Sundance Film Festival - here I come
1/14/2014 11:00:00 PM
The Sundance Film Festival starts on Thursday, January 16, and runs until the 26th. After many years of wanting to go, I’m finally making the trek to Utah and will be there from the 21st through the end.
Not only am I excited about seeing some independent films in their first screenings ever, I’m also looking forward to seeing Park City and Salt Lake City, since I’ve never been, and I’m super hoping to get a glimpse of the founder, Robert Redford in person. He’s going to introduce the whole thing in a press conference on Thursday at 1 pm. Then, you figure, he’s got to be circulating amongst the filmmakers, actors, press and fans throughout the week.
But then again, who knows? I really don’t know what to expect.
Wikipedia says there were 46,731 attendees in 2012. That’s a lot of people to ascend upon a small town. And, out of the approximately 10,000 films that are submitted, only about 1% get chosen to premiere at Sundance. There are 117 films showing this year.
Among that 1% to be selected is a film written and directed by Alex Ross Perry from Bryn Mawr, the son of one of our co-workers, Roy Perry, Continuity Director for WMGK’s sister stations, WMMR and BEN-FM.
Alex’s film Listen up Philip has two impressive stars: Jason Schwatzman who you might know from the HBO series “Bored to Death” (and he also has a small role in Saving Mr Banks), and Elizabeth Moss, who just won a Golden Globe award for her role in the TV mini-series Top of the Lake, and is most known for her role as “Peggy” in the television series Mad Men.
The Sundance film festival website says this about the director: "Following up his critically acclaimed The Color Wheel, Alex Ross Perry scripts a complex, intimate, and highly idiosyncratic comedy filled with New Yorkers living their lives somewhere between individuality and isolation. Jason Schwartzman leads an impressive cast, including Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter, and Jonathan Pryce, balancing Perry’s quick-witted dialogue and their characters’ painful, personal truths. With narration by Eric Bogosian, we switch perspectives as seasons and attitudes change, offering a literary look into the lives of these individuals and the triumph of reality over the human spirit."
Another film screening at Sundance of local interest is Happy Valley – a documentary about the Penn State scandal involving Jerry Sandusky.
The description of the film says: "Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest, Director Amir Bar-Lev creates a parable of guilt, redemption, and identity crisis for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight."
Amir Bar-Lev’s directorial credits include Fighter (2001); and the music documentaries Re: Generation (2011) and 12.12.12 (2013), among others.
To be accepted into Sundance is extremely prestigious. Most of these indies are seeking distribution, money, or both, to take the film to the next level: wide release. Some go on to become hits, like Little Miss Sunshine, Precious, 500 Days of Summer, and many more.
Filmmakers who got their start at Sundance include David O Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies and videotape, Traffic, Erin Brockovich), just to name a few.
Zach Braff, star of Scrubs and the director and star of Garden State has a film at Sundance that he funded using Kickstarter. He raised 3 million dolalrs to make Wish I was Here that stars Kate Hudson and Braff, playing a thirtysomething family man.
In addition to all the films that screen from 8:30 am until midnight at various theaters, there is also a music café, panels, exhibitions on the main street, an awards show, and lots of parties.
I’ll report from the event here on my blog and you can “like” my Cyndy Drue, DJ Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter @CyndyDrue.
We’ll see if I can get a selfie with Robert Redford!