News

Sundancing

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

“Today is the worst day ever!” This was just one of the many funny quotes said by one of my Sundance family members on the trip. This sarcastic quote, not remembered as one of laughter at the expense of others, but because this guy, along with the entire group, had the best attitudes of any group of people I have been on a winter term trip with. My first Sundance Film Festival was one to remember. Not only was I surrounded by delicious food, beautiful mountains, a cool city, and mind opening independent films, I had the opportunity to enjoy it with some of the best people I have met. (more…)

Park City Restaurant Notes

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I eat. You eat. Everybody eats.

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Agreed? Good. If you go to Sundance, I’m sure you’ll get hungry, too. Here are just some of the restaurants in Park City you might check out.

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Hi, My name is Chelsea and I’m looking for love…I mean to be in your next film

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Speed dating sounds a lot more fun than it actual is. Well I guess it doesn’t sound that much fun at all but I tried it anyways. I was really nervous walking into Speed Dating with Festival Filmmakers because I had only seen one film on the list of participating filmmakers and I had no idea what to ask each one.

The producers of The Sleepwalker, Julie Christeas and Schuyler Weiss, were the first people that I met and talked with which was great because I saw the film and they were really easy to talk to. They were really interested in the fact that I was a marine science student at Sundance and Mr. Weiss and I bonded over the fact that we both like dancers (I am one and he is married to one). They were a great first pair to talk to, really allowed me ease into the program.

I also really enjoyed talking with the producer for Dear White People, Lena Waither, she had a lot to say about how to stand out and get noticed. If I ever get in to the business I would definitely want to be in business with her. The director of The Foxy Merkins, Madeleine Olnek, was also a pleasure to talk to she was more interested in the students than answering questions about herself. Majority of the people that I met with were a joy to talk to, they had more advice to give out than students had questions, which was really unexpected and a pleasant surprise.

There was only one intimidating director, Boaz Yakin, he didn’t have a film in the festival but he was on The Power of Story: Class of ’94 panel. His first film was ‘Fresh’ which was shown at Sundance in 1994 and since then he’s had three films at Sundance. Yakin was a bit in your face about all of his accomplishments and made me feel uncomfortable. However, I got my revenge when I told him that I was born the same year that his first film was in Sundance. I was only telling the truth.

God’s Pocket a Personal Hell

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The only movie I didn’t like. It was like watching a series of events with no real purpose. So many things happened that seem like they should connect but they just didn’t, it was like the missing link of film. Gods Pocket, directed by John Slattery, is a dark film about what it means to live in the same small town you grew up in. The locals don’t trust outsiders and at the end of the day, no matter what a fellow local did, they will always take the side of one of their own.

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An Interview with Noaz Deshe

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Here’s Connor’s and my interview with Noaz Deshe, cowriter/director of White Shadow. Hope you all enjoy.

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Internet’s Own Boy: A powerful moment

Monday, January 27th, 2014

I didn’t know who Aaron Schwartz was before I watched the extraordinary film “The Internet’s Own Boy”. However, by the end of the screening, I really wished I had.

Promotional Photo

Promotional Photo

For those who don’t know, Aaron Schwartz was a young internet genius, known for being a founding member of reddit, a co-writer of RSS, and working with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to develop information sharing standards. He was also known for his political activism for the freedom of information, notably with his work against SOPA and PIPA. After downloading academic journals from JSTOR on MIT campus, he was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors, facing 38 years of prison and $1 million in fines. Two years later after being denied a plea bargain for the second time, he was found dead in his New York apartment. He committed suicide. (more…)

Zach Braff, we wish you were there

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Zach looking to see what I have to say about him

Zach looking to see what I have to say about him

Looking back on this, I’m not sure why I went along with Dom’s crazy idea to go to the premiere of “Wish I Was Here,” not to see the movie, but for the slightest possibility to maybe get to see Zach Braff. Dom and I do share the common love of Zach Braff that first began with Garden State. It was a really amazing cast, along with Zach Braff, there was Kate Hudson, Joey King, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Green, and some guy from One Direction. We waited outside in the cold for 45 minutes in a long line of people, some ‘tweeners’, lip gloss in hand, impatiently applying and reapplying their glittery lip gloss getting ready for the chance to shriek at this “super hot” pop star, while others held “Garden State” DVD’s. And then there was Dom and I, iPhones in hand, trying to think of something clever to say to Zach Braff if he happened to stop dead in his tracks while signing autographs, take one look at the two of us, and be totally blown away by his one line that we so flawlessly and appropriately and quoted that would make him want to kiss both of us and say, “you two are my counterparts.” (more…)

Was this year’s Sundance “Uninspiring?”

Monday, January 27th, 2014

According to Sharon Waxman, yes. In her article “5 Cold Truths From an Uninspiring Sundance,” Waxman explains why, in her opinion, indie film is in a “challenging state,” without the appearance of any important, buzzworthy films at this year’s festival. She’s not alone in her disappointment.

Waxman’s “cold truths” are:

  1. “There are TOO MANY movies being made.
  2. Crowdfunding is creating a bottleneck.
  3. Movie Stars + Crowdfunding = Political Problems for Movie Executives
  4. We need distribution for short films that also helps the audience to know what to watch.
  5. There are many new buyers, but they don’t pay much.”

See that hat and those jackets? Thats how you know its so cold.

See that hat and those jackets? That's how you know it's cold outchere.

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AND CUT- Summary of the Festival

Monday, January 27th, 2014

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1…press the button, press the button!!” There was nothing more stressful than waiting to press the ‘join e-waitlist’ button this year at Sundance. E-waitlist was a new addition to the festival and although it allowed festival goers to be in the comfort of their own homes while they waitlisted the films they were dying to see, it was a very unpredictable application. Sometimes you got in to the movie you wanted to see, and sometimes you were just out of luck. However, the worry over getting on waitlists was probably the only stress of the trip. Other than that, things seemed to work out for the most part. It was impossible to be bored with all the opportunities and interesting people around Park City. It was hard to walk down Main Street or leave a movie and not have creative thoughts bulging out of your skull. The Sundance Film Festival was the perfect opportunity to get inspired and to learn more about independent filmmaking as well as contemplate and reflect on questions and arguments the filmmakers presented to you. It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite film because a lot of them were my favorite for different reasons. If I had to choose a top three, (more…)

What got picked up at Sundance?

Monday, January 27th, 2014

As Sundance grows in popularity, its films seem to be more and more user friendly in a way. What I mean is, is that independent films are acquiring more and more mainstream actors, and are able to shoot a fairly high quality film on a relatively low budget. This means that more films are distribution ready when they hit Sundance. And this year’s class has shown that well. Here’s a list of films at the festival that have been picked up so far. (more…)