3 items from 2017
From “Once” to “20 Feet From Stardom,” “Searching for Sugar Man,” and “Whiplash,” Sundance has long been a key launchpad for music features and docs, and this year’s edition is primed with a slew of music-infused entries, from documentaries to features.
Even though Lucy Walker’s follow-up to “The Buena Vista Social Club” was forced to withdraw from the program at the start of the fest, one Sundance music doc managed to make ripples before films had even started screening, as Amir Bar-Lev’s four-hour Grateful Dead documentary “Long Strange Trip” was picked up for distribution by Amazon. Singers Adam Levine and Mary J. Blige will both be in town as castmembers for “Fun Mom Dinner” and “Mudbound,” respectively, and L.A.’s electronic music wizard Flying Lotus makes his directorial debut with “Kuso,” in Sundance’s Midnight section. Documentaries touch on everything from early rock icon Link Wray (“Rumble: »
- Andrew Barker
Donovan Chan.. . The Australian International Documentary Conference (Aidc) and Singapore-based production company Beach House Pictures have announced the six mentees selected for the 2017 Access@Aidc Early Career Mentorship Program. . Chosen by Beach House.s creative director Donovan Chan, the participants are: Adam Finney (Qld), Bridget O'Shea (Vic), Charby Ibrahim (Vic), Jeff Hann (Act), Marleena Forward (Vic), and Viviana Petyarre (Nt). . The six early-career factual filmmakers will learn directly from established Australian and international pros through mentorship sessions during Aidc 2017. . .We were very impressed with calibre of the Access Applicants and look forward to meeting the successful candidates at Aidc,. said Chan.. . As well as Chan, this year.s Access Mentors include Sherpa director Jennifer Peedom; John Battsek, the producer of One Day in September and Ep of Searching for Sugar Man; ABC TV.s head of Indigenous, Kelrick Martin; executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute and producer of What Happened, »
- Staff Writer
Sundance 2016 will always be remembered for the record-breaking $17.5 million sale of Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” to Fox Searchlight, on the heels of the #oscarsowhite backlash — and for the massive marketing fallout that followed in light of Parker’s rape-trial acquittal. With a domestic gross under $16 million, it led to one of the bigger failures among Sundance sales relative to expense.
Netflix outbid Searchlight for “The Birth of a Nation,” but the producers favored the theatrical route (including that company’s proven awards expertise and commercial success) and accepted less money. One wonders if it had been a high-profile Netflix film if the post-Sundance controversy about Nate Parker’s college days would have had the same impact or effect. It will be curious to see if any producer this year is as quick to turn down a high offer from Netflix or similar non-theatrical buyer.
Those memories could temper bidding wars, »
- Tom Brueggemann
3 items from 2017
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