Last night, the 36th annual Sundance Film Festival kicked off in Park City, Utah, a small resort town taken over, for a week and a half each year, by a gaggle of stars, independent filmmakers, moviegoers, and press. But it wasn’t always such a big deal; it was originally dubbed the Utah/US Film Festival and held in early fall, only moving to mid-winter in 1981 so that the nearby slopes would draw otherwise uninterested Hollywood types. (I like to remind myself of this little story while trudging through the snow and cold there.) For the third year in a row, your Flavorwire is on the ground in Utah, soaking up some of the year’s most promising independent films. Here are a few of our most anticipated titles:
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane
At a Sundance screening of Before Midnight last year, I asked director Linklater about the mysterious film referred to only as “Untitled 12-Year Project” on his IMDb page. He said little: “We’re doing this film over a long period of time. It’s a narrative, it’s not a documentary. It’s about a kid going growing up.” We now know a bit more — it was indeed shot in pieces over 12 years, as young Ellar Coltrane matured from first to 12th grade, with Hawke and Arquette as his parents. And unsurprisingly (considering the arc of his and Hawke’s Before… series), it continues the director’s pattern of using cinema and the passage of time to capture ongoing stories, fusing narrative storytelling with documentary conventions. Added to the Sundance slate just this past week (the rest of the films were announced weeks ago), Boyhood has quickly become the festival’s hardest ticket to get.