Alicia Van Couvering on the mysteries of VOD reporting.
You are at the premiere of your own film. The screening is packed. The credits begin to roll…and 500 glowing screens appear in the darkness. You sit there, watching the phones, helpless as strangers and bloggers decide your fate 140 characters at a time. Perhaps the Variety critic delivers the first blow: a decisive mediocre. The indieWIRE stringer declares the audience underwhelmed, #sundance. At a party that night, people tell each other that they heard the movie was “only OK.” In the olden days, crowds of press and industry would gather outside the theatre to discuss their thoughts and settle on …by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 23, 2013
Bill and Turner Ross’ new documentary Tchoupitoulas premiered in Emerging Visions this year at SXSW. The film was eagerly anticipated by fans of their debut feature, 45365, the Documentary Jury Prize winner a few years ago. Three young brothers in Louisiana take a ferry into New Orleans, observe and engage in everything from transvestite clubs to street musicians Mardi Gras floats to an abandoned ship yard on the outskirts of town. Pretty soon the youngest brother, William, a sensitive kid who plays the recorder at school, starts to get tired. “I’m just a child,” he insists, to the jeers of his brothers, who want to stay up …by Alicia Van Couvering on Mar 16, 2012
Does the culture make the artist, or does the artist make the culture? Two Sundance documentaries — Shut Up And Play the Hits, which follows James Murphy through the last concert of his band LCD Soundsystem in 2010, and Under African Skies, Joe Berlinger’s history of Paul Simon’s seminal Graceland – might seem to be unlikely bedfellows. Both films are brilliantly executed portraits of musicians walking the tightrope of cultural relevance and personal expression. The differences between the two stories illustrate fundamental changes in our popular culture over the last 30 years. Both films seek to explore “a moment in …by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 27, 2012
Now in its sixth year, the New Frontiers section at Sundance premiered yesterday at its new home at The Yard, in an unassuming building across from a snow-cloaked cemetery. Presenting the year’s crop of new media, transmedia and experiential video art to a room of press, Sundance programmer Shari Frilot explained her curatorial criteria, though not before a number of the pieces had to turn off their sound (a booming heart beat coming through the wall of Ho Tzu Nyen’s The Cloud of Unknowing on her left, the Wagnerian glory coming from Marco Brambilla’s Evolution (Megaplex) to her right.) “What …by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 21, 2012
Watching Terence Nance’s Oversimplification Of Her Beauty is like being talked through the contents of a shoebox, each item another memento of The One That Got Away. Live action, animation, claymation reenactments, direct-to-camera address by him, on-camera interviews of her by him, blurry, amateur footage shot by her of him, all guided by a formally written voice over, delivered with somber, staccato clarity by an anonymous older man. Descriptions and depictions of other girls slide in and out of the narrative, intercut with shots of The One, whose name is Namik. One animation of a long-distance affair depicts a hand-drawn …by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 19, 2012
In the interest of community-building and vulnerability, I have decided to share some of my most humbling Sundance mistakes and the subsequent lessons learned in the five years I have attended the festival as an assistant, journalist, lab fellow and producer. 1. SNOW Through either sloth or lack of funds, I have always found myself on a connecting flight into Salt Lake City in the middle of winter. This has been a lucky break in some ways (the time I had to share that hotel room in Chicago with the nice lady who worked in biochemical fuel systems; the time …by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 18, 2012
I heard a woman complaining in the women’s bathroom after Trishna. “But she just did what he said for two hours! It was like looking at a sphinx.” Later that day I found myself staring into the eyes of a thirteen-year-old Russia girl named Nadya as she dutifully trudged across the floor, on display in front of a group of Japanese fashion designers, close to paralyzed with alienation and helplessness. The latest by Michael Winterbottom, Trishna follows Freido Pinto as a very poor oldest daughter of a rural Indian family in an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Victorian novel Tess …by Alicia Van Couvering on Sep 14, 2011