London Calling – Sundance 2012 films getting their UK premiere
With video sharing sites such as Vimeo and YouTube becoming a viable platform for indie filmmakers, are the days of film festivals numbered? Why bother with expensive entry fees only to have your magnum opus rejected by an unpaid festival intern? After all, with the Internet, you can upload a 1920 x 1080 movie to be seen by a global audience, 24/7. Should this even be a discussion?
For most film festivals, the answer is no. But the Sundance Film Festival is one of the few exceptions. Knowing that the marketplace for indie filmmaking has drastically changed, Sundance has adapted well to changes, including implementing social media to the festival (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and allowing some of their films to be shown on various video-on-demand services such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc. But as you know, the Internet or even your big screen HDTV is not the ideal way to view a movie. A few years ago, the Sundance Institute launched Sundance Film Festival USA in which Sundance films and their filmmakers travel to major cities in the U.S., including new venues this year in Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco and others, to screen their movies and take part in audience Q & As.
Perhaps the biggest expansion for 2012 has been the launch of Sundance London Music and Film Festival, which will take place April 26 – 29 at The 02. Not only will the festival feature the UK premieres of Sundance 2012 films, it will also present daily live music performances, discussions, panels and other public events. The festival definitely looks to broaden Sundance’s brand to the world marketplace.
“I welcome the opportunity to see how people in the UK experience these films,” said Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute. “While they are American productions they speak to universal experiences and global challenges. Sundance London also is the perfect opportunity to continue our long-time commitment to growing a broader international community around new voices and new perspectives.”
Here are the films that are included in the London program…
2 Days in New York (Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau) — Marion has broken up with Jack and now lives in New York with their child. A visit from her family, the different cultural background of her new boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend who her sister is now dating, and her upcoming photo exhibition make for an explosive mix. Cast: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon.
Chasing Ice (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Science, spectacle and human passion mix in this stunningly cinematic portrait as National Geographic photographer James Balog captures time-lapse photography of glaciers over several years providing tangible visual evidence of climate change. Winner of the Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentaryat the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Filly Brown (Directors: Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos, Screenwriter: Youssef Delara) — A Hip Hop-driven drama about a Mexican girl who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes with the incarceration of her mother through music. Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos.
Finding North (Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush) — A crisis of hunger looms in America and is not limited to the poverty stricken and uneducated. Can a return to policies of the 1970s save our future? Features interviews with activists including Witness to Hunger’s Mariana Chilton, Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and Academy Award®-winning actor Jeff Bridges, as well as original music by T Bone Burnett & The Civil Wars.
For Ellen (Director and screenwriter: So Yong Kim) – A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. Cast: Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, Shay Mandigo
The House I Live In (Director: Eugene Jarecki) — For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet, drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong and what is the path toward healing? Winner of theGrand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Liberal Arts (Director and screenwriter: Josh Radnor) — Bookish and newly single Jesse Fisher returns to his alma mater for his favorite professor’s retirement dinner. A chance meeting with Zibby – a precocious classical music-loving sophomore – awakens in him long-dormant feelings of possibility and connection. Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser.
LUV (Director: Sheldon Candis, Screenwriters: Sheldon Candis, Justin Wilson) — An orphaned 11-year-old boy is forced to face the unpleasant truth about his beloved uncle during one harrowing day in the streets of Baltimore. Cast: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton.
Nobody Walks (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young) — Martine, a young artist from New York, is invited into the home of a hip, liberal LA family for a week. Her presence unravels the family’s carefully maintained status quo, and a mess of sexual and emotional entanglements ensues. Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk. Winner of the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Director and screenwriter: Terence Nance) — A quixotic young man humorously courses live action and various animated landscapes as he tries to understand himself after a mystery girl stands him up. Cast: Terence Nance, Namik Minter, Chanelle Pearson.
The Queen of Versailles (Director: Lauren Greenfield) — Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America – a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles – when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. Winner of the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Safety Not Guaranteed (Director: Colin Trevorrow, Screenwriter: Derek Connolly) — A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel. One employee develops feelings for the paranoid but compelling loner and seeks to discover what he’s really up to. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS (Directors: Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace) — A film that follows LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy over a crucial 48-hour period, from the day of their final gig at Madison Square Garden to the morning after, the official end of one of the best live bands in the world.
Under African Skies (Director: Joe Berlinger) — Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he sparked for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa, designed to end Apartheid.
For more information, please visit www.sundance-london.com.