“Something with Your Therapist”: Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in Marriage Story

Marriage Story depicts the love two people can find in separation. It is not a rekindling, it is stepping back to respect the boundaries you crossed in your strangling embrace. The original love hardens. It dies and returns as something like an actual reverence. At this distance, you might actually be able to see each other again. If the separating lovers in question, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), can learn to walk away from each other with nothing more than that knowing glance—“I accept that we will not be together. It is sad, but you are great. I respect you and the boundaries of your personal desires and interests”—they will have found their happy ending. Noah Baumbach frames the…  Read more


Sundance Announces 2020 Festival New Frontier Selection

Hominidae by Brian Andrews (Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute.)

Thirty-two independent experimental and independent media projects comprising the 2020 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier program were announced today by the Sundance Institute. Included in what is often Sundance's most surprising section are an art/journalism project riffing on the newsreel format by artist and Lemonade collaborator Khalil Joseph; an "under construction" AI based on the thoughts of linguist and critic Noam Chomsky; and a 35mm short consisting of 16,000 cuts. Also included are new works that are the latest installments in the lifelong practices of artist and filmmakers (and Sundance veterans) Lynn Hershman Leeson and Narcissister. Of note too is New Frontier's screening of Pedro Costa's latest feature, Vitalina Varela​; with its focus on the physical as well as emotional architecture…  Read more


Hits & Misses 2019: Surveying the Success of the Sundance Film Festival’s Theatrical Releases

Awkwafina and Tzi Ma in The Farewell (courtesy of A24)

The times, they keep a-changin’. In its immediate aftermath, the story out of Sundance 2019 was its bounteous acquisition market and record-setting sales numbers—from New Line’s $15 million purchase of Blinded by the Light to Amazon Studios’ $27 million splurge on Late Night and Brittany Runs a Marathon. By the summer, a different narrative began to emerge. While these top acquisition titles earned millions of dollars at the box office, they all still under-performed in theatrical release. Then, Amazon Studios’ veteran head of theatrical distribution Bob Berney left the company, a departure that potentially signaled shifting priorities at what had been the festival’s biggest buyer.  Indeed, it’s more challenging than ever to accurately take stock of the current indie marketplace, when no…  Read more


“We Have a Relationship with Fear from an Early Age… We Understand What It Means to be Prey”: Jennifer Reeder on Her Female Teen Horror Film, Knives and Skin

Knives and Skin

Genre filmmaking is arguably one of the most exciting and provocative sectors of cinema right now, with fresh perspectives and elevated messaging challenging the screen and its audiences. Case in point: Jennifer Reeder’s new feature, Knives and Skin. The filmmaker, who has crafted a number of successful short films over the past few years, has a bold aesthetic and isn’t afraid to put complex characters -- especially young women -- in bizarre and provoking situations. “I love seeing so many women not just like reclaiming, but claiming," says Reeder about women in horror. Women have often been the subject of so many genre films, and currently there’s a surge of female creators taking back the reins and looking at tropes and typical…  Read more


Self Reflection in Theater Two

Lisa Valencia-Svensson at Hot Docs (photo by Gabriel Li)

Over the past year, various reckonings—from continued collective and individual action around #metoo to protests against institutions accepting donations from the Sackler family, Warren B. Kanders and oil giants like BP—that media and arts institutions have gone through have brought the weaponization of cultural capital via art-world philanthropy onto the front pages of newspapers. Meanwhile, in the U.S. documentary film field, the way we’re talking about who holds power and how it’s dispensed has remained narrowly focused.  Film festivals have jumped into this fray with public forums, panels and talks at which emboldened filmmakers and a new crop of festival directors and programmers debate thorny questions: how to resolve documentary film’s colonialist origins, advance racial justice in the U.S. documentary field…  Read more


Sundance Film Festival Announces 2020 Indie Episodic, Shorts and Special Events

See You Next Time

Eighth episodic works, 74 short films and nine special events were announced today as part of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The shorts were selected from 10,397 submissions hailing from 27 countries. In the press release, Kim Yutani​, the Festival’s Director of Programming, said, “Authenticity and independent voices resonate across formats – and that’s evident across the full spectrum of this year’s Indie Episodic and Special Events slates. Defined by distinctive voices and enlightening viewpoints, these are riveting projects that find inspiration in the urgent stories and extraordinary individuals of our times.” Mike Plante, ​Senior Programmer, Shorts, said, “With an unprecedented number of 10,397 submissions, we had so many great shorts to choose from. It is thrilling to share so many unique…  Read more


“The Studios Don’t Really Make Movies Like This… We’re Like Dinosaurs”: DP Phedon Papamichael on Shooting Ford v Ferrari

Based on the real-life friendship between Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby, Ford v Ferrari unfolds deeply within the racing culture of the mid-1960s. Egged on by future Chrysler head Lee Iacocca, Henry Ford commits to an expensive attempt to defeat the Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Shelby, an engineer and former racer, works with Miles to develop and test the GT40. Ford v Ferrari is the fifth collaboration between director James Mangold and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. Christian Bale stars as Miles and Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby. Other performers include Tracy Letts (Henry Ford), Jon Bernthal (Lee Iacocca), and Josh Lucas (Leo Beebe). Papamichael is currently shooting The Trial of the Chicago 7 for…  Read more



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