Posted by Matt Rosenberg on January 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the preeminent film festival in the USA today, starts this Thursday, January 19th. Independent filmmakers will gather in Park City, Utah for a display of world class independent filmmaking. The concept of “independent filmmaking” simply means that all these movies were independently financed by sources other than the studios. These sources include wealthy individuals, raising capital from selling distribution rights to foreign distributors, the use of debt financing, hedge funds and/or private equity firms, and banks among others. Sure, there are exceptions, but all you need to know (for the most part) is that as long as a studio did NOT finance the movie, then it is considered independent.
As we enter what many consider to be the world’s best display of independent filmmaking, we at TheMovieBanter.com wanted to go through what films you need to see. And, we understand that many of you true movie fans will be unable to attend the festival but you should know that you can stream a large crop of these films through www.Sundance.org. Let’s get to it, but be aware these 10 films are in no particular order.
1. The Raid – Gareth Evans, the highly touted up-and-coming director, put together this Indonesian martial arts movie while implementing the strictest of cost controls. As a current student at UCLA (MBA program), I was fortunate enough to sit in on Evans, and his producer Nick Spicer of XYZ Films, discuss The Raid and the film process behind it at the UCLA film school. To sum it up nicely, Evans’ creative filmmaking style and raw use of fighting has the film world drooling in anticipation. Fans of the french film District B-13 should be quite happy.
2. Your Sister’s Sister – A film already set for release in June is written and directed by Lynn Shelton and stars Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass (Pete from The League ), and Rosemarie Dewitt. The IMDB plot says “Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family’s island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack’s drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris’ sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.” There is lots of buzz around this movie.
3. West of Memphis – Perhaps the most talked about film at the festival, West of Memphis is the documentary behind the failure of justice in the Arkansas trial of the ‘West Memphis 3.’ Written and directed by Amy Berg, and produced by the one and only Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, West of Memphis has been all the over media world as the West Memphis 3 have recently been released after being wrongfully convicted of murder. Man are we pumped for this one.
4. Red Hook Summer – The dramedy about about an Atlanta boy who finds himself in Brooklyn is brought to us by Spike Lee. Spike Lee always commands buzz but I have to admit, I’m not completely psyched. Though, I’ll probably end up seeing it anyway.
5. The Words – the movie that inspired the real life romance between Bradley Cooper and Avatar’s Zoe Saldana, stars the aforementioned actors along with Jeremy Irons and Olivia Wilde, and tells the story of a plagiarizing writer. Add great looking people and a very somber setting, well then this could be a great one.
6. The Invisible War – An extremely important issue in today’s modern warfare, this highly anticipated documentary tells the story of rape in war within the US military. The film is directed by Kirby Dick. This issue was also very much prevalent in the super popular 2011 documentary Hot Coffee, which used the famous McDonald’s coffee case to explore major cases in tort law. This film is very much on our radar.
7. Sleepwalk With Me – Starring Lauren Ambrose (Can’t Hardly Wait and HBO’s Six Feet Under), Sleepwalk With Me tells the story of a struggling stand-up comedian and the utter stresses it involves. One thing we heard about the film is that “Sleepwalk With Me engages in the kind of passionate and personal storytelling that transfigures intimate anguish into comic art.”
8. Slavery By Another Name – This documentary film challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery is a social issue that will always remain a deep part of this country’s history. The film is partially financed by PBS, has the involvement from the people who brought you Hoop Dreams, and is a film on our radar at the festival.
9. Oslo, August 31st – This film could be our most highly anticipated film, other than The Raid, at this year’s festival. This film was actually a late edition to the Sundance slate. Late submissions in past years include the 2010 masterpiece The Kids Are All Right, which one various Oscars. The film’s plot can be summed here “One man, one city, 24 hours. Oslo, August 31st is a portrait of contemporary Oslo. A visually striking and quietly shattering drama about a man in deep existential crisis.”
10. Arbitrage – Richard Gere, Tim Roth, and Susan Sarandon star in this drama about a fraudulent hedge fund titan (Gere) on the eve of selling his empire. The bank he’s selling to is unaware of the fraud, obviously, and Gere’s character is trying to juggle that while covering up his marital affairs. This has thriller written all over it.
- 04/25/2012: Tribeca Review: Your Sister’s Sister « Celebrealty | Celebrity Videos, Actors, Comedians, Writers, Models, Fashion