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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

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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

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“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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Back To One Episode 87: Aaron Taylor-Johnson

To say Aaron Taylor-Johnson puts 100% into every role is actually a bit of an understatement. He starts to live as the character months before filming begins. Then, when it's over, it takes him months to "shed the layers" of the character before returning to himself. This might sound like a bunch of hooey, until you actually see the brilliance of the work and the fullness of transformation. He got his big break with Kick-Ass, spent some time in the Marvel universe, played John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, then won a Golden Globe for playing a psychopath in Nocturnal Animals. Now he stars in A Million Little Pieces, a film he and his wife, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, co-wrote together based…  Read more

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“Something Seismic was Shifting in This Country”: Five Questions for The Wolf Hour Writer/Director Alistair Banks Griffin

The Wolf Hour

With Alistair Banks Griffin's recommended second feature, The Wolf Hour, containing one of Naomi Watts's best performances, in theaters, we're running again our interview with Griffin following the film's Sundance premiere. -- Editor "I can't get out but I look out the attic window and watch the world go by. I feel like an outsider. I am on a different wave length then everybody else...." -- David Berkowitz In one of the Sundance Film Festival's real discoveries, Alistair Banks Griffins's 1977-set The Wolf Hour, Naomi Watts plays June, a novelist and cultural critic existing somewhere in the intellectual shadow of the era's greats, like Susan Sontag. After the publication of her first novel, The Patriarch, leads to her father's presumed suicide --…  Read more

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“Happiness Has Become a Kind of Ideology”: Jessica Hausner on Motherhood, Genetic Engineering, Being a Female Filmmaker and Her Sci-Fi Drama, Little Joe

Little Joe

Jessica Hausner’s unsettling and weirdly beautiful sci-fi drama Little Joe is named for the infertile red bloom that Alice (Emily Beecham), a scientist on a genetic engineering team, has developed as a supposedly harmless form of heroin: savoring its scent makes people feel happy. She has named the flower for her son (Kit Connor), and illicitly brings one home for young Joe to tend and talk to in his bedroom. What Alice supposedly doesn’t reckon with is Little Joe’s capacity for influencing whom Joe wants to live with as he approaches adolescence, herself or his father, her former partner. Or is it that Alice, who is devoted at least at much to her work as to Joe, has unconsciously planned…  Read more

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Sundance 2020 Announces 118 Feature Films

Elisabeth Moss and Odessa Young in Shirley (Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Thatcher Keats)

For independent filmmakers the most eagerly awaited announcement of the year is here: the 118 feature films selected for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The films hail from 27 countries and were chosen from a dizzying record high of 3,853 features. And the 2020 edition is the final one for outgoing Festival Director John Cooper, who says, “The program this year, my last as Director, is a celebration: of art and artists, yes, but also of the community that makes the annual pilgrimage to Park City to see the most exciting new work being made today. Watching this group expand and thrive over the years has been exhilarating and wildly rewarding. Our 2020 Festival's lively and visionary crop of artists…  Read more

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