8 items from 2014
The 8th annual Sydney Underground Film Festival is a power-packed event featuring outrageous cult films, provocative documentaries and wild short films that will run September 4-7 at its usual haunt, The Factory Theater.
Opening Night: The fest opens with Housebound, a New Zealand horror comedy by Gerard Johnstone about a woman in trouble with the law who comes to believe that her family home is haunted. The film will be preceded by a performance by Renny Kodgers and a free pizza party; and followed by an after party.
Closing Night: The fest will close with the controversial German teen sex comedy Wetlands directed by David Wendt. The film will then be followed by a late-night after party.
Highlights: Usama Alshaibi‘s must see documentary American Arab — an intimate, socially relevatory and essential film — screens at 4 p.m. on Sept. 6. Read the Underground Film Journal review of American Arab.
- Mike Everleth
No, it’s not the Diana Ross song. A fascinating topic presented in a heavy-handed way, “Love Child” joins a growing body of work that explores the potential costs of our Web-connected existence, using the tragedy of a South Korean infant neglected and left to die by her game-obsessive parents. Yet Valerie Veatch’s documentary tries too hard to be lyrical and Important, incorporating images of role-playing games in lingering shots that have about as much as subtlety as being whacked over the head with a console. Ultimately, there’s a story here worth seeing; it’s only too bad the film doesn’t fully do it justice.
At first blush, the parents sound like monsters, having let their baby (whose name, Sarang, means “Love”) essentially starve while immersing themselves in online gaming, leaving the child unattended for hours while they went to an outside venue to play. Given South »
- Brian Lowry
HBO, with a nod to the popularity of nonfiction filmmaking, has carved out a special night for documentaries.
The network on Monday said it will regularly air documentaries, featuring debuts of new original films along with timely encores presentations, on Monday nights.
The programming will air year-round, and officially started with last week’s “The Case Against 8.” In addition to tonight’s debut of “112 Weddings” (pictured), other new documentary films include Kate Davis and David Heilbroner’s “The Newburgh Sting” (July 21), Valerie Veatch’s “Love Child” (July 28), Peter Kunhardt’s “Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words” (Aug. 4), Jeremiah Zagar’s “Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart” (Aug. 18) and Ben Steele’s “Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia” (fall).
With the exception of some of its high-profile original films airing on Saturdays and an attempt with “Enlightened” on Mondays a few years ago, HBO has pretty much »
- Rick Kissell
I don't know if Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia's "Web Junkie" is the perfect complement to Valerie Veatch's "Love Child" or if "Love Child" is the perfect complement to "Web Junkie," but I know that a being able to intellectually pair the two documentaries is one of the biggest advantages to this year's Sundance Film Festival programming obsession with the dangers of the Internet. Of course, once audiences get away from Park City, it's unlikely that "Web Junkie" and "Love Child" are going to be viewable in tandem. "Love Child" is an HBO Films documentary and thus will get visibility »
- Daniel Fienberg
Director Rory Kennedy had some harsh words about sexism in Hollywood at the Sundance Film Festival's annual "Women in Film" panel. "We live in a sexist world and Hollywood is at the heart of it," said Kennedy. Fellow panelist Valerie Veatch, the director/producer of "Love Child," said "The financing structure of Hollywood films is also part of the problem. Women not playing nine rounds of golf stops us from having access to the money, to the hedge funds and the other financing." Sadly, Kennedy and Veatch have more evidence of the barriers facing female filmmakers -- at least when it comes to Hollywood films, according to a new study commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles. There is some bright news, though. Women continue to fare better in the indie world, specifically the documentary world, but there has been no overall change in the number »
- Paula Bernstein
In 2010, a tiny and malnourished baby girl died alone in her parents’ cheap apartment in Seoul, South Korea, having grown so weak in her three months on earth that she had actually lost weight since she’d been born. Her mother had participated in no prenatal care. She had last been fed rotten milk. Her parents didn’t call the police until they consulted the Internet for advice. And she had died alone because her parents were in the midst of one of their daily hours-long online gaming sessions that took them away from home. Her name was Sarang. It means “love” in Korean. The subject of Valerie Veatch’s Love Child may sound vaguely familiar – the story of Sarang Kim and her neglectful parents was minimally reported when it happened, a modern story about the perils of apparent “online gaming addiction” – but the director attempts to delve deeper into what exactly happened, why »
- Kate Erbland
For the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford wanted to jump out of a cake. Before introducing the Jan. 16 opening night film, Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” (which Sony Pictures Classics acquired), Redford revealed to the Eccles Theater audience how he would have liked to celebrate the 30th year of his fest.
“I thought, ‘How about we roll a big cake onto the stage and I jump out!?’” Redford joked. “But that got shut down.”
Fest director John Cooper followed Redford and clarified that he “did not veto the cake.”
Photos: Inside the Parties at the Sundance Film Festival
After the premiere, writer-director Damien Chazelle and stars Miles Teller and Paul Reiser celebrated at an intimate cocktail event at Spur on Main Street. ”It’s about jazz. It’s about music school. It’s about drumming,” Chazelle said. “It’s not a easy thing to say I want »
- Variety Staff
It’s no secret that video games can be addictive. But deadly? In 2010 in South Korea, a couple stood trial for manslaughter after their infant daughter died — allegedly due to her parents’ negligence. Mom and dad were playing an online fantasy game to the point of total obsession. In Valerie Veatch’s documentary Love Child, she explores the world of online gaming and how South Korean authorities are attempting to monitor the growing problem, which they see as a major social menace.
“The ruling in the trial shows how increasingly there is no distinct difference between virtual experiences and experiences »
- Laura Hertzfeld
8 items from 2014
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