Slamdance is not the most organized, most popular, or best laid out festival in the world. It is, however, a festival within the Sundance film festival. It’s like festivalception. And that joke is warranted here since Christopher Nolan, director of Inception, had his groundbreaking film Memento at Slamdance. Other films such as the film that Netflix has the hardest time recommending based on viewers’ previous viewing habits, Napoleon Dynamite, have premiered here to great success equal or greater than their more popular Sundance cohorts.
I met quite a few people at Sundance. I think that may have been the most fun, meeting people. I met a producer, an editor, a composer, and even possible executive producers and/or narrators for my film. I also met more characters than I can count. Here’s how I met so many people.
Rob Brydon is hilarious. Steve Coogan is hilarious. A movie that has those two eating and drinking while doing impressions must, ergo, be funny. It is.
Sundance is very different from the two other film festivals, South by Southwest and the Austin Film Festival, that I have attended as a badge holder. Despite its origins, it has become a more exclusive, mainstream event that is just as much a social playground for LA and New York industry executives and celebrities as it is an outlet for indie films. Me and my friends remarked that attending Sundance, in itself, gives other people around you the impression that you are somebody they need to know. For that reason and maybe others, everyone I talked to at parties and in line for movies was really very nice.
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This was probably the most underwhelming feature of the festival for me. Fishing Without Nets begins promisingly with a semi-documentary style that leaves plenty of room for the unexpected. It doesn’t last long though as the film quickly shifts into a more generic format when the main character Abdi decides to join his friend aboard a pirate ship. It is at this point that the film begins to feel like a fairly conventional Hollywood picture. What I mean by that is that it seemed obvious to me at that point what the trajectory of the film would be and that it would end in one of a few ways, a quality that few want to see in a true indie film. < — Read the rest of this entry — >
Liar’s Dice is a very moving story of a woman, Kamla, from the hills of India (near the Tibetan border) who leaves her village with her daughter, Manya, (and her pet goat) to find her husband, a migrant worker in Delhi who has not contacted his wife in five months. Along the way, she teams up with Nawazuddin (who is sitting only feet away as I type this) a rough and tumble man on the run for reasons never fully explained. Together they take turns trying to keep their search running smoothly.
Few directors have come to be known and associated with a place and culture the way Richard Linklater has with Austin. Since releasing “Slacker” at Sundance in 1991, following it up with “Dazed and Confused” in 1993 and “Waking Life” in 2001 as well as founding the Austin Film Society, the director has helped to create a culture that still permeates the city to this day.
This year at Sundance, Linklater released his most recent effort, “Boyhood.” Although it was submitted too late to be included in competition, I daresay it would have had a very good chance at winning the audience or Grand Jury award in the U.S. Dramatic category. It has been 3 days since I saw the film and the sense that it may be one of the best and most near-perfect films I have ever seen remains.
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So what does Ian Brennan (writer of Glee) have in common with Leigh Whannell (writer of Saws I-III)? Nothing! On to the review…no, wait, I messed that up. They wrote Cooties together and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s strange. I’ll just start off by saying that the film was most certainly entertaining. I attended a midnight screening with two buddies and the theater was filled with energy and laughter from start to finish. < — Read the rest of this entry — >
“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. < — Read the rest of this entry — >
Zach left the theater, alone and confused about what he had just seen. “Did that woman really just masturbate with vegetables?” he thought. Stepping onto the bus, he spied a seat far in the back. People sat and stood around it. Normally, he would offer the seat to anyone looking to take it –not just a woman or an old person, but anyone –but, at this time, he was too tired to worry about the people who hadn’t taken the seat for themselves.
Upon sitting down, the older man next to him initiated a conversation. “That was some movie, wasn’t it?” he asked.