Sundance Film Festival 2014
2014 will mark the 30th year for the Sundance Film Festival; a festival known as an integral stepping stone for brilliant independent projects to reach global audiences. But as technologies in production, distribution, and exhibition rapidly change independent cinema, will the festival follow suit? Nate von Zumwalt, editorial manager at Sundance.org, thinks not:
“As independent film has evolved from its renegade-spirited roots to an “accepted form of creative expression,” the tenets of the Sundance Film Festival remain unaffected.”
As the snow descends on Park City, Utah, so will the industry, with hopes of discovering the next great movie, director, and star. Last year’s festival introduced the world to Ryan Coogler, writer & director of the poignant film Fruitvale Station. With his directorial debut, Coogler used the Sundance institute (the film first made its presence at 2012s screenwriter’s lab) to show the world the story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old man from the Bay Area who was tragically shot and killed by BART officers. The story, film, and acting moved the audience, as well as the institute, so much that it went on to win the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Drama. Arguably, if it weren’t for its attention at Sundance, the film may not have earned as big of an applause at Cannes, or gone on to gross over $16 million on a indie film budget of less than a million dollars.
As a tremendously exciting fall comes to a close, the movie industry eagerly awaits an even more tremendous start to 2014. As a result, this year’s Sundance Festival is guaranteed to be as important, exciting, and moving as years past.
Where: Park City, Utah
When: Jan 16-26
Tickets: There are many ways to obtain a ticket to the festival. Festival passes are a great way to ensure access to the best stuff. Further, the two passes that are still available include: Eccles Pass B ($1,500), and Express Pass B ($3,000). All of the ticket packages are currently SOLD OUT, but individual tickets for access to a single screening will be on sale for $20. Open tickets sales begin January 14th.
Lodging: Make sure you plan and book your hotel rooms early. The official website offers an easy way to see what types of lodgings are available. Hotels include:
The Caledonian **** $2,999 avg/night
Best Western Plus Landmark Inn & Pancake House *** $369 avg/night
Sundance Mountain Resort **** $482 avg/night
Transportation: Info on ground and air transportation can be acquired here.
Program: The festival is composed of fourteen different film categories, including Sundance Kids, Midnight, U.S. Doc, World Doc, Next, Premieres, Shorts, Shorts Programs, Spotlight, Sundance Collection, U.S. Dramatic, and World Dramatic. In addition, panels, music, and media installations enrich the already dynamic festival.
2014 Screenwriters Lab
Recently, the Sundance Institute released the twelve projects that will be taking part in their annual Screenwriters Lab. From the tenth to the fifteenth, established advisors, new talent, and industry professionals will assemble at the Sundance Resort, with hopes of developing the next Grand Jury Prize winner. Nigel M. Smith of IndieWire.com describes the advantage as, “The annual workshops give selected films a leg up in the independent film community in terms of financing and representation.” With Quentin Tarantino, Naomi Foner, and Patty Jenkins, among others, working as creative advisors, this year’s screenwriters lab is much anticipated. Below are just a few of the projects, for the full list click here.
The Father’s Shadow – Written/Directed by Gabriela Amaral Almeida (Brazil)
Lynch – Written by Nicole Riegel (U.S.A)
The Buried Life – Co-writers/Co-directors Averie Storck & Joan Stein Schimke
Manchild – Written/Directed by Ryan Koo (U.S.A)
Stranger With a Camera – Written/Directed by Oorlagh George (Northern Ireland/U.S.A)
After much anticipation, the world premiere of director Zach Braff’s follow up film to his insanely successful Garden State, will take place at the Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by Veronica Mars‘ crowdfunding campaign, Braff used Kickstarter to raise the $2 million movie budget for his latest project, Wish I Was Here. On top of co-writing (with the help of his brother Adam) and directing the film, Zach will play the protagonist, a 35-year-old father struggling to find himself. The film will also star Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, and Kate Hudson.
Wish I was Here isn’t the only Sundance film with a unique movie budget. Also making its world premiere is director Tim Sutton’s feature film Memphis. Created on a film budget of only 150,000 euros, the movie is one of three projects made possible by the Biennale College – Cinema, a workshop intended to create mini-budgeted films.
On top of all the new talent, this year’s festival will be composed of many seasoned directors and actors pushing the boundaries of storytelling. For instance, God’s Pocket, starring veteran actors Richard Jenkins and Philip Seymour Hoffman, will compete in this year’s competition. Other stars with projects competing in Sundance include, Anne Hathaway in Song One, Kristen Stewart in the Guantanamo Bay drama Camp X-Ray, and Jason Schwartzman in Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip. For a full list of this year’s line-up, click here.