Sundance Film Festival began in 1978 and since then has become known as one of the most important dates in every movie makers calendar. Originally chaired by the handsome Robert Redford, it has increased the visibility of independent film in America and worldwide. Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine and The Blair Witch Project owe their notoriety and success to the festival which is held in Utah every year. Many of the films go on to garner Oscar buzz and in 2010, 9 films shown at the festival had 15 Oscar nominations. Impressive.
Most of these films will soon be gracing our silver screens in the UK, or they will be endlessly talked about in edgy magazines, so to spare you the hard work I’ve researched the 3 best films shown at Sundance this year!
1. Fruitvale – This dramatic film, directed by first time film director, Ryan Coogler, retells the story of Oscar Grant, a Bay Area resident who was controversially shot by a transit police officer in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009. The film explores Oscar Grant’s last hours, his relationship with his community and family and features real phone videos of the shooting. Academy Award Winner Octavia Spencer and One Tree Hill alum Chad Michael Murray make up the exceptional cast of the film which won both the U.S Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film at the festival. Not bad for a first time director.
2. Don Jon’s Addiction – My favourite actor of the moment, Joseph Gordon Levitt (he’s husband material isn’t he?) makes his directorial debut with the comedy, Don Jon’s Addiction. JGL stars as the main character, Jon Martello whose ability to pull the ladies and his addiction to porn has given him the nickname Don Juan (after the legendary and fictional womenizer). He embarks on a journey of self discovery where he learns lessons of life and love through his relationship with 2 very different women. Both Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore star and the film is billed for a wider release in the future. This is one I will definitely be booking tickets to see.
3. Very Good Girls – Child star Dakota Fanning and Olsen sister, Elizabeth Olsen star in this coming of age story about two girls who are on a quest to lose their virginities. Watch Dakota make the transition from Charlotte’s Web to gritty adolescent independent film. Very Good Girls has been praised for its strong female perspective, so maybe leave the boyfriend at home.
And maybe one to miss…
1. Ashton Kutcher stars as the late Steve Jobs in the biopic jOBS and although the film has been highly anticipated by Apple fans, one critic said that the film was ‘an almighty mess’. Ooops.
So there you go, now you can casually insert these film names into any movie related conversation and seem like a pro. You can thank me later.