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Sundance Film Festival

January 19, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
PARK CITY, Utah -- On Saturday morning at the Sundance Film Festival, Zach Braff world-premiered his new film, “Wish I Was Here.” This was notable for several reasons. From a business standpoint, it was, of course, the first movie made by a high-profile star to be funded largely through Kickstarter. But maybe more important was the cultural standpoint. It was exactly a decade ago that Braff premiered “Garden State” here and quickly seized (or was given) the label of indie-film standard-bearer.
January 19, 2014 | Steven Zeitchik
PARK CITY, Utah -- Seven years ago at Sundance, a member of a soulful rock band from across the pond made his directorial debut with a music-themed movie populated with haunting melodies and a delicate relationship between a male and female musician. That film was John Carney's "Once," and it became such a success story that in the promo short that runs before each screening this year touting great discoveries over Sundance's 30 years, the film makes an appearance, right alongside “Reservoir Dogs” and “Hoop Dreams.” On Saturday night at Sundance, another music-themed narrative film, Stuart Murdoch's "God Help the Girl," made its premiere.
January 19, 2014 | By John Horn
PARK CITY, Utah -- Megan, a young woman about to move on to the next chapter in her life, makes some borderline decisions in "Laggies. " Played by Keira Knightley in a Sundance Film Festival feature from director Lynn Shelton, Megan isn't sure she's ready to get married, isn't sure what she wants to do for a career, and isn't sure what she really thinks of a single man she meets (played by Sam Rockwell). In an ensemble that includes Chloe Grace Moretz and Kaitlyn Dever as high school students, Mark Webber as Megan's boyfriend and Jeff Garlin as Megan's father, "Laggies" (a high school nickname for somebody who's lagging behind)
January 18, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
PARK CITY, Utah - Dramatic comedies about twentysomething women at various life crossroads has become something of a mini-genre in the last few years, with screen entertainment such as “Girls,” “The Bachelorette” and last year's art-house breakout “Frances Ha.” Mostly these stories are set in crowded urban environments, necessitating the high rents, low wages and multiple roommates that make for dramatic combustion. They rarely involve pastoral, lawn-friendly settings.
January 18, 2014 | By Daniel Miller
PARK CITY, Utah -- How does it feel to arrive at the Sundance Film Festival with five Academy Awards nominations in tow? What's it like to have a daughter who directed a film that is showing in the festival? And what Sundance trends appear to be materializing this year? Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics, dropped by the Los Angeles Times Studio in Park City to answer these questions -- and more. PHOTOS: Sundance Film Festival 2014 | The Scene Barker and Bernard's company, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has three pictures screening in the festival: "The Raid 2," "Only Lovers Left Alive" and "The Lunchbox.
January 18, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
Referring to a movie or filmmaker as “genre” is often a subtle way to undermine them, placing them in a specific, confined box and leaving them there. This, of course, overlooks the ways in which many of the greatest filmmakers, from Howard Hawks to John Carpenter, have specifically grappled with genre-based storytelling to render something surprising from the seemingly familiar. When filmmaker Jim Mickle's new “Cold In July” premieres Saturday evening as part of the dramatic competition category at Sundance it will mark an unusual move, as just last year Mickle was in Sundance's midnight section with his cannibal horror/family drama hybrid “We Are What We Are.” It is a rare leap for a filmmaker from the confines of the midnight section to the prestige of the festival's competition.
January 18, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker envisioned "The Lion's Mouth Opens," which screens as part of the documentary shorts program at the Sundance Film Festival, as "an espresso shot to the heart. " It is most certainly that. Fifteen minutes of shifting, searing emotions as its subject, actress-writer-director Marianna Palka, deals with the prospect she might have the gene for Huntington's disease, the neurodegenerative disorder that cruelly felled her father, taking, as the Scottish-born actress' mum recounts, both his body and his mind in torturous ways.
January 17, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
When people talk of "main street" in their coverage of the Sundance Film Festival, it's not a metaphor, as the small ski-resort town really does have a main thoroughfare that is central to much of the action. It's also the most obvious example of the tension between the growing glitz and the small-town quaintness that is part of the fabric of the event. As the film festival celebrates its 30th anniversary, these photos are a reminder of how truly intimate the event once was - and also how exciting the meetings it creates can be, bringing together critic Roger Ebert with provocateur Michael Moore, or maverick filmmakers such as John Sayles and Robert Altman.
January 17, 2014 | By Michael Finnegan
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was planning to take off for Utah on Friday for a weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. Garcetti described his visit to the Park City ski resort as part personal, part business. Taxpayers won't be billed, he said, because he's spending a day with friends. “It's on my own dime,” Garcetti said in an interview at Cal State Northridge after an event marking the 20th anniversary of the earthquake. Garcetti said he was also planning to attend a reception for Los Angeles filmmakers at a private home.
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