Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, folks like myself try and pick out which, if any, of the movies making their debut in Park City could become Oscar contenders later in the year. In 2013, I attended the indie film festival so I can attest to the Oscar buzz starting for something like Fruitvale Station screened. Ironically, none of the movies from Sundance 2013 made the cut for Best Picture, but screenplay nominee Before Midnight premiered there along with four of the five Best Documentary Feature nominees. But maybe some films from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival could get Oscar love. The question is, which ones?
After premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival last month, the Guantanamo Bay centric drama Camp X-Ray has been picked up by IFC Films. The company announced the acquisition to the North American rights to the film from debut director Peter Sattler, which should have no problem finding an audience with The Twilight Saga lead Kristen Stewart starring. In the film, Stewart plays a young woman who joins the military to be part of something bigger than herself and her small town roots, but ends up as a rookie guard at the questionable detainee facility Guantanamo Bay, codenamed Camp X-Ray. More below!
Following the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, we rounded up a list of all the films that had been picked up for distribution after premiering at the festival. Now three more films have been acquired, likely for release later this year. THR reports Sony Pictures Classics has acquire Infinitely Polar Bear starring Mark Ruffalo while Gravitas Ventures and Millennium Entertainment have picked up the 80s love letter Ping Pong Summer. And finally, The Wrap reports Well Go USA, which picked up Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, has landed themselves another bloody horror film with the intense, violent Japanese flick Killers.
While attending a film festival it's always exciting to hear buzz about films that may not have been on our radar before. One film in particular at Sundance 2014 that I kept hearing my colleagues raving about was actually a documentary, one called The Overnighters. It took a little while but I finally caught up with the film after the fest and was so taken aback, so impressed and surprised and genuinely moved by what I saw, I couldn't help but write about it. Overnighters is a refreshingly modern documentary, an utterly compelling, nuanced film that precariously balances the big questions of one of the great dilemmas of this day and age.
The 2014 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 have one more recap and the list of our favorites. After screening films for nearly 10 days straight, Ethan and I have put together a selection of the 10 films that we believe are the best of the fest, our favorites from Sundance 2014. Among them are a few docs, a number of comedies, but mostly outstanding, original, wonderful films. This is to wrap up our coverage of Sundance as the fest has concluded. As a final recap we present our 5 favorite films each, plus one last rundown of everything else.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is finally over (check out all our coverage right here), and as is always the case after the indie film bonanza in Park City, some films were lucky enough to get purchased for distribution on the big screen. However, with no break out hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Like Crazy or Fruitvale Station, there were significantly less pick-ups during the festival, with only 21 films getting picked up. There's likely plenty more deals to come with buzzed about films with recognizable faces like Infinitely Polar Bear with Mark Ruffalo and Camp X-Ray with Kristen Stewart still looking for distribution. But for now, we've collected a list of all the films that got picked up so far. See the list below!
I've reached the end. After 10 days of films, screenings and indie cinema mania, I've finished up and arrived home from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. In total I saw 32 films at screenings during the festival held in Park City, Utah. While it never actually snowed once the whole fest this year, it was still cold and it was yet another wonderful year of discoveries, great films, thought-provoking art and insightful experiences. This was my eighth year in a row returning to Sundance, and after hitting an even 30 last year I decided to set my goal to hit the same this year, but ended up somehow fitting in an extra two along the way. Excellent.
The official awards for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival were announced tonight at a ceremony in Park City. We've been curiosuly awaiting the results of the awards at Sundance, and now we know who won big - Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Miles Teller and JK Simmons in an intense drumming drama. It landed a double header win - Audience Award and Directing Award, which puts it up there with the likes of Fruitvale last year, Precious and Quinceañera as other double-header winners before. There were plenty of other expected and yet fantastic awards given out, so read on for the full list of 2014 winners.
With the topic being so controversial, who would have thought that a romantic comedy with abortion at the center of the story would be so damn charming and irresistible. Obvious Child hails from Gillian Robespierre, turning her short film of the same name into a feature length film with "Saturday Night Live" veteran Jenny Slate playing the same role, a twentysomething who finds herself with an unexpected pregnancy after a one night stand with a kind, alluring stranger (Jake Lacy of "The Office"). The familiar meet-cute that would normally drive a generic romantic comedy is made engaging with the abortion focus.
This film can be best described as a (literally) colorful serial killer film starring Ryan Reynolds as a guy who talks with his pets and kills people. Yep, it's already WTF based on that alone, but the film itself - whoa. Marjane Satrapi's The Voices is a film that I'm intrigued even exists with the story it has along with such an impressive cast to boot. I'm honestly not sure if I was amused and entertained or completely horrified watching it. During my screening at Sundance, heaps of moviegoers walked out the moment it started to get bloody. And damn does this film get bloody. But it's also funky and deviously enjoyable, if that's your thing.
First of all, let's be clear that I hate the term "rom-com" because it's such a silly industry abbreviation, as if no one in Hollywood has time for words (though that's evident by the quality of scripts that get turned into movies, but I'm getting away from myself). But the headline needed to fit and be clear: Comedian, writer and director David Wain, and his "Stella" cohort Michael Showalter, have created the perfect parody of romantic comedies with They Came Together. This time, Wain brings Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd (two bit players from the stellar Wet Hot American Summer) together for a meet-cute, with all the cliches.
The festival is winding down, people are heading home, it's nearing the end... The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is almost over and even though I'm just departing today, I am already starting to get nostalgic. I love this festival, I love attending festivals, and although I'm very tired, I don't want to leave, I don't want it to end. On top of all the films and all the excitement around independent cinema, it's the people that make my festival experience so amazing, so unforgettable, every year. My friends (old and new), my colleagues, the volunteers, the staff, the publicists, the filmmakers, the locals, I owe them all so much for being the best.
Time to take a hilarious trip back to the 80's. Imagine time traveling back to Sundance 1985 and catching the premiere of a coming of age film set around ping pong in Ocean City, Maryland. That's what Ping Pong Summer is like, and they nail the cliches, cheesiness and stereotypes of the 80's, but in the right way. The kind of way that it makes you laugh and smile and feel nostalgic yet also feel kind of happy that we don't live in this time anymore. The story is simple but sweet, and heartfelt but entertaining, the perfect throwback to a time past without iPhones or the internet, but with pixie sticks, foam parties and yes, of course, ping pong.
Pretty much every year now there seems to be some kind of new take on the zombie subgenre. Last year it was Warm Bodies, and this year, director Jeff Baena tries to reverse that story with the comedy Life After Beth. The film follows Dane DeHaan as Zach, a teen positively devastated after his girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) dies after being bitten by a snake while hiking alone. So when DeHaan discovers that Beth is alive again and being hidden by her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon), he's enraged, confused, and then enamored with a second chance at love; that is until she shows uncharacteristically powerful strength, her flesh starts deteriorating, she can't focus, and her moods swing violently. Read on!