Last year it was announced that the Sundance Film Festival would take the hustle and bustle of their annual Park City, Utah invasion all the way overseas to London for a four-day multi-disciplinary arts festival that will include film screenings, music, discussions, panels and more. Taking place at The O2 arena, the festival starts in 2012 running from April 26th to 29th and now the Sundance Institute has unveiled the list of 14 films that will head across the pond for Sundance London, and it includes a great selection of films like Safety Not Guaranteed, 2 Days in New York, Liberal Arts and more. See the list below!
Great news for one of our other top favorite films from the Sundance Film Festival this year. The Wrap is reporting that distributor Sony Pictures Classics is "about to buy" the film Smashed, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an alcoholic, which topped quite a few "best of" lists. I'm glad to see this finally finding a distributor, but I'm a little unsure about Sony Classics taking it, I hope they give this the proper support and release it deserves, as it is a fantastic film and they're a bit notorious for not caring much about these kind of films. That said, we'll definitely keep you updated on the release.
On this week's episode of The Golden Briefcase, Tim & Jeremy are joined by Ryland Aldrich of Twitch Film to go through their latest Picks of the Week, the newest in DVD & Blu-Ray releases, talk through new trailers for the upcoming thrillers Takashi Shimizu's 7500 and Rodrigo Cortes' Red Lights and much more! The main topic of the night was a discussion and recap of last week's Sundance Film Festival. The guys are also joined by FirstShowing's own Alex Billington to go over some of Ryland and Alex's favorites of the fest and talk about the hopeful futures of some of the greatest films they saw out there this year. Listen in!
One of my favorite documentaries I saw at Sundance 2012 was The Imposter, about Frédéric Bourdin, known as "The Chameleon", who successfully pretended he was a 16 year old missing boy and was brought home to a Texas family back in 1997. It's a fascinating nearly-unbelievable doc (read my review) about how this guy could convince authorities and this entire family that he really was their missing son now found in Europe. At the end of the festival, we caught up with the doc's director Bart Layton and producer Dimitri Doganis for a discussion on how they made the doc, how it came together, and their stories along the way.
One of my favorite late-fest discoveries at Sundance 2012 was The End of Love, a film directed/written by, and starring, Mark Webber and his 2-year-old son. It's a beautiful film about a single father trying to raise a son, and the way Webber captures the connection and dialogue he has with his real boy is incredible. You may recognize Webber from any number of acting roles, as the "Talent" in Scott Pilgrim, or indies ranging from Explicit Ills to Shrink to Weapons, but he's as talented behind the screen as he is on it. Luckily, Ethan and I were able to meet up with Mark at Sundance for a fantastic interview about making The End of Love.
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, we've got a recap and list of our favorites. I know I've said this before, but 2012 was a truly outstanding year, and it got even better as it came to an end. Between Ethan and I, we saw over 50 films, some good, some bad, some incredible, and we're here to tell you about the best of them. We tend to run reviews mostly for films we truly enjoy, the ones we want to tell everyone about, which is what our coverage has focused on. As a final recap we present our favorite films, plus a rundown of our posts.
While younger generations have been criticized for only watching TV and playing video games, Indie Game: The Movie shows it's these young people who have grown up with these forms of entertainment who now aspire to make the very products that parents once warned would rot the mind. However, in the case of game designers Edmund McMillen, Tommy Refenes, Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow, their mind is far from rotten, and it's actually quite clear as they work hard everyday to craft the kind of video games they love. But just like films at Sundance, their games are crafted outside of the game studio system.
While HBO has followed the case of The West Memphis 3 throughout three different documentary films, it's director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil) and producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh who have delivered the definitive chronicle of a tragic misstep in our country's justice system. West of Memphis starts at the very beginning with the murders of Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas and the impending convictions and trials of accused killers (then just young boys) Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. But they aren't guilty in the least.
Hopefully our video blog has already convinced some of you to check out Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie as the film is now available to rent on iTunes, YouTube and VOD right now (with a theatrical release coming in March), but now you can hear more about the film from Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim themselves as I sat down and interviewed the comedic duo during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Tim and Eric talk about how their film was sadly "Rango'd" by Robert Redford and the festival, the state of comedy today, a sensitive project with Chris Kattan, and what makes the best kind of Shrim. Watch below!
Must bring your own weapons! Finally, we've been waiting to hear about this sale since the film Safety Not Guaranteed first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last week. Variety is reporting late Sunday night that FilmDistrict, the indie distributor that put out Drive and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark last year, has picked up the film for distribution. It's their only acquisition of the fest and it's an interesting pick-up, but good one, since the film has a lot of potential and maybe if they market this up right, it could be a decent hit. Ethan loved it and it's a favorite of a lot of other film bloggers, too. Starring Aubrey Plaza & Mark Duplass.
Magnolia Pictures went on a buying spree recently to wrap up the 2012 Sundance Film Festival this weekend. While the indie distributor, still owned by Mark Cuban, already picked up the horror anthology V/H/S and the doc Queen of Versailles, three more big acquisitions have rolled in very recently. Magnolia is picking up the controversial fast food abuse drama Compliance, written & directed by Craig Zobel, as well as Julie Delpy's new comedy 2 Days in New York, a sequel to her 2 Days in Paris, and Ry Russo-Young's drama Nobody Walks, starring Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski and Rosemarie DeWitt. More info below!
The official awards for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival were announced tonight at a ceremony in Park City. The Sundance awards are always very interesting to follow each year, because the winners are either entirely unexpected or totally deserving, and we've certainly got plenty of both again this year. However, the biggest winner and my own top favorite film of the festival was Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, a tremendous piece of cinema (read my review) which is one of the best discoveries of this year's fest. The full list of winners, including the five Audience Award winners (to also keep an eye on), can be found below.
It's hard to tell a story of the struggles of alcoholism without coming off like a melodramatic after school special, but thankfully director James Ponsoldt has come around with Smashed. Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) stars along with Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") as a married couple seemingly enjoying the good life with a house provided by the latter's wealthy parents and fun late nights with beers, whiskey and more. Together, this trio has turned in a simultaneously funny and harrowing tale of a young alcoholic lost in inebriation and desperate to stop drowning her life in liquor.
While it's impossible to explain the experience of the Sundance Film Festival without actually being here in the cold and snow, there are some ways we can still give everyone a taste of what it's like to attend. For example, this video that was sent over by my friend Eric from IONCinema.com called "Shit People Say at Sundance 2012", featuring some guy named Alexander Norton. When you're here, you start to hear many phrases repeated over and over, many of them becoming quite iconic, legendary, and often amusing to hear. This video parodies many of those phrases and gives you a fun idea of what it's like to be here at the festival.