Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2014: How Crowd-Funding Harmed Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’

PARK CITY, UTAH: Normally, when a Sundance alum returns to Park City with a new feature, it’s hugs and handshakes all around. Zach Braff, star of the long-running Scrubs, brought his feature directorial debut Garden State to Park City exactly ten years ago, and he rushed to finish his follow-up, Wish I Was Here, in… Read More

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Sundance 2014: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About George Takei

PARK CITY, UTAH: No one, it seems, is happier with the new documentary To Be Takei (which premiered last night at the Sundance Film Festival) than the film’s subject, George Takei. “I can’t tell you all what a heady experience this is,” he said after the premiere, alongside his husband Brad, “to share our lives will all of you, and hear the laughter and the applause and the good feelings that you’re sending our way.” Takei’s unlikely ascension to beloved pop culture icon, via political activism, a series of self-aware television and film appearances, and a witty and well-curated Facebook presence, makes a good story, and To Be Takei tells it well. … Read More

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Why We Need So Many Indie Films

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The Malick-Style ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Is Better Than Anything Malick’s Made in Years

Since the Sundance debut of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints back in January, the name of Terrence Malick has been dropped in reference to it nearly as often as that of writer/director David Lowery. The influence, to be sure, is hard to miss: a rural Texas setting; an abundance of sun-kissed, magic-hour photography; even an Affleck, Casey in this film matching Ben in Malick’s spring release, To the Wonder. The comparisons haven’t been entirely flattering. “Lowery, it can’t be denied, has Malick’s moves down pat,” writes The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd. “It’s the Malick touch that eludes him.” Dowd may be right — inasmuch as the “Malick touch” has lately verged on self-parody and narrative inertia. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, on the other hand, is better than anything Malick has made in at least a decade. … Read More

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7 Artists Whose Airbnb Would Have Been Better Than Donald Judd’s

If you were enticed by the Airbnb ad for the late Donald Judd’s renovated former home and studio in Soho, prepare to be bummed. The ad was quickly taken down, and an artist in Detroit named Tyler Taylor has spoken with ARTINFO to announce that it had been a prankish work of institutional critique. In any case, given the city’s recent crackdown on shady short-term sublets, the Judd Foundation’s (ostensible) asking price of $2,000 a night would have probably been offset by a $1-5,000 fine. … Read More

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Sundance 2013: Awards, Deals, and When You Can See Them

Indie producers at Sundance would be wise to steer your film editor away from their screenings, since (for the second year in a row, to say nothing of Tribeca and SXSW) practically none of the films I saw over my six days in Park City managed to grab any prizes at Saturday night’s big award ceremony. I’m all out of theories for why I’m so bad at picking these things — but it’s something we’re all going to have to come to terms with, apparently. Not to worry, though; many of the very good films I did manage to see will be coming your way over the next few months, so let’s take a look at films that won both awards and big-money deals. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Sundance 2013

This time last year, the out-of-nowhere indie Beasts of the Southern Wild emerged at the Sundance Film Festival, knocked out everyone who saw it, and embarked on a thrilling year-long ride to become a critical fave, indie smash, and multiple Oscar nominee. Of course, when you have a big hit, everyone’s looking for a sequel — and most of the press out of Park City has been eager to buzzkill, assuring us that no, there’s not another Beasts in this year’s bunch. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an incredible… Read More

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Dave Grohl Reveals the Documentary That Inspired His Music Career

At a Sundance event earlier this week promoting his new music documentary Sound City, I had the chance to ask Foo Fighters frontman (and now filmmaker) Dave Grohl about some of his favorite music documentaries. His thoughtful and wide-ranging answer was interesting enough, I thought, to warrant including in its entirety. … Read More

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Sundance 2013: Dave Grohl, on Making Films and Music: “I Fake All of These Things”

PARK CITY, UTAH: Dave Grohl is the first one to tell you that he is not a filmmaker. And yet, here he is at Sundance, chatting up the documentary Sound City, which marks his directorial debut. “I don’t even know what directing means,” he laughed at a press conference Monday. “I’m not a director. I’m not a drummer. I’m not a guitar player. I fake all of these things. I never took lessons to do any of this shit. I don’t know — I can’t read music. I hold my drumsticks backwards. I don’t know what a director is. But I do know, if you sit down with a clear idea of what you want to do, if it’s in your head and you can actualize it or visualize it… well, then, you wind up with something that makes sense.” … Read More

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