January 13, 2010

Sundance Festival 2010 News and Updates

Once again, the Documentary magazine editors Tom White and Tamara Krinsky and will dive into the snow, the screenings and the celebrities at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to bring fresh reports from the filmmaking frontlines.

Get all of the offical news, press releases and all that jazz right here on the Sundance site. Start by checking out our interview with Sundance's new director of programming Trevor Groth and read about the changes his has in store for the fest. Then, make sure to come back here starting Jan. 21 for daily updates, videos and more from the IDA team.

IDA Sundance Updates


White at Sundance: Awards Night

Krinsky Video Diary: DOC SHOT with 12th & Delaware directors Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing

at Sundance: 1/28 and 29--I'm A Celebrity; Shoot Me!

White at Sundance: 1/26/10--The Demon Lobbyist of K Street

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/27/10 - Cane Toads: The Conquest

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/24/10 - HBO and Participant Media Doc Shin-Digs

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/24/10 - The Tillman Story and Women In Film

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/23/10 - Panels and Party Pics

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/23/10 - Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo

Krinsky Video Diary: DOC SHOT with Casino Jack and the United States of Money Director Alex Gibney

His and Hers Sells Down Under

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/23/10 - Waiting for Superman

Krinsky Video Diary: DOC SHOT with A Small Act Director Jennifer Arnold

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/22/10 - Secrets of the Tribe and Gen Art's "7 Fresh Faces of Film" soiree

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/22/10 - YouTube/Sundance Deal

Krinsky Sundance Video Diary - Snow Day

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/22/10 - Catfish

Krinsky at Sundance: 1/21/10 - Airplanes & Afghanistan


Sundance News

Saturday, Jan. 30
The Sundance 2010 Awards were announced today. Congrats to the following:

Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Restrepo
U.S. Directing Award: Documentary: Leon Gast for Smash His Camera
Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary: Kirsten Johnson and Laura Poitras for The Oath
Audience Award: U.S. Documentary: Waiting for Superman
World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary: Waste Land
World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary: The Red Chapel
World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary: Space Tourists
World Cinema Documentary Editing Award: A Film Unfinished

See a complete list of winners with quotes by many at the Sundance 2010 site.

Documentarian Fatima Geza Abdollahyan took questions from the audience after the premiere of her candid and spirited documentary, Kick In Iran.

Here's an update on the YouTube Sundance rental partnership. Seems to be going OK.

ABC News digs into Sins of My Father, which is about the son of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and offspring of Colombian politicians who are burdened with their fathers' legacies.

The Catfish filmmakers get Grilled by TheWrap. Yum, grilled catfish! And over at indieWire, Bryce Renninger takes a look at the varying opinions surrounding the "truth" of the documentary. 

NPR reports on the nice crop of docs at Sundance, including Secrets of the Tribe and Cane Toads: The Conquest.

As reported in IndieWire, The Film Collaborative, a new nonprofit organization devoted to providing distribution, marketing and services to independent filmmakers, announced that it had signed on nine films, including Josh Fox's Sundance Competition doc GasLand and
Jonathan Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, which recently played at Slamdance. The Film Collaborative, slated to launch in March, will provide filmmakers with access to such companies as iTunes, Babelgum, The Cinema Guild and others.


Friday, Jan. 29


Slamdance announced its Grand Jury Awards; here are the winners in the documentary categories:
Grand Jury Sparky Award for Best Documentary Film: American Jihadist (Dir.: Mark Claywell)
Special Jury Mention for a Short Documentary Film: Bout that Bout (Dir.: Nico Sabenorio)
Audience Sparky Award for Best Documentary Film: Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story (Dir.: Adam Barker)



According to The Hollywood Reporter, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, acquired the rights to Chico Colvard's Family Affair, which has been screening as part of Sundance's US Documentary Competition. The acquisition is the first for OWN's forthcoming Documentary Film Club, a joint venture with Ro*Co Films International that will launch sometime after the OWN launch in January 2011.The film examines Colvard's own troubled family history of abuse, violence and general dysfunction.

The Salt Lake Tribune chats up Joan Rivers.

The LA Times examines the success of Catfish.

Warning: toxic cane toads have taken the Sundance Film Festival by storm in an irreverent new 3D documentary exploring the warty amphibians' invasion of Australia. Cool.

The Documentary Blog reviews The Oath.

AJ Schanck rounds up the chatter about Gasland, a doc which investigates the issue of natural gas drilling in a first-person style.

Thursday, Jan. 28

While promoting the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the comedienne took some time out to bemoan the lack of Sundance freebies.

The Salt Lake Tribute chats up Adrian Grenier about his doc, Teenage Paparazzo.

AJ Schnack rounds up the reviews of Jeffrey Blitz's Lucky.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
Sundance announced the Jury Prizes in Short Filmmaking, which includes docs Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln, Born Sweet and Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No.

The LA Times compares and contrasts two Sundance docs, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Smash His Camera.

Remember when we told you about those doc filmmakers taking questions for a dicussion about documetary filmmaking? Well, here's how the conversation went down (with video).

What does Catfish say about the video age? Find out.

Oh, and here are a bunch of pics of Sundance docs and the people who make them, courtesy of EW.com.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

Directors talk about the state of documentary filmmaking at Sundance (with video) at EW.com.

Wanna see Bill Gates bust a move? Look right here!

While promoting her doc Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work at Sundance, the comedienne mouthed off on everything from the late-night TV wars to this year's crop of Oscar contenders. She may have accidentally talked about her movie, also.

T&C Pictures International has acquired international rights to Adrian Grenier's documentary Teenage Paparazzo, TheWrap reports.

Monday, Jan. 25
The Salt Lake Tribune
reviews the Argentinean documentary Sins of My Father.

A Small Act, a doc about how sponsoring a Kenyan student changed his live, inspires others to give more.

Vanity Fair gets all up in the documentary world and takes a look at the Sundance success of Waiting for Superman, Catfish and others.


Sunday, Jan. 24
From The New York Times, Sundance Juror and two-time Grand Jury Prize winner Ondi Timoner is making a documentary about global warming, but one that challenges some of the claims proffered by Al Gore in Davis Guggenheim's 2006 doc An Inconvenient Truth. Produced by Terry Botwick and Ralph Winter, Cool It draws largely on the work of environmental writer Bjorn Lomborg, who is somewhat skeptical of what he felt was an alarmist message that Inconvenient Truth conveyed. 

The Times also reports on Jennifer Arnold's A Small Act, which will be airing on HBO acquisition, and which is piquing audience interest as the devastation in Haiti continues to make front page news. A Small Act profiles Chris Mburu, a Kenya-born, Harvard-educated human-rights lawyer for the UN, whose primary andhigh school education was underwritten in part by a Swedish woman, who happened to be a Holocaust survivor.

Exit Through the Gift Shop, which Sundance announced on the eve of opening night as a "Spotlight Surprise," makes its world premiere tonight. The world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy made the film-Sundance bills it a feature film, other outlets deem it a pseudo documentary, others still call it a documentary, and Banksy calls it "the world's first street art disaster movie"-about efforts by a French shopkeeper and amateur filmmakers to make a film about him. Banksy turns the tables, preserving his fiercely kept anonymity, and makes the film about them.

"Exit Through the Gift Shop is one of those films that comes along once in a great while, a warped hybrid of reality and self -induced fiction while at the same time a totally entertaining experience," said Sundance Festival Director John Cooper, in a statement. "The story is so bizarre I began to question if it could even be real... but in the end I didn't care. I feel bad I won't be able to shake the filmmaker's hand and tell him how much I love this film. I think I will shake everyone's hand that day and hope I hit on Banksy somewhere. I love his work in all forms."

Here's the trailer:


Saturday, Jan. 23:
The NYT talks to Diane Weyermann, "Sundance's Queen of Documentaries" and the the executive vice president of documentary production for Participant Media about the purchase of Waiting for Superman, and the company's other docs in the fest.

Then Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates showed up to discuss his involvement in Waiting for Superman.

The LA Times had this to say about Catfish, the doc about friendship and courtship in the Facebook age.

Even the usually tough Nikki Finke gives two thumbs up for docs Casino Jack and the United States of Money and Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks.

The Documentary Blog offers its take on Restrepo, which follows the United States Second Platoon who are stationed in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan


Friday, Jan. 22:
Redford opens Sundance with some memories.

...and gives major props to docs...

And the challenging Howl opens the fest.

Look at that, Paramount Vantage has already acquired something: Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, an examination of the American educational system.


Thursday, Jan. 21:
Reuters lists the "Five pictures that could surprise Sundance buyers"--and two of them are docs! One is Lucky, Jeffrey Blitz's look at when ordinary people win the lottery and, Christian Frei's Space Tourists, focusing on Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist, who dropped $20 million for the ride.

Film School Rejects ups that ante with the 15 must-see movies of Sundance 2010--one which is Alex Gibney's doc Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a look at Washington power lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Variety takes a look at the documentary diversity at Sundance.

Oh, and if you can't make it to Park City, you can always rent five Sundance films through YouTube's new experiment.

As reported in indieWire, Slamdance will also be screening a selection of its films online, via an arrangement with Microsoft's Zune and Xbox platforms. Among the four films to be streamed through January 28 include two documentaries: Mark Claywell's American Jihadist, about an African-American Muslim who aligned with Islamist extremists and fought in Lebanon and Bosnia in the 1980s and ‘90s; and Adam Barker's Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story, which profiles the self-destructive, freewheeling freestyle motocross champion.

Pre-Sundance News, Info and Links

Wednesday, Jan. 20:

Have a burning question for Sundance documentary filmmakers Alex Gibney (Casino Jack and the United States of Money), Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman), Mark Lewis (Cane Toads: The Conquest 3D) and Lucy Walker (Countdown to Zero)? Well, now is the perfect time to ask them--via Twitter. Find out how.

Tuesday, Jan. 19:

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival has announced the lineup ofpanels and special events, offering festivalgoers in-depth conversation, livelydebate and critical insight into a broad range of cultural and social issues. Filmmakersand subjects alike will be on-hand for scintillating conversations andstimulating discussions. Here are some of the documentary-oriented panels androundtables; for more information on the Sundance website, click here.:


Can't Be Done!: Conventional wisdom says some problems just can't be fixed. Tell that to microfinance pioneer and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank, featured in To Catch a Dollar), education reformer Geoffrey Canada (Harlem Children's Zone, featured in Waiting for Superman), environmental visionary Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute, featured in Climate Refugees), and moderator Sally Osberg (President and CEO, Skoll Foundation).

The Doctors are in the House: On the heels of an independent film community battered by the economy, rotating groups of industry experts, filmmakers, and strategists will explore concrete visions and case studies of radical approaches to distribution.  

Art in America: The impact of art reaches beyond communicating human experiences and exploring ideas; It can bridge understanding, provide a vision for social change, and drive the economy. Join us for a discussion with Moisés Kaufman, Rachel Goslins (President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities), Bob Lynch (Americans for the Arts), and Anne Radice (Institute of Museum and Library Services) about rethinking the relevance of film and art. 


At the Lodge is a series of daily panels hosted at the Filmmaker Lodge, including:

The New War Stories: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington (Restrepo), Amit Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story), Andrei Nekrasov (Russian Lessons) and Mohamed Al-Daradji (Son of Babylon) will explore the new kind of war reporting that is emerging in film, mixing journalism and storytelling to produce extraordinary viewing experiences. 

Speaking Truth to Power: A mini-keynote address from Gara LaMarche (president and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies), followed by a human rights round-table with Lamarche, Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath (Enemies of the People), Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders), and moderator Karen Greenberg (executive director of NYU's Center on Law and Security). 


Explore the huge role music plays in film during these lively conversations at Sundance House Presented by HP. Events include: 

Music and Film, the Creative Process (Produced by BMI): What goes into creating a successful film score? What makes for an effective director/composer relationship? Find out in this inspiredroundtable discussion with panelists including Skateland composer Michael Penn and director Anthony Burns; Teenage Paparazzo composer David Torn and director Adrian Grenier; Smash His Camera composer Craig Hazen and director Leon Gast; Family Affair composer Miriam Cutler and director Chico Colvard; Climate Refugees composer Michael Mollura and director Michael Nash; Holy Rollers composer MJ Mynarski and director Kevin Asch; The Kids Are All Rightcomposer Craig Wedren; Countdown to Zero composer and director of the Sundance Composers Lab Peter Golub; Austin Powers composer and Sundance Lab advisor George S. Clinton; and March of the Penguins composer and Sundance Lab advisor Alex Wurman

Jan. 11: The members of the five juries awarding prizes have been announced. The awardswill be presented on Jan. 30 by David Hyde Pierce.

Jan. 7: Can't make it to the festival? That's ok, you'll be able to check out some films, like Linas Philips's Bass Ackwards digitally the day after the festival. Plus, three films (Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross's Shock Doctrine, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie's Daddy Longlegs (formerly known as Go Get Some Rosemary), and Daniel Grau's Les 7 Jours du Talion (7 Days) will have immediate Video-On-Demand debuts after this year's event.

Jan. 4: If you're the type that buries your nose in your iPhoneas much as you do a good movie, then maybe the $4.99 Sundance iPhoneapp is for you. Check out this review of it on Filmmaker Magazine.

Jan. 2: Enhance your Sundance experience--or at least keep track of all those dang screenings--with the help of B-Side's special online film guide. 

Dec. 29: After holding its Queer Lounge for filmmakers at theSundance Film Festival the past six years, GLAAD will become an officialinstitute associate for the first time at the 2010 fest.

Dec. 6: Sundance announces Doc Shorts.

Jan. 2: Sundance Announces Out-of-Competition Slate.

Jan. 1: Sundance Announces US and World Cinema Doc Competitions.