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Objectification in Porn and Rom Coms: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Explains 'Don Jon's Addiction' at Sundance Q&A

20 January 2013 3:38 PM, PST

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's feature-film directing debut "Don Jon's Addiction" premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of a New Jersey bro (Gordon-Levitt) with an addiction to pornography who places value in just a few things: his car, his apartment, his muscled body, his ability to sleep with pretty ladies (chief among them one played by Scarlett Johansson) and his Catholicism. The film could have been a crass portrayal of misogynistic, self-involved behavior, but instead it impressed the audience with a thoughtful examination that shows compassion for most of its hilarious characters. After the screening, Gordon-Levitt charmed the audience further with answers to questions about making the film. Here are the best of his comments: On the virtues of directing yourself... Having been writing this film for years, that's way more time than I get to prepare for any acting role, so it was pretty easy when. »


- Bryce J. Renninger

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Outfest Names Kristin Pepe New Director of Programming

20 January 2013 1:33 PM, PST

Outfest, the organization that runs the major Lgbt film festivals in Los Angeles and now New York, has just announced that Kristin Pepe, who's best known as simply Kp, will take over as the festival's Director of Programming. Pepe moves into the head programming position after five years leading Outfest's Legacy Project archival partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archives. She will be responsible for overseeing all Outfest programming, which includes Outfest-produced film fesitivals in New York and Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles-based film festival Fusion. In addition to the Legacy Project, Pepe recently took over Outfest's experimental program, Platinum. Read More: Movie Lovers We Love: Kristin Pepe Helps Save Queer History with the Legacy Project Pepe replaces Kim Yutani, who will stay on as artistic director even as she devotes more time to her Sundance duties as one of the fest's head programmers. »


- Bryce J. Renninger

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Sundance 2013: 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' Producers Receive the $10K Indian Paintbrush Producer's Award

20 January 2013 12:23 PM, PST

Sundance Film Festival competition drama “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and its producers, Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston of Sailor Bear, have been selected as the winners of the 2013 Indian Paintbrush Producer's Award. The award, which comes with a $10,000 grant, was announced Sunday, Jan. 20, at the festival’s annual Producers Lunch. David Lowery’s film, which features Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in the story of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across Texas to reunite with his wife and daughter, was beginning its world premiere just then at the Eccles Theatre. Indian Paintbrush president of production Mark Roybal, who has the film “Breathe In” screening in the 2013 Sundance program, made the announcement. Read More: Sundance Interview: 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' Director David Lowery Explains Making More Accessible Movies and Why He Can't Stop Editing Them A former member of The »


- Jay A. Fernandez

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Sundance 2013: Sundance Selects Acquires U.S. Competition Doc 'Dirty Wars'

20 January 2013 11:57 AM, PST

Documentaries continue to get snatched up in the early says of the Sundance Film Festival. Sunday, Sundance Selects nailed down a deal for North American rights to “Dirty Wars,” Richard Rowley’s look at investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s quest to expose America’s covert operations abroad. The film, part of the U.S. documentary competition, premiered at the Temple Theatre Friday night and screened again Saturday afternoon before the deal closed. Scahill and David Riker wrote the screenplay. Anthony Arnove, Brenda Coughlin and Scahill produced. “Our entire team was blown away by ‘Dirty Wars,’ Richard Rowley's tough-minded, gripping film that plays out like a detective story,” said Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. “Jeremy Scahill's investigation into the war on terror being waged around the world is a vital, disturbing and incredibly humane story that will have people on both »


- Jay A. Fernandez and Anne Thompson

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Sundance 2013: How Producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger Found Their "Sweet Spot"

20 January 2013 11:00 AM, PST

The following is the text of the keynote address delivered by Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger at the annual Sundance Film Festival Producers Brunch Sunday, Jan. 20. They are the producers of "King of the Hill," "Election," "Cold Mountain," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Little Children," "Ruby Sparks" and "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," which will have its world premiere Monday, Jan. 21, at the Eccles Theatre. --------------------------------------- Ron Yerxa: Good Morning Sundance Comrades and Assorted Friends We are so grateful that Sundance has created this beautiful ceremony in honor of our 20th anniversary as partners in Bona Fide Productions. To be totally transparent, this isn't actually our 20th year, it's more like 21 or 23 depending on how you're counting. But our appropriation of this event is in keeping with the central theme of today's talk: "Producers »


- Indiewire

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Sundance Interview: 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' Director David Lowery Explains Making More Accessible Movies and Why He Can't Stop Editing Them

20 January 2013 10:12 AM, PST

Unless you've been traveling the U.S. film festival circuit in recent years, chances are strong you haven't heard of David Lowery. The Dallas-based filmmaker's 2009 feature-length debut "St. Nick," a nearly dialogue-free story of two young children adventuring across an empty landscape, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival but never received a wide release. But Lowery's credits extend much deeper into the fabric of the American independent film community: As an editor, his credits include recent festival hits "Bad Fever" and "Sun Don't Shine," in addition to Shane Carruth's highly anticipated "Upstream Color," premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival. But that's not the only reason Lowery's at the festival this year: His own competition feature, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," premieres Sunday in the wake of major buzz. Starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, the outlaw tale revolves »


- Eric Kohn

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Specialty Box Office: 'Amour' and 'Quartet' Lead Slow Weekend For Specialty Market

20 January 2013 8:59 AM, PST

While the vast majority of the independent film world was busy in Park City scoping out Sundance's 2013 offerings, the indie box office saw a Sundance 2012 alum -- Sheldon Candis's "Luv" -- as the sole newcomer on a slow weekend. The film -- distributed by Indomina -- opened on 45 screens and found a reasonable $2,000 per-theater-average. Its total gross over the weekend was $90,000. Overall, the weekend was led by two holdovers each featuring casts whose average age is well over 70. Michael Haneke's "Amour" and Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet" both expanded very nicely this weekend, the former boosted from its 5 Oscar nominations and the latter impressively holding strong despite a shutout. "Amour" grossed $431,261 from 36 theaters (up from 15), a 61% boost from last weekend. That made for a $11,479 per-theater-average, the highest of any film in release. Ahead of further expansion, the film's total now stands at »


- Peter Knegt

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Sundance Futures: Zachary Heinzerling on the Challenges of Documenting an "Incredibly Complicated Relationship" in 'Cutie and the Boxer'

20 January 2013 8:41 AM, PST

Why He’s On Our Radar: Five years in the works, the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary competition contender "Cutie and the Boxer" marks the directorial debut of promising New York-based documentary filmmaker Zachary Heinzerling. The intimate and artful doc profiles Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, married Japanese artists living in New York who have been together for 40-plus years. At the film's outset, the couple is in the midst of preparing a joint exhibit. Using the event as a springboard, Heinzerling delves into their surprising back-story to reveal a piercing look at the sacrifices Noriko made in order to further Ushio's career. More About Him: Heinzerling, a University of Texas graduate, has worked on several feature-length films for HBO, including the Emmy Award-winning documentaries "Breaking the Huddle," "Assault in the Ring" and "Lombardi," as field producer and camera operator. In 2011, he participated in the »


- Nigel M Smith

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Sundance Review: 'Blackfish' Ensures You'll Never Go to SeaWorld Again

20 January 2013 6:58 AM, PST

Nobody from SeaWorld agreed to an interview for "Blackfish," Gabriela Cowperthwaite's searing take on the theme park's mistreatment of killer whales and the dozens of deaths that have resulted from it. Instead, the majority of its subjects are ex-SeaWorld trainers frustrated by the negligence they witnessed up close and willing to speak out. Nevertheless, based on the evidence on display in "Blackfish," Cowperthwaite's case against SeaWorld would change little with an opposing point of view. The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. "Blackfish" is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system. Cowperthwaite's framing device is the February 2010 death of veteran SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was ripped to shreds by the notorious Tilikum, a »


- Eric Kohn

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Sundance Review: James Franco Discusses His Sexuality (And Yours) In 'Interior. Leather Bar'

19 January 2013 8:59 PM, PST

William Friedkin's 1980 East Village crime drama "Cruising," in which Al Pacino memorably goes undercover as a gay leather enthusiast to apprehend a killer, remains as divisive and controversial as it was upon its initial release. "Interior. Leather Bar," a 60-minute collaboration between queer filmmaker Travis Mathews ("I Want Your Love") and James Franco, aims to reenact the 40 minutes Friedkin cut from the film in order to secure an R rating, footage that was subsequently lost. In doing so, it also attempts to provoke strong reactions from the audience, but with far greater intellectual finesse. Instead of merely presenting imagery bound to titillate and create unease in equal measures, "Interior. Leather Bar" takes the form of a behind-the-scenes peek at the production to question the societal forces that engender the material's contentious nature. As a fleeting essay on sexual biases, it encourages a thoughtful debate, but »


- Eric Kohn

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Sundance 2013: Showtime Takes the Fast Lane With 'History of the Eagles'

19 January 2013 5:07 PM, PST

Showtime has acquired broadcast rights to Alison Ellwood’s comprehensive documentary “History of the Eagles,” which had yet to world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday night. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) produced the two-part effort, which will screen in the Documentary Premieres program. Using never-before-seen home movies, archival footage and new interviews with members of the best-selling, long-running band, Ellwood pieces together both the history and the legacy of their music. Showtime plans to air both parts in February (only Part 1 is on show in Park City), on the 15th and 16th. “I had a gas working on it,” says Gibney. “And Alison Ellwood did a tremendous job. It's filled with songs and shows musical influences in a wonderfully organic way. Awesome archive — including wonderful movies of life and on the road and a never-before-seen concert from Hotel California. »


- Jay A. Fernandez and Anne Thompson

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Sundance Review: Moving Beyond 'Putty Hill,' Matthew Porterfield Turns to Music With Melancholic Drama 'I Used to Be Darker'

19 January 2013 3:30 PM, PST

Matthew Porterfield's sleeper hit "Putty Hill" was heralded for its keen melding of documentary and narrative traditions into a poetic exploration of a small Baltimore community impacted by a young man's sudden death. The movie drifted effortlessly from one environment to another, constructing a sense of place through a collage of emotions, offhand exchanges and occasionally breaking the fourth wall. Porterfield's follow-up "I Used to Be Darker" similarly weaves realism and a rigid storytelling structure together with affecting results, even though it adheres more closely to familiar patterns in its perceptive examination of a deteriorating American family. Not your typical divorce drama, "I Used to Be Darker" stings harder than most. Porterfield's third feature, co-written by Amy Belk, takes place in the aftermath of a decision by middle-aged couple Kim (Kim Taylor) and Bill (Ned Oldham) to end their marriage, much to the frustration »


- Eric Kohn

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CNN Films Acquires Roger Ebert Documentary Exec Produced by Martin Scorsese

19 January 2013 3:09 PM, PST

CNN Films has decided to use the Sundance Film Festival to announce its intentions to further muscle into the documentary film game with three new big projects. And they’ve got some heavy-hitting names involved. First, the company has acquired U.S. broadcast rights to a documentary about author and film critic Roger Ebert based on his memoir “Life Itself.” “Hoop Dreams” helmer Steve James is directing the film, with Martin Scorsese and Steve Zaillian aboard as executive producers. Kartemquin Films and Film Rites are producing, and the finished film will be released theatrically before it airs on CNN in 2014. Also on the docket is a project from Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein (“Fightville”), who will direct a documentary about the days after 9/11 constructed solely from still photography. It is scheduled to air on CNN this year, as is an untitled project from “Page One: Inside the New York Times” filmmaker. »


- Jay A. Fernandez

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Sundance 2013: How They Did It -- Shorts Directors on Landing Competition Slots

19 January 2013 12:05 PM, PST

The five dramatic shorts comprising “Shorts Program I” screened in Park City to a full house on opening night of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Thursday, Jan. 17. Indiewire came in from the cold to the Egyptian Theatre's attic, which doubles as a green room, to hit up these filmmakers for their insights on how to land one of the festival's coveted 65 slots (selected from 8,102 short-film submissions). Here are tips from them and other shorts filmmakers in this year's program about financing a short, overcoming production obstacles and screening at festivals with an eye toward distribution and subsequent projects. 1. Raise Funding by Any Means Necessary Michelle Morgan, a screenwriter making her directorial debut with “K.I.T.,” says she had expected to be able to produce her short for $500. The rude awakening of the actual price tag drove her and her producer Lauren Schnipper to crowd-funding platform Kickstarter with the goal of. »


- Jon Fougner

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Sundance Review: Does 'Blue Caprice' Sympathize With the Beltway Snipers?

19 January 2013 12:00 PM, PST

From the outset, "Blue Caprice" reaches for authenticity. An opening compilation draws from news reports of the infamous Beltway sniper attacks in which a pair of men picked off random victims for several weeks before authorities finally caught up to them. In spite of this foundation, however, French director Alexandre Moors makes no grand claims to veracity, and includes neither the typical "based on a true story" title card that so often implies authority nor an end credit summing up the fates of everyone involved. Instead, Moors isolates a well-known drama with the fleeting nonfiction prologue and explores it from the inside out: It's not an attempted reenactment, but it does aim to get at certain truths. Rather than centering on the sniper shootings themselves, "Blue Caprice" relegates these events to a rushed climax, investing most of its running time in the snipers' peculiar origin story. They're certainly an odd couple: John Allen. »


- Eric Kohn

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Sundance 2013: Watch Pussy Riot's Katya Skype Into the Premiere of 'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer' (Video)

19 January 2013 9:55 AM, PST

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin's documentary "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," which portrays the horrifyingly unjust and unbelievably epic narrative that evolved as three women in activist Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot were arrested for hooliganism last March, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last night. Remarkable in its timeliness, Lerner and Pozdorovkin's film is an extensive and thoughtful look at Pussy Riot's arrest and subsequent trial made less than six months after the trio were sentenced to two years in prison last July, prompting outcries of support from around the world. If you think you already know this story, Lerner and Pozdorovkin's doc proves that there is a lot more to it. While Maria Alyokhina (aka Masha) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Nadya) remained in prison as the screening took place, Yekaterina Samutsevich (aka Katya) was released on probation last October following an argument from her lawyer that she. »


- Peter Knegt

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Sundance 2013: Icarus Films Grabs World Competition Doc 'The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear'

19 January 2013 9:47 AM, PST

Icarus Films has acquired all North American distribution rights to the world documentary competition entry “The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear” at the Sundance Film Festival. The film had its premiere Friday, Jan. 18. Directed by Tinatin Gurchiani, “Machine” springs from a casting call for a movie about former Soviet Georgia that widens as Gurchiani decides to follow a cross-section of the applicants to paint a picture of life there today. "After such a hectic year in 2012, it's wonderful to begin 2013 with a lovely, unexpected film from a new talent, and from a land we know too little about,” said Icarus Films president Jonathan Miller, who negotiated the deal with Deckert Distribution exec Heino Deckert. “I think people will fall in love with the film the way we did. It may be winter, but it didn't feel that way watching Tinatin's film. We can't wait to bring it to American audiences. »


- Jay A. Fernandez

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Watch Daniel Radcliffe Talk Ginsberg (and Hair Perms) at the Q&A For 'Kill Your Darlings' (Video)

19 January 2013 9:25 AM, PST

One of the most anticipated films in competition at Sundance this year, John Krokidas' feature directorial debut "Kill Your Darlings," premiered at the Eccles Theatre in Park City Friday night. The film works -- quite well -- as a sort of "Beat Generation: First Class," depicting the origins of the relationships between Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). The four met while Ginsberg, Carr and Kerouac were attending Columbia University in the mid-1940s and collectively saw their lives change forever when one of them was arrested for the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). Made on a tiny budget and shot in just 24 days (though it appears to have the production value of a film 10 times its cost), the film succeeds in large part because of fantastic performances across the board, particularly from DeHaan (who excudes a remarkably sinister seductiveness as. »


- Peter Knegt

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Meet the 2013 Sundance Filmmakers #39 : Srdan Golubovic On His World Dramatic Competition Contender 'Circles'

19 January 2013 9:00 AM, PST

It's been a dozen years since Srdan Golubovic's debut feature, "Absolute Hundred" opened at Toronto. Over time, the focus of the born-and-raised Belgrade native has shifted from downtrodden Olympians to parents faced with impossible decisions, the main subject of his Oscar-shortlisted "The Trap" back in 2007. Now teaching at the Serbian school where he learned the craft, Golubovic has turned his cinematic attention to a story with roots deep in the region. What It's About: "The story is about consequences of a heroic act. Is a heroic act meaningless, or does it provoke certain moral acts in the future?" Now What It's Really About: "Bosnia – 1993. In the midst of the Bosnian war, Marko, a Serbian soldier, witnesses the brutal aggression against Haris, a Muslim civilian, by three fellow soldiers. Marko interferes and saves Haris, but is beaten to death by the infuriated soldiers. "2008. The »


- Indiewire Staff

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Sundance 2013: Harrowing Climbing Doc 'The Summit' Picked Up by Sundance Selects

19 January 2013 8:33 AM, PST

Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to Nick Ryan’s documentary “The Summit,” which had its world premiere Friday, Jan. 18, at the Sundance Film Festival. The film digs in to what happened when 24 climbers attempted to summit K2, widely considered the most dangerous mountain on Earth, and only 13 returned. A sister division of IFC Films, Sundance Selects picked up “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” and Oscar-nominated “How to Survive a Plague” at the 2012 festival. Submarine Entertainment’s Josh Braun repped the sale for the filmmakers. »


- Jay A. Fernandez and Anne Thompson

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