Sundance Film Festival Film Highlights
Jan 19-29, 2017
I’ll get to report from Park City Utah myself. I actually had a journalist who said I could share her room this year, but I still couldn’t swing the airfare and working temp, I don’t get vacation time so…
Sundance Film Festival started in 1985. This year it received 13,782 film submissions. A combination of 188 features & short films were chosen to be screened at 16 Theater Venues. This year Sundance is presenting 71 Panel & Music Events.
Robert Redford opened the press conference saying that Sundance is not political (seeing as the filmmakers are mainly progressive liberals, yet it takes place in Utah, a Red state, therefore, Sundance tries to be neutral. However, an offshoot of the Women’s March took place right on Main Street on Saturday with festival attendees participating. Of course this is something Redford had no control over, but the main opening night films was…
Al Gore’s sequel to 2006 An Inconvenient Truth about the issues of climate change, this is called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power with Al Gore in attendance. It focuses on Gore being instrumental in getting the Paris Agreement adopted in late 2015, in which major countries agreed to work toward measures that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And the movie went back in and made edits after Trump won to address his disbelief on Global warming.
The other opening night film was I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore directorial debut for an actor Macon Blair. Netflix picked up the distribution. Melanie Lynskey is a woman bored with her life as a nurse’s assistant until one day she gets robbed, the police are useless, so you know that Find Me app you can put on your phone, when hers starts to ping, she enlists the help of her neighbor played by Elijah Wood to track down her stuff. It’s being voted on under dramatic competition, but it’s more of a black comedy.
There was a bidding war to acquire distribution rights of Ingrid Goes West, first-time feature for director Matt Spicer, who co-wrote the film with David Branson Smith. A24 films, Netflix and Neon films competed with Neon beating out the other two. Ingrid Goes West is also a dark, dramatic comedy that follows a troubled young woman named Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza "Parks & Recreation") who becomes obsessed with the Instagram account of a social media influencer named Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) goes to meet her and wreaks havoc in her life.
Looks like Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea) is still front and center going into 2017 this time in a movie called A Ghost Story by writer/director David Lowery. It’s not horror, it’s a ghostly Indie drama where the ghost (Affleck) actually wears a sheet with 2 holes throughout most of the movie, like an old fashioned Halloween costume, yet surprisingly I've read it doesn't make the film ridiculous. His wife is played by Rooney Mara, but I understand she’s not in it for long. It’s supposed to be a very haunting movie (pun intended). A24 films acquired distribution before Sundance.
The Big Sick / U.S.A. World Premiere (1/20) (Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani) — Based on the real-life courtship of Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his now wife Emily Gordon, as they fall in love, struggle with cultures clashes and Emily's mysterious illness. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher. Distributor Amazon Studios
Before I Fall / U.S.A. World Premiere ( 1/21) (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriter: Maria Maggenti) Samantha Kingston has everything. Then after one fateful night, she wakes up with no future at all. Trapped into reliving the same day over and over (a la Groundhogs Day), she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Diego Boneta. Open Road Films.
Wind River (premiere 1/21) a thriller directed and written by Taylor Sheridan (screenwriter Sicario & Hell or High Water). Jeremy Renner is a wild life tracker who finds the raped and murdered body of a teenage Native American girl from an Indian reservation in Wyoming. Elizabeth Olsen, plays the FBI agent sent to investigate the case. It's supposed to be more a show down between local cops, reservation police, FBI and armed contractors, not a romance.
The Weinstein Company acquired rights in Cannes, then drop it early in January and picked it up again at Sundance.
Beatriz At Dinner / U.S.A. World Premiere (1/23) (Director: Miguel Arteta, Screenwriter: Mike White) — Beatriz, an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, who has become a health practitioner. Doug is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same. Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow. No distribution yet.
Mudbound U.S.A. World Premiere (1/21) Director Dee Rees Cast:Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige.distinguishes itself from so many other stories of domestic racism and struggle. Rees keeps the drama human, avoiding many of the more common signifiers of the period in terms of a more contained, intimate look at how dependent so many were on one another during wartime, and how quickly hierarchies were re-established once the threat of global destruction no longer dominated the day-to-day conversation.
I like this girl, Alicia Malone reporting from Sundance, she's adorable, reminds me of a prettier Emily Blunt, and her videos have been informative and well edited for on the fly. This is her vid from Day 4 of the festival:
FIFTY SHADES DARKER
in theaters February 10, 2017
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The LEGO® Batman Movie
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A UNITED KINGDOM
in theaters February 17, 2017
in theaters February 24, 2017
in theaters March 3, 2017
GHOST IN THE SHELL
in theaters March 31, 2017
THE LOST CITY OF Z
in theaters April 17, 2017
The film had its world premiere as closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the New York Film Festival. The film is scheduled to be released on April 21, 2017, by Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street. READ MORE Wikipedia