviews Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

ALL ON THE LINE: Joe Zee Learns to Ski

Article: ALL ON THE LINE: Joe Zee Learns to Ski

Joe Zee hits the slopes (and the snow!) in Park City during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Check out some great images by Yvan Rodic of Facehunter here. Want to know more about his thoughts on the latest designers? Be sure to check out ALL ON THE LINE premiering in March on Sundance Channel. Joe…

Elmo makes a pregnant woman's day at Sundance Film Festival

Article: Elmo makes a pregnant woman's day at Sundance Film Festival

This adorable video of Elmo (and Kevin Clash, the man behind the lovable puppet) greeting a delighted pregnant audience member at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEERS JOURNEY has been going viral. This is unsurprising because the Internet loves Elmo…and I strongly suspect Elmo loves it back. Gah, I can’t wait…

Sundance documentaries get no love

Article: Sundance documentaries get no love

An image from Andrew Rossi’s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

One thing that has been nagging us as we consider this year’s Sundance, now that we have time to gather a bit of perspective, is this: for all the talk of movie deals; and all the hooplah made over more commercial-minded films like My Idiot Brother, which, though a very good film, and a very fun film, is not by no measure a great film; why was there so little discussion about the documentary entries at the festival? A category, which in our humble estimation, was exceedingly superior to the feature film category.

Sundance 2011 = Officially Over

Article: 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.”

A Banner Year for Sundance Film Festival Deals

Article: A Banner Year for Sundance Film Festival Deals

On the final day of the Sundance Film Festival, the scorecard stands at 30. That’s how many films were picked up for domestic distribution during the festival.

“This is probably the best in the last three years for films that actually sell during the festival,” Arianna Bocco, head of acquisitions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films in New York, told Crain’s New York Business. “It’s clear that it went from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market.”

Sundance Film Festival: Praise for HAPPY, HAPPY

Article: Sundance Film Festival: Praise for HAPPY, HAPPY

For those who weren’t paying close attention, Anne Sewitsky’s HAPPY, HAPPY may have seemed to come out of nowhere when it collected the World Cinema Jury Prize for a dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. But, in fact, the Norwegian film about love and infidelity had been quietly gathering glowing reviews.

And the winner is… Drake Doremus' LIKE CRAZY

Article: And the winner is… Drake Doremus' LIKE CRAZY

Director Drake Doremus accepts the Grand Jury Prize: U. S. Dramatic for ‘Like Crazy’ at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Night Ceremony at Basin Recreation Field House on January 29, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images)
And the winner is… Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY, which was just awarded the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s awards ceremony.

The film arrived at Sundance with tremendous buzz—Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan was particularly laudatory—and went on to be rapturously received. It was quickly picked up for distribution by Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush for $4 million, a sale that kicked off a week-long flurry of deals and acquisitions, the likes of which haven’t been seen in Park City since the 1990’s.

Along the way, there were other films that captured audiences’ hearts—MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE; HIGHER GROUND; THE GUARD—but LIKE CRAZY, which stars up-and-comers Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as college students in Los Angeles whose romance is interrupted by the INS (Jones plays a Brit who overstays her visa), was a persistent favorite throughout the week, thus its win is not much of a surprise.

Why Didn't You Hear More About HOW TO DIE IN OREGON?

Article: Why Didn't You Hear More About HOW TO DIE IN OREGON?

The Sundance Film Festival jury obviously found much to admire about Peter D. Richardson’s HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, a documentary about physician-assisted suicide in a state where it is legal. After all, it presented the film with the festival’s Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary category on Saturday night. But audiences outside of Park City may not have heard a whole lot about the film.

Director Doug Liman Takes Our Questions

Article: Director Doug Liman Takes Our Questions

Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam (L) and Director Doug Liman attend the Skoll Closing Dinner at the High West Distillery during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
Filmmaker Doug Liman has tackled tough topics before: His recent film FAIR GAME, inspired by the experiences of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose cover was blown by a White House press leak, looks at the devastating consequences of unchecked political power.

In RECKONING WITH TORTURE: MEMOS AND TESTIMONIES FROM THE ‘WAR ON TERROR,’ the special performance he teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN American Center, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, to present at this year’s festival, Liman again considers those consequences. In the hectic run-up to the event, he took a few minutes to answer SUNfiltered’s questions via email, sharing his thoughts on torture, secrecy and taking a stand.

Sundance Film Festival Awards: Who Won? What Did They Say?

Article: Sundance Film Festival Awards: Who Won? What Did They Say?

If you missed the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony last night, no matter. You can experience it, minute by minute, for the first time or all over again, on the Sundance Film Festival’s blog. Writer Eric Hynes fills you in not only on who won the awards, but who presented them, what award presenters and winners said, and even, in some cases, what they wore.

Sundance Film Festival Trend: Hard Times

Article: Sundance Film Festival Trend: Hard Times

As the 2011 Sundance Film Festival heads into its awards ceremony tonight and then, tomorrow, its final day, the festival-film trends are still emerging. The Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik has spotted another one: economic hardship, which he calls “a veritable through-line” in many of this year’s selections.

Isabelle Fuhrman shines in SALVATION BOULEVARD

Article: Isabelle Fuhrman shines in SALVATION BOULEVARD

Actress Isabelle Fuhrman attends ‘Salvation Boulevard’ Preimiere on January 24, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Colby D Crossland/Getty Images)

For a number of young ladies, this year’s Sundance was a kind of coming-out party, during which they were declared the latest “It” girls to prance through Park City. Among them: Elizabeth “Lizzie” Olsen, Brit Marling, and now, as the festival begins to wind down, Isabelle Fuhrman, the star of SALVATION BOULEVARD, George Ratliff’s adaptation of Larry Beinhart’s comic novel about a mega-church community. The film, which was just picked up for distribution by IFC Films and Sony Pictures, also stars Pierce Brosnan and Marisa Tomei.

Just 12-years-old, Fuhrman was until now best-known as the haunting face staring down from posters for the 2009 horror film ORPHAN. (You remember: the pale white face; the ribboned pig tails; the death stare.)

Over the past few days in Utah, she’s been understandably a much more happy camper. Sundance Channel caught up with Fuhrman getting ready for the SALVATION BOULEVARD premiere, and she’s been keeping fans up to date on what it’s like to be a tween star at Sundance via Facebook and Twitter.

Sundance Film Festival Awards!

Article: Sundance Film Festival Awards!

Park City, UT–The Jury, Audience, NEXT! and other award-winners were announced tonight at the award ceremony for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival which was hosted by Tim Blake Nelson

Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic:
Like Crazy

Grand Jury Prize, Documentary:
How To Die In Oregon

Sundance Film Festival: RECKONING WITH TORTURE

Article: Sundance Film Festival: RECKONING WITH TORTURE

The Sundance Film Festival is defined not only by the movies and parties and deals that so often grab headlines, but also by its social conscience. The festival provides an opportunity for the independent-film community to come together, to harness its power and creativity, to make a difference in the world, often in profound ways.

In that spirit, filmmaker Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY, MR. AND MRS. SMITH, FAIR GAME) has teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN American Center, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, to present a special performance of RECKONING WITH TORTURE: MEMOS AND TESTIMONIES FROM THE ‘WAR ON TERROR.’

Sundance Film Festival: Surveying the Documentaries

Article: Sundance Film Festival: Surveying the Documentaries

Many worthy non-fiction films are vying for attention at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, tackling subjects as wide-ranging as extreme environmentalism (Marshall Curry’s IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT), pre-Web viral culture (Matthew Bate’s SHUT UP LITTLE MAN!: AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE), terminally ill people who legally choose to end their…

Sundance Film Festival: The Money Angle

Article: Sundance Film Festival: The Money Angle

While the majority of Sundance Film Festival observers have likely been focused on the emotional and artistic impact of this year’s festival films, as well as the larger the cultural implications, with brief pauses to note the deals being made, Bloomberg, understandably, is more interested in the money: the films that focus on it and the financing behind them.

Sundance Film Festival Deals: PARIAH

Article: Sundance Film Festival Deals: PARIAH

Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to PARIAH, Dee Rees’ coming-of-age film about a lesbian teenager in Brooklyn struggling to find her identity and a sense of belonging, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. (The film was executive produced by Spike Lee.) The deal, reportedly under $1 million,…

Miranda July's bleak but charming THE FUTURE

Article: Miranda July's bleak but charming THE FUTURE

Miranda July (Photo credit: Yvan Rodic/FaceHunter).
One of the latest films to land a distribution deal is Miranda July’s THE FUTURE, the filmmaker’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW. On Friday, it was announced that Roadside Attractions will be releasing THE FUTURE.

But despite Indiedom’s worship of all things July, and the mania stirred by ME AND YOU, THE FUTURE was one of those films that scratched, as opposed to scorched, the Earth in Park City. Reviews were mixed—”bleak but charming” was an oft-heard refrain—with much fuss made over the fact that the film is narrated by a cat; a device that people we spoke to, anyway, found either brilliantly imaginative or bizarre.