The Sundance Film Festival is just a week away and I couldn’t be more excited! This is my third festival and my first as a board member of The Sundance Institute.
Below please find a run-down of some of the must see films this year. They come highly recommended from my friends at Impact Partners, as well as from the Film Festival team by means of “Cocktails with Cooper”, a Festival preview event where attendees get an overview of all the films with hints as to must-see films. A few of them are my own personal picks! Click here for showtimes and schedule. If you cannot make the festival no worries, add these to your future netflix list!
Stay tuned for my next blog which will highlight “Women at Sundance!”
In the Premieres category:
Before Midnight- Directed by Richard Linklater staring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in this romance drama film. I am not able to see this film but two great stars!
Don Jon’s Addiction- Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt one of my fellow Sundance Board Members. Not only is he the actor that seems to be in EVERY movie right now but he is also a really nice guy, super smart, and VERY entrepreneurial! He stars in the movie along side Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. WOW. The funny story here is that at our last board meeting we were talking about what subject areas we would like to see covered in documentaries and I mentioned that I think there is a real problem with young men’s addiction to internet porn. Joe said “I am making a movie on that subject.” Needless to say I am going to be their at the premiere!
JOBS- Directed by Joshua Michael Stern and staring Ashton Kutcher this is the true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history. It chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. I am taking the whole family to this one and was told that this is Ashton’s best performance yet.
Lovelace- Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and staring Amanda Seyfried. This is film about the first pornographic feature film staring Linda Lovelace and the darker side of her story. It is already being said that this might “open up a conversation about rape culture and sexual consent.” I can’t make the Tuesday night premiere but will be there with a pack of gals on Wednesday morning. Hmm Don Jon’s addition, now this, then Two Mothers…. definitely a sex theme this year and all on the dark side. Read this and especially this one published to today on The Atlantic – “Why the New Movie About ‘Deep Throat’ Could be Important.” I did just hear that one of the male stars of Deep Throat now lives in Park City and is a realtor. Unconfirmed but go figure.
In the US Documentary Competition:
After Tiller- Directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. This is a film that looks a the remaining physicians that still preform late-term abortions after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. I have tickets to the premiere of this film on Friday and I am sure there will be people in the room on both sides of this very controversial issue.
American Promise- Directed by Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson. This intimate doc follows the 12-year journey of two African-American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons.We are investors in this film through Impact Partners. The film is set at The Dalton School in New York, a school whose friends children are attending. There is sure to be controversy over this one.
God Loves Uganda- Directed by Roger Ross Williams. This film follows Americans and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow biblical law. A filmmaker friend said this is an extraordinary film.
In the US Dramatic Competition:
Austenland- Directed by Jerusha Hess and staring Keri Russell is a fun chick flick about her trip to an English resort and her fantasies of meeting the perfect gentleman. Not seeing it but sounds fun!
Touchy Feely- Directed by Lynn Shelton staring Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page and Ron Livingston is a story about a massage therapist that is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. This is one of the films I could not fit in to my schedule that I really am bummed about as I love Lynn Shelton and actor Rosemaie DeWitt. I think the narrative of this film is so awesome.
In the World Cinema Documentary:
The Moo Man- Directed by Andy Heathcote and Co-director Heike Bachelier. A year in the life of a heroic farmer. Rave reviews by everyone who has seen this film!
Salma- Directed by Kim Longinotto. When Salma, a young girl in south India, reached puberty, her parents locker her away. Twenty-five years later, Salma has fought her way back to the outside world. Needless to say this film is right up my alley.
Who is Dayani Cristal? – Directed by Marc Silver. An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for its identity leads us across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo. This is another impact film and was selected as the opening night documentary.
In the Spotlight:
Fill the Void- Directed by Rama Burshtein. A devoutly religious 18-year-old Israeli is pressured to marry the husband of her late sister. Seeing it!
The Gatekeepers- Directed by Dror Moreh. Six former heads of Israel’s Secret Service reflect on the successes and failures of the “peace process” of its military victory in 1967. I have heard that this could be THE FILM of the festival. Absolutely brilliant. Can’t wait.
In the NEXT category:
Milkshake- Directed by David Andalman. Set n mid-1990s America they ollow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and the great-great grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be- black.
This is Martin Bonner- Directed by Chad Hartigan. Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno for a new job in prison rehabilitation. Starting over at age 58, he struggles to adapt until an unlikely friendship with an ex-con blossoms, helping him confront the problems he left behind.
In the DOC premieres:
ANITA- Directed by Freida Mock. Anita Hill, an African American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991- bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issue. We are also investors in this film through Impact Partners. I remember the hearings very clearly as they were on the television on the trading floor of Goldman Sachs while I was a young associate. Many heated discussion followed those hearings and I am forever grateful for the courage of this amazing woman.
History of the Eagles Part 1- Directed by Alison Ellwood. Using never-before seen home movies, archival footage, and new interviews with all current and former members of the Eagles, this documentary provides an intimate look into the history of the band and the legacy of their music. Could not fit it in but very highly regarded.
Pandora’s Promise- Directed by Robert Stone. A growing number of environmentalist are renouncing decades of antinuclear orthodoxy and have come to believe that the most feared and controversial technology known to mankind is probably our greatest hope. Another Impact Film.
Sound City- Through interviews and performances with legendary musicians and producers who worked at America’s greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City, they explore the human element of music and the lost art of analog recording in an increasingly digital world.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks- The definitive story of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, WE STEAL SECRETS explores the people and events behind the upstarts website that rocked the US government, ushered in a new era of transparency and ignited and information war.
Other films we are scheduled to see include Fruitvale, Ain’t Them bodies Saints, Breathe In, The Way Way Back, Linsanity, Very Good Girls, Inequality for All, Circles, A.C.O.D., Stories We Tell, Crashreel, The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, C.O.G., Blackfish, Two Mothers and Narco Culture.
I will be tweeting my little face off over the 10 days of the festival and will be sure to do a follow-up review. Happy Festing!!!