In 2011 Robert Redford decided his indie SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL US should go East so here we go for another year, at 02 Arena London, Greenwich, London. It’s worth the hike from central London to see a terrific slew of indie dramas and documentaries that have only just premiered in snowbound, sunnny Utah in January 2013. This year the focus is on exploring the interplay between independent film and music.
SUNDANCE LONDON 2013 will screen 18 features and a new Britflic spotlight at its Greenwich base, along with music, Q&As and other exciting events to keep you amused over a long spring weekend
Here is our review of what to go for:
THE LOOK OF LOVE **** Michael Winterbottom makes a film a year: some good, some not so good. He’s hit the jackpot this time with a raunchy, upbeat trip down memory lane sixties-style. A dazzlingly entertaining biopic of porn king Paul Raymond, played magnificently here by Steve Coogan and headlining this year’s festival. Tamsin’s Egerton’s legs are to die for and unrivalled anywhere on stage or screen.
UPSTREAM COLOUR: **** Shane Carruth’s intriguing second feature since his hit, Primer, first delighted audiences nearly ten years ago. Upstream was the talk of the town at Berlinale in February and set to be one of the gems of this year’s festival.
BLACKFISH, a documentary about the killer whale Tilkum has a eco-friendly premise and asks the question: should killer whales ever be kept in captivity?
RUNNING FROM CRAZY:showcases the good and bad of being part of the legendary Hemingway clan. Brought to us by the Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple.
HISTORY OF THE EAGLES PART ONE: Fans will be excited to have a documentary dedicated to this much-loved band that made the best selling album of all time. Alison Ellwood puts together archival footage and recent interviews with the stars who are still talking..just! Promises to be an interesting story even for non-fans interested in the life and times of a rock band in the seventies and eighties.
THE MOO MAN: Have you ever wondered how the poor dairy farmers struggle on against the leviathans of mass market food retail ? Here’s a chance to find out how Sussex farmer Steve Hook upped the ante in Andy Heathcote’s delightful documentary. 4*
In the worthy corner is BLOOD BROTHERS, a doco that tells the true story of Rocky Braat who went to India on hols and ended up working with HIV-infected children. (Grand Jury Prize Sundance US 2013).
THE SUMMIT****: Everest is a walk in the park compared to the dangers of climbing K2. Nick Ryan’s skilful documentary pieces together the events surrounding one mission to the mighty mountain. More people die on the descent of K2 than conquer this treacherous snowy peak. Winner of the Editing Award: US Documentary at Sundance 2013.
TOUCHY FEELY: ** Massage is a growth industry but what happens if you suddenly lose your desire to touch? A comedy from Humpday director Lynn Shelton and starring the watchable Rosemarie de Witt (Your Sister’s Sister) Has some great performances, particularly from Ellen Page but the uneven pace makes it a turgid affair.
THE KINGS OF SUMMER: Did you ever leave home as a teenager to spend some time with your friends? This rites-of-passage teenage bonding drama has some hilarious moments and shows what can happen when things don’t work out exactly according to plan. 3***
EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES: Kaya Scoledario and Jessica Biel star in a surreal comedy about childhood, motherhood and loss. Freshly told by Italian director, Francesca Gregorini.
IN FEAR: TV director Jeremy Lovering’s Britflic thriller about fear of the unknown for a couple on a creepy car journey in the depths of the English countryside.
IN A WORLD…: American TV star Lake Bell’s buzzworthy rom-com in which she also stars as a voiceover artist with a gift of the gab where accents are concerned.
PEACHES DOES HERSELF: 3*** Self-styled Canadian, Berlin-based electronic musician Peaches will headline as herself live at INDIGO2 In an outlandish show were she struts her stuff wearing a shredded penis and falls for the ultimate lady boy. She will also present the film PEACHES DOES HERSELF. MT
THE SUNDANCE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL RUNS AT THE O2 ARENA FROM 25-28 APRIL 2013. TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE AT SUNDANCE-LONDON
Sundance Film Festival 2013 draws to a close and the long awaited awards are dished out on the final Saturday night in Park City, Utah.
The argument will rage on ad infinitum about whether all submissions are actually dispassionately viewed, or skipped through in favour of more ‘name’ produce.
Creating a film festival line-up will always be supremely difficult. Sundance as much as any festival needs to pay heed to the fact that in the end, as a not-for-profit organisation, they do need to put bums on seats.
However, of the 113 accepted submissions, 51 were from first time filmmakers. There were also a fair few returnees, graduating up from their successful short film to their first feature, which pleases Festival Director John Cooper, as well as Director of Programming Trevor Groth.
Speaking of the World Cinema crop this year, Trevor says: ‘The World Dramatic Competition features a number of films that are shot by foreign filmmakers in countries outside of their homeland. A Chilean film shot in Italy, a German film shot in America, a Polish film shot in Spain, a UK film shot in the Philippines, and an Italian film shot in Brazil. There’s something remarkable about that. It speaks to the global filmmaking community that’s happening.’
Regarding the awarding of the prizes, Sundance is quoted thus:
“The culmination of the Sundance Film Festival is the Awards Ceremony. The competition juries, comprised of individuals from the worldwide film community with original and diverse points of view, select films from both the documentary and dramatic categories to receive a range of awards. Decided by Festivalgoers’ ballots, Audience Awards are bestowed upon films in each of the Festival’s four competition categories. Click here for a description of award categories.”
So, the juries are in, the decisions have been made and there is a massive slew of awards to win, about 37 in total- but the major ones of note are:-
Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Fruitvale
Grand Jury Prize: Doc: Blood Brother
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Jiseul
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize Doc: A River Changes Course
Audience Award World Cinema Dramatic: Metro Manila
Audience Award World Cinema Doc: The Square
Audience Award US Dramatic: Fruitvale
Audience Award Best of NEXT: This Is Martin Bonner
Doc Special Jury Prize: Inequality For All
Doc Special Jury Prize: American Promise
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Circles
Fruitvale then, the standout winner, admired by both jury and festival goers alike.
There were also acting gongs for Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for The Spectacular Now and Shane Carruth and Johnny Marshall for Upstream Color
Of the titles we liked the look of before the festival commenced: Inequality for All, Blood Brother, The Square, Dirty Wars, Pussy Riot and A River Changes Course all took down major prizes and are sure to feature – if not at a local indie cinema near you over the coming months – then when Sundance London present the UK premieres of a selection of 14 films fresh from the Sundance Film Festival, between 25-28 April, at the O2 centre.
Gothenberg has already kicked off and the Berlinale is just around the corner. Let the after-parties commence. AR