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Tag: Sundance Film Festival (61-70 of 90)

Keep an eye out for Sundance fave 'The Nines'

Hate to interrupt my coverage of one festival to talk about another, but fans of this blog and those concerned about my post-Sundance mental health will be glad to know this breaking news: The Nines, John August’s three-part fantasy starring Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, and Melissa McCarthy, has just sold to Newmarket, the house that brought you the equally challenging-but-great Donnie Darko. No official release yet — you heard it here first, PopWatchers!

Only sad part: No one could hear my screams of joy over the Southern screams of Kings of Leon. Ah well. Wooooooooo!

Sundance Diary: Finding comedy after Katrina in 'Low and Behold'

Low_l_1Welcome to the last installment in my Pulitzer prize-winning series, "Three Depressing Issues and the Men Who Brought Them To Sundance So I Could Get Really Sad About the State of the World." Today I present Zack Godshall, the director and co-writer of Low and Behold, a docudrama about post-Katrina New Orleans. Zack wrote the movie with his friend Barlow Jacobs (pictured), who also stars as the shy, repressed Turner Stall; Barlow actually lost his house in Katrina and spent some time after the hurricane working as an insurance claim adjuster, and the movie is based on his experiences. They’ve also spliced in interviews with real live NOLA residents who are now either living in FEMA trailers or struggling to rebuild what they had. It’s not a party-time movie, I can tell ya that, but I did laugh out loud several times, mostly just at the communication breakdown between Turner and his insurance clients. It’s possible I was laughing to avoid looking at the mold on all the walls, or the cars overturned in the streets.

Anyway, Zack was my last interview of Sundance, and this is my last Sundance post. I’m sorry if I’m going out on a downer, but I really thought this was important to throw in here. Mr. Godshall is a handsome, unassuming Southern lad with a slight drawl and a tentative way of speaking. Check out the clips and photos on the movie’s site; some of the shots—of empty lots, abandoned warehouses, vast wastelands—will hang with me for a while.

This is your first Sundance—how’s it going?

Showing the movie to people is overwhelming. Just showing it to a crowd of 400 people. I’ve only watched it in a room with like 15 people, so I’m pretty excited about the way people are responding to it.

Are there certain moments people are jumping on?

I think the thing that excites me most is that the film balances some tragic, sad stuff with some comedic elements—the characters are pretty funny, or at least I think they are—and so I guess it makes me happy when I hear people laughing. ’Cause we’re from down around New Orleans, and me and the co-writer, Barlow, wanted to make a movie that would touch on all the different emotional responses, the different ways people are behaving in that environment, and some of the more offbeat, almost absurdist things that are going on. The tragedy is very obvious. But there are moments of comedy you don’t see other places, and that’s something we thought was interesting. Just the fact of a stranger coming into another person’s home and going through all their personal belongings—that’s a very odd situation. So things come out of that that are pretty weird.

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Sundance Diary: Seeing the big picture with the director of 'Everything's Cool'

Everythingscool_lHere’s interview number two in my ongoing series, "Three Depressing Issues and the Men Who Brought Them To Sundance So I Could Get Really Sad About the State of the World." It’s a chat with Daniel B. Gold, who, along with Judith Helfand, directed Everything’s Cool, a documentary about the people in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. It’s a very everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to the global warming issue—and far less cut-and-dry than Al Gore’s Inconvenient perspective—but the overstuffed film did get people talking at the festival (and the free compact fluorescent light bulbs they were giving away could be officially classified as "hot swag" once Year of the Dog director Mike White started bragging that they were the only free stuff he took).

Daniel and I talked at the EW Photo Studio, as he scanned the newspaper for word on what President Bush was going to say about climate change in that evening’s State of the Union address; Mr. Gold also left behind a very yummy salad, so I’d like to thank him for that.

So tell me if I’m summing this up correctly: Everything’s Cool takes off from the science we learned in An Inconvenient Truth, and shows real people who are actually involved in the debate.

That’s heading in the right direction. Essentially, what we ideally hope for is that people who have seen Inconvenient Truth would finish watching the DVD and be angry about why they didn’t know this sooner. How is it possible that the situation could be so dire—we’re now being told that we’re running out of time to do something about it—and we’re being told this NOW? Why didn’t we hear about this on CNN every night? What happened to the message? Our film addresses that.

addCredit(“Everything’s Cool: John Quigley“)

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Did the media cover the wrong Sundance?

During the party following the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony last Saturday night, I had occasion to ask Jeffrey Blitz — who’d just won the jury prize for best director for his coming-of-age dramedy Rocket Science, one of my favorite films at the festival — if he’d had a chance to rub shoulders with any, you know, famous people. He responded with a gentle rebuke: "Well, for me, the real stars of the festival are the other filmmakers."

That statement’s been rattling around in my brain ever since. It reminded me of the John Edwards-esque truism that there are actually two Sundances: the one sprinkled with the Justin Timberlakes, Heather Grahams, Jared Letos, and Queen Latifahs of the world, and the much larger one without.

I mean, what’s more likely: That over the course of the festival you read about a movie called Hounddog, in which Dakota Fanning gets raped, or about a movie called Padre Nuestro, in which two Mexican young men struggle for survival after being smuggled into New York City? Not to leap to conclusions here, but I’m going to guess that it’s the former, and yet Padre Nuestro was no less than the film that won Sundance’s top award, the Grand Jury Prize.

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Sundance Diary: The Nine Best and Worst Things at the Festival

In trying to sum up my entire Sundance experience, I admit I’m struggling a little. How to put a tidy bow on ten days of my life that were simultaneously thrilling and repetitive, inspiring and depressing, much easier than digging ditches but no cakewalk, either? Is it possible to enjoy a week and a half of seeing good movies and drinking free cocktails and hanging out with famous people if you’ve only slept for about 12 hours the entire time? And should you be drinking the free cocktails if breakfast, lunch, and dinner were a Clif bar? How do you catch a wave upon the sand, PopWatchers?

Well, I’m not sure. But I do know that my first film festival was an experience I’ll not soon forget, and I hope these blogs—in all their spazzy self-involvement—have given those of you not yet lucky enough to attend Sundance or its fellow festival brethren a little bit of insight into what the process is like. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be as tired/hungry/emotional as I was the entire time, but I didn’t expect to get a hug from Barry "Tequila" Zito, either, so I guess it all evens out.

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Sundance Diary: Sharing a Rocky Mountain high with Anna Faris

Anna_l_1Hello, PopWatchers! I am back in New York City, trying to come down off the Rocky Mountain high of Sundance, and while it’s great to be home I must confess that I’m going through a bit of withdrawal. Thus, the Utah-related posts will continue here for the next couple of days, as I dispense my last bits of info. Here’s the schedule, if you want to pencil it in:

Later today: My recap of the fest, including the obligatory list of things.
Tomorrow: The final two interviews in my award-winning series, "Three Depressing Issues and the Men Who Brought Them To Sundance So I Could Get Really Sad About the State of the World." (See the first installment here.)

But now, because I need a quick break from all the thinking, I am happy to present the transcript of what happened when I sat down with the lovely and talented Anna Faris (pictured), star of Scary Movie and Waiting, who came to Sundance with Smiley Face, which is, I believe, the first-ever stoner comedy to star a chick in the lead role. Think of it as Harold and Kumar Go Inside Anna Faris’ Brain. Think of her as the Dude, abiding. Think of this interview as the least professional thing either of us did while we were there. I bring it to you largely because I need something to break up the existential torment and pain that every other movie I watched for the last 10 days seemed to visit upon my fragile mental state. And because honestly, I just think Anna Faris is funny as pants.

Is this your first Sundance?

Second.

What were you here for?

May? Did you ever see that movie?

Oh. No. Don’t be mad.

[silence]

Is this interview over now?

It’s a funny little movie.

I’ll check it out. How is this Sundance comparing and contrasting to last time?

Last time I had a supporting role, in a movie that wasn’t in contention. This movie isn’t in contention either, but last time was much more low profile. This, I’m like the lead…

You’re not "like" the lead. This entire movie is 2 hours of your face.

Do you know what that’s like to watch? Especially when I’m slack-jawed, and double-chinned, and like uhhhhh… It’s painful. It’s painful, definitely. Like, why couldn’t I just close my mouth? Just once?

What were moments especially that you were mortified by?

You know, it was a combination of being mortified and being proud. ‘Cause I was also like, well, good for me. Good for me, then, for showing my butt crack. Twice.

addCredit(“Anna Faris: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com”)

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Sundance Diary: 'No End in Sight'

Noend_lIn order to talk about Charles Ferguson’s terrific documentary No End in Sight (pictured), I think I first have to talk about the Sundance shuttle buses. They’re the best mode of transportation for us out here, and after a while you start noticing the different personalities of the drivers and how they relate to your bus-riding experience. Some like to use the intercom to announce stops, some just holler. Some listen to Jack-FM, some prefer country music, and one dude was blasting Godsmack the other day. Some drive in total silence, broken up only by the coughing of passengers. I’ve heard a rumor that there are some drivers wearing pink puffy skirts, but I haven’t seen them yet. Mostly, I tend to get on buses where the driver is about to go off shift, and so I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at the depot waiting for a new driver to arrive. Not sure the statistical probability of that happening to me every single time I’m in a hurry out here, but I’d say it’s pretty representative of my entire life.

Anyway, so as we drive around the same roads day after day, the soundtracks to the bus experience get stuck in our heads, relax us, drive us crazy. But no bus ride has stayed with me more than the one I took after seeing No End in Sight, a film in which the U.S. walk-up to and subsequent mishandling of the Iraq war is explored in immense detail via interviews with government officials, policy experts, Iraqis, and U.S. soldiers, amidst graphic footage of the chaos in the streets of Baghdad. I walked out with my head swimming in a pot of confusion and despair over how the greatest military in the world could have botched this thing so badly, and when I stepped onto the shuttle bus back to Main Street, all I could hear was the engine running and cars whipping by us on the slushy street.

But then, of course, the driver announced we were going to the depot to change drivers, and as he pulled the bus over and left it idling quietly there on the side of the road, I could hear what was on the radio: President Bush giving the State of the Union address. I couldn’t make out everything he said, but I heard him say the word "enemies" twice… and I started to cry.

So here’s an interview for you, PopWatchers, sort of the first in a series I’m going to do here over the next few days, tentatively entitled "Three Depressing Issues and the Men Who Brought Them To Sundance So I Could Get Really Sad About the State of the World."  Today’s is with No End in Sight director Charles Ferguson. He’s a Brookings Fellow and an MIT grad, and — amazingly, given his talent — this is his first movie. This interview is long, but I’m hoping some of you will bear with me. Imagine him talking in a quiet, confident, slightly grave voice, choosing his words with care. I could have listened to him all day. And then probably cried more.

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Sundance Diary: Hey, 'Waitress,' how about some pie?

Overheard on the Main Street Express shuttle bus, 10:15am, Jan. 25: "And then Cuba Gooding Jr. started screaming, ‘A free piss! A free piss!’"

Howdy there, PopWatchers.

Usually I’d put an exclamation point at the end of that, but the fact is, I’m pretty depressed today. It’s these Sundance movies — why are they all so sad? War, death, global warming, death, unpleasant sex, war, drugs, death, death, death… Why is it so hard to make a movie about bunnies, Sundance? Where is that exposé on the fluffy cuteness of bunnies??

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Sundance Diary: The ultimate fly on the wall

The EW Photo Studio is wrapping up today, with only a few shoots left before this crazytown comes to an end. It’s not an overstatement to say our headquarters has been the most exciting place on Main Street, and there’s one man who saw it all — from Access Hollywood interviews to crabby entourages to the sleepy EW staff’s desperate attempts to nap in the Netflix beanbags: our bartender, Corey. Who needs famous guest bloggers? This guy can type, and he makes a killer bloody mary.

"Hello everybody, this is Corey Baca the bartender for the EW.com photo shoot/hub for all the celebs to hang out at. I’ve seen just about everybody that’s made it up to Park City for Sundance and I’ll have to say I’ve got more than I bargained for. I was a bit saddened Mandy Moore didn’t remember me from her MTV show ages ago in Key West where I got to talk about why men don’t like to talk on the phone, but I got over it. Some of the big names I was syked to see up here were Cheryl Hines from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Justin Timberlake, Christina Ricci, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, and of course Heather Graham. This has been an amazing experience and I think everyone should make it up to Sundance at least once in their life, even if you have to row a boat across the Atlantic. The only thing I have a problem with is there aren’t enough drinkers, I guess all the partying is going on into the crazy hours of the morning. Let’s just say I’ve got the same bottle of Absolut that I started with on day one. I hope to make it up here next year for another awesome time, oh and people at EW kick tail!"

So do you, Corey. So do you. Now fix mommy her special drink.

Sundance Diary: Finally, that EW party blog

Yul_lAll right, PopWatchers! I have gotten my jeans back from the laundry (thanks for ironing in that Mom Crease, Marriott friends!) and I’ve got time for one last blog post before I crash. It’s like 2 a.m.; I gotta be up to see Black Snake Moan at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, and I am determined not to sleep through another morning screening, dammit, because I am a professional and now’s as good a time as any to start acting like one.

Also because I am a professional, I am way late with this EW Party wrap-up. I’m really sorry about that — blame the celebrity-blogging hijinks, as well as all those damn movies I keep having to see — but better late than never, huh? You knew I’d come through, didn’t you? After all, I made a promise, and I keep all of my promises, PopWatchers. Except for that one tonight where I promised I’d beat someone at Ms. Pac-Man, and then got my ass kicked. (All I can say is the crappy resolution on the machine at  Pizza Hut really threw me off. I can’t work under those conditions.)

Anyway, without further ado — and oh, has there ever been ado here at Sundance! — I present to you: Whitney’s Night Out At The EW Party Fun Time Happy Place!

addCredit(“Yul Kwon: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage.com”)

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