7 items from 2016
It's true, the world still lacks a universally accepted definition for hooking up. It can mean so many things! You could be hooking up your Wi-Fi with someone. If you're, you know, 13, then maybe hooking up to you means so much less than it will at, say, 18. Rihanna and George Clooney demand answers, especially as they pertain to questions posed about their own sex lives by the world's nosiest person, Ellen DeGeneres, in a scandalous round of Never Have I Ever. Texting nudes? Clooney would never. Seeing naked rappers? "Totally," for both Rih and Clooney (after some convincing). But hooking up in the back of a car? Someone get the dictionary before we can proceed! For Ellen, it's an easy yes, so we can't be thinking too risqué, right? Nope! Oh yeah, she means "licking the envelope and seal it" (one of Rih's definitions, of course). You know »
- Dee Lockett
Tender and haunting, So Yong Kim’s Lovesong is a carefully observed, nuanced character study beautifully written, directed and edited. Much of the action, like in her pervious features In Between Days, Treeless Mountain and For Ellen occurs at the edge of the frame. Exploring the bounds of motherhood, childhood and maturity, Lovesong is an impressive and observant feature in which Kim allows the relationships the breathing room they require for authenticity.
Riley Keough stars as Sarah, a young mother who married too young. The director’s own daughters Jessie Ok Gray and Sky Ok Gray, play daughter Jessie at ages 3 and 6, respectively. Lonely and transplanted to the suburbs from the city by her absent husband Dean (played by filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga in a Skype cameo), she finds herself on the edge of depression. An old college friend Mindy (Jena Malone) re-enters her life and the three go on »
- John Fink
Twelve years after “Saved,” Jena Malone returned to the Sundance Film Festival with “Lovesong.” The in-competition drama, which premiered on Monday and is directed by So Yong Kim, tells the story of two college friends (Malone and Riley Keough) who reunite over two specific time periods. Malone talked to Variety about making the film, wrapping her “Hunger Games” character and rumors that she might be joining “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as Robin.
Was “Saved” the last time you were at Sundance?
I was thinking about “Saved” the other day. I was thinking about how many films I’ve been pregnant in [Malone is pregnant in real life], and how inaccurate it was. I was like, “Wow — I didn’t know that.”
How did you come across the script for “Lovesong”?
So and I have been friends for a while. I worked on her film “For Ellen.” That’s how it came to me. My »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Her Best Friend’s Wedding: Kim’s Poetic Exploration of Muted Desire
Indie auteur So Yong Kim continues in English with her fourth narrative feature, Lovesong, a road-trip film which turns into a moving, understated portrait of muted desire. This is Kim’s first film since 2012’s For Ellen, which was the director’s first English language feature and first narrative focused on a male protagonist. But what strikingly unites all of her films are each of their idiosyncratic ways of featuring isolated, lonely humans grappling with disenchantment, usually through some sort of awkward transitional phase, a temporary limbo where goals and dreams lie just outside their grasp. Her latest is no exception in this regard, and features recurring motifs Kim seems fascinated by, namely precocious children involuntarily puttered about in the lives of their malcontented parents. But the focus here is on the carefully moderated relationship of its two leads, »
- Nicholas Bell
Conceived in the same delicate minor key as her earlier films (“In Between Days,” “Treeless Mountain” and “For Ellen”), So Yong Kim’s fourth feature dances nervously but gracefully around a love that not only dares not speak its name, but can barely even figure itself out. Anchored by Riley Keough’s lovely, wistful performance as a mom in her 20s who gets back in touch with an old childhood bestie (a sharp Jena Malone), “Lovesong” makes a virtue of restraint as it traces a complex emotional history in two parts, and innumerable (and sometimes quite literal) shades of gray. The result may not significantly broaden the audience for Kim’s subdued, perceptive work but nevertheless stands as her most accessible feature to date, and deserves a listen from discerning arthouse distributors.
Recently seen in a very different role as Capable, the aptly named, ginger-haired female escapee in “Mad Max: Fury Road, »
- Justin Chang
Continuing their support for women directors, Horizon Award co-founding producers Cassian Elwes, Lynette Howell Taylor, and Christine Vachon, announced the winners of the second annual Horizon Award. Academy Award nominee Chloë Sevigny will bestow up-and-coming filmmakers Macarena Gaona, Juliette Gosselin, Shanice Malakai Johnson, and Florence Pelletier with the Horizon Award at a reception in Park City, Utah, with creative talent, producers, entertainment executives and media in attendance to celebrate these rising women directors and their achievements in independent filmmaking.
The Horizon Award ceremony and reception will take place on Sunday, January 24th, 2016 at 6:30 pm at the WireImage Portrait Studio at Village at the Lift (825 Main Street, Park City), co-hosted by Jeff Vespa.
The Horizon Award is an annual award that seeks to identify and mentor talented, up-and-coming female directors – the primary goal being to support women directors early enough in their development to help them overcome the hurdles in advancing their learning curve and careers.
In addition to the Horizon Award, the four winners will receive grants from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. The Foundation supports the artistic achievements of female filmmakers through a series of grants that reflect Adrienne Shelly’s dedication to the art of filmmaking and her own successful transition from actress to filmmaker.
This year’s winners are:
Horizon Award First Place
Co-directors of "Mes Anges à Tête Noire"
Horizon Award Runners-Up
Macarena (Macqui) Gaona (New York University) Director of "Channel 999 and Channel 1000"
Shanice Malakai Johnson (Scottsdale Community College) Director of "End to the Suffering"
On making the announcement, Cassian Elwes said: “I’m so excited to announce the winners of the second annual Horizon Award. This year’s overwhelming number of submissions and caliber of work made it very hard indeed to pick just one winner – the jury identified one grand prize winner, and two runners-up. Additionally, we have added new partners to our already formidable team – proving that not only is the move towards gender equality in the zeitgeist, but that there are very real advocates amongst our peers. After the recent summit for systemic change (hosted by Sundance and Women in Film), I am more convinced than ever that we can make a difference and that history is on our side. I remain steadfastly committed to the idea that, one day soon, women will have exactly the same opportunities as men to direct movies.”
Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO of The Black List and one of the award’s original advocates added: “We are passionate supporters of this award that recognizes fresh voices and perspectives in storytelling. This effort mirrors our own effort – the Black List's 500 Feminist Films project, created by our Director of Community, Kate Hagen. We look forward to mentoring the winners in the year to come.”
The jury was comprised of 38 influential directors, producers, and executives from the filmmaking community who viewed 483 short film submissions from over 200 colleges and universities world-wide, including the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, India, China, South Africa, Scotland, France, Mexico, Portugal, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, Serbia, the Ukraine, and more. This year, submissions increased by over one hundred from last year, with additional countries and universities participating. Submissions were received from Nyu, USC, UCLA, Chapman, Emerson, Penn State, Loyola Marymount, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, Syracuse, Tcu, Ryerson (Toronto), Oxford, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of Delhi, and more.
Now in its second year, the Horizon Award provides an all-expense-paid trip for the winning female college students to the Sundance Film Festival, where they will have the opportunity to present their films to some of the industry’s most influential names. The winners receive mentorship, festival access, and important introductions by Elwes, Howell, and Vachon to agents, producers, executives, festival staff, and other influencers throughout the Sundance Film Festival.
The Horizon Award was founded by producer, Cassian Elwes ("Margin Call," "All is Lost," "Dallas Buyers Club"), and Michelle Satter, Founding Director, Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, in response to a Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles study that revealed that only 4.2% of the top 100 films each year from 2002-2013 were directed by women. Elwes partnered with Howell ("Captain Fantastic," "Mississippi Grind," "Big Eyes," "The Place Beyond the Pines:), and Vachon ( "Goat," "Carol," "Boys Don’t Cry," "One Hour Photo," "Far From Heaven"), to create the award as an opportunity for young female directors to have mentorship and networking opportunities in conjunction with Sundance, the home of American Independent film.
You can see links for more info on the study:
Phase I and II
Sponsors and Partners for the 2016 Horizon Award are: The Black List, CreativeFuture, The Creative Mind Group, Done To Your Taste Catering, FilmLA, Indiegogo, Mprm Communications, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, Sundance Institute, Twitter, Verge, Vimeo, WireImage, Adina Design, and Women in Film. This impressive group has come together to support an award that they hope will continue to identify, nurture, and launch the careers of future female directors for years to come.
Full List of Jurors:
Robbie Brenner The Firm (Partner, President of Film)
Susan Carter Hall Painter
Amal ElWardi Zeal Media Company (Producer)
Keri Putnam Sundance Institute (Executive Director)
Michelle Satter Sundance Institute (Director, Feature Film Program)
Lauren Selig Shake and Bake Productions (Executive Producer)
Ruth Vitale CreativeFuture (CEO)
Hanna Weg Producer ("Septembers of Shiraz")
Joanne Wiles ICM (Partner/Agent, Motion Picture Talent)
Lisa Wilson The Solution Entertainment (Co-Founder/Partner)
- Sydney Levine
The film follows Sarah, a neglected wife, who embarks on a road trip with her daughter and her best friend Mindy, only to have a dramatic falling out with her friend.
Three years later Sarah is forced to come to terms with her feelings for Mindy in the run-up to her friend’s wedding.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
7 items from 2016
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