Bruins in Park City 2013
Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals again attract a throng of TFT talent
Sundance Featured Stories
- Ponsoldt's "Spectacular Now" Wins Special Jury Award at Sundance
- TFT and The Wrap Co-Host Reception at Sundance
- TFT and The Wrap Co-Host Industry Panel at Sundance
- "El Mariachi" Q&A at screening for Sundance Collection at UCLA
- Mock and Sanders' Sundance doc "Anita" Re-visits Clarence Thomas Hearings
- Alex Gibney from Sundance on "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks"
- Justin Lin on director panel "The Power of Story"
The Sundance Film Festival is one of the most important film events held in the United States, and this year’s festival proved its status with a flurry of high-profile deals, showcasing renewed energy in the independent film world, along with the attendance of Hollywood’s elite.
The relationship between the Sundance Film Festival and TFT has always been a close one, not least because alumnus Geoffrey Gilmore MA '79, former director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, served as the Festival's defining director during a period when its influence in shaping the American independent film scene was most crucial, from 1990 to 2009.
Once again, the School of TFT hosted its highly anticipated reception, produced for the first time in partnership with leading entertainment news website The Wrap, at the refurbished Claim Jumper Hotel on Main Street with more than 400 festival guests in attendance.
"A record number of TFT students traveled to Park City this year," stated Teri Schwartz, dean of the School, "as a direct result of our latest strategic efforts to provide fresh opportunities and special workshops, in addition to adding newly created classes solely focused on festivals." Read more here.
U.S. Dramatic Competition
A Special Jury Prize for Acting went to Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for their work in "The Spectacular Now," written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“(500) Days of Summer”) and directed by UCLA Professional Program in Producing grad James Ponsoldt '10. Read more here.
U.S. Documentary Competition
Oscar™-winning alumnus Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side") returned to Sundance with "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks," an expansive documentary that includes footage from a wide-ranging one-on-one interview with Assange. Gibney also directed a 3 minute documentary to "Focus Forward Films," a new series of 30 three-minute stories about innovators, and he participated in a "Hollywood Reporter" Live Google+ Hangout. Read more and watch video here..
The well-recieved documentary "Anita," directed by Oscar™-winner Freida Lee Mock ("Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision", with Mock's husband, two-time Oscar™-winning TFT alumnus Terry Sanders '54, MA '67 serving as as Executive in Change of Production, was also the subject of a Hollywood Reporter Google+ Hangouts interview. Read more and watch the video here.
Fifth-year TFT MFA Production/Directing student Carlos Marques-Marcet edited the feature film "It Felt Like Love," directed by Eliza Hittman, which will also play in 2013 Rotterdam Film Festival. Gina Piersanti stars as fourteen-year-old Lila, bored during a Brooklyn summer, dangerously competing with an a more experienced friend by pursuing a relationship with a tough older boy.
Archive @ Sundance
Many of the Festival's classic offerings are preserved and restored in UCLA Film & Television Archive's Sundance Collection, and a representative work from the collection is screened in Park City each year. In 2013 it was 20th Anniversary screening of "El Mariachi" (1992), the first film written and directed by Robert Rodriquez, followed by a Q&A with Rodriguez and star Carlos Gallardo, moderated by TFT alumnus and Sundance Senior programmer John Nein MFA '03. Read more and watch the video here..
PANEL DISCUSSION: "Power of Story: Independence Unleashed"
TFT alumnus Justin Lin '95 joined directors Jane Campion and Richard Linklater, and writer producer Mike White, in a discussion moderated by "Entertainment Weekly's" Jess Cagle. The subject is the enduring power of narrative in cinema. Questions raised included a central one for this decade: Why are increasing numbers of edgy indie filmmakers gravitating toward the long form serial narratives of cable and broadcast television? Read more and watch the video here.
PANEL DISCUSSION: "HOW TO MAKE AND SELL YOUR INDEPENDENT FILM IN THE DIGITAL AGE"
TFT and The Wrap co-present, and Dean Teri Schwartz introduced, a panel discussion certain to be of interest to the rising stars of independent cinema in attendance at Sundance. Moderated by The Wrap CEO & Founder Sharon Waxman, the panel included Indieflix CEO Scilla Andree; Director, Editor and Writer Lynn Shelton (whose "Touchy Feely" is in competition); Indie Producer and Distribution Expert Jonathan Dana; Director, Producer and Whitewater FIlms founderRick Rosenthal; and Chief Development Officer, Maker Studios, Chris Williams. Read more here.
Across town at Slamdance, once an upstart event but now firmly established, which runs January 13 - 24, TFT alums Ben Peyser and Scott Rutherford co-directed "Host Team One," in the Narrative Feature Competition. Described as a "subversive, comedic take on the found footage genre," the film tells the story of two roommates who both fall in love with a girl who insists their home is haunted.
Also at Slamdance, Erin Li's short film "To the Bone," produced by UCLA Producers Program alumna Ella-Pauline Franklin. The film, about the children of California migrant workers, has a second screening on January 23rd at 7:00 P.M., at the Treasure Mountain Inn.
About the Festival
Supported by the nonprofit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including "sex, lies, and videotape," "Maria Full of Grace," "The Cove," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "An Inconvenient Truth," "Precious," "Trouble the Water," "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Winter's Bone," and, through its New Frontier initiative, has brought the cinematic works of media artists including Isaac Julian, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp and Matthew Barney.PHOTOS, top to bottom: James Ponsoldt '10, center, on the set of "The Spectacular Now", with Miles Teller and Kyle Chandler; Julian Assange in Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks;" Anita Hill in Freida Lee Mock's "Anita;" "It Felt Like Love," edited by Carlos Marques-Marcet; Carlos Gallardo in the title role in Robert Rodriquez' "El Mariachi;" Carlos Santos in Ben Peyser; Scott Rutherford's "Ghost Team One;" and "To The Bone," produced by Ella-Pauline Franklin.