Sundance Features

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Minari, Boy’s State Win Top Prizes at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Minari, Lee Isacc-Chung’s fourth feature, an autobiographical portrait of his Korean-American family’s life in the 1980s as he was growing up in a small Arkansas town, won two top prizes — the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and U.S. Dramatic Audience Award — tonight at 2020 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony. Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s Boys State, a documentary about a contentious kind of civic summer camp for Texas teens, won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize. A24 will release both films, the latter in partner with Apple TV+. The World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize was awarded to […]

“What If This is the Goal? This is Everything?”: Writer/Director Edson Oda on His Sundance Hit, Nine Days

Ever so often you’ll have a film at Sundance that hits at the right time, place and with the right crowd — so that you feel the theater buzz. The last moment of the film, before it cuts to black, rings out over silence (aside from the sniffling of a handful audience members.) For me this year that film was Nine Days on Monday night at the Eccles theater. A feature debut from director Edson Oda, the expansive piece is equal parts grounded sci-fi, drama and a delicate exploration of emotion and existence. Let’s just say you don’t want to […]

Sundance 2020 Dispatch #7: Dick Johnson is Dead, Kajillionaire The Glorias and More

For the last several years, the very first film I’ve seen in Park City has been among the festival’s best, launching my Sundance with a bang. The lucky title this year is Dick Johnson is Dead, a documentary—whatever that label means in this case—directed and photographed by Dick’s daughter, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), whose cinematic imagination couldn’t be more alive and kicking. The imminent death, or what’s worse, the gradual ravaging by Alzheimer’s, of an aging parent is a personal and emotional minefield few are ever equipped to traverse, no less understand, when the time comes. Alzheimer’s is also a […]

Impact Partners Executive Director Jenny Raskin on Financing, Fellowships, and Following the Filmmakers’ Lead

From 2018’s feature doc Oscar winner Icarus, to 2019’s Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary recipient Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, to the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nabbing Of Fathers and Sons and Dina (in 2018 and 2017, respectively), Impact Partners has been behind some of the most critically acclaimed nonfiction work of recent years. The company’s winning streak, however, actually goes back a decade, all the way to 2010’s Academy Award for Documentary Feature recipient The Cove. And Impact Partners itself goes back even further. Founded in 2007 by Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous with a mission to bring […]

14 Films Not to Miss at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Always a bellweather for the health — artistic as well as business — of the American independent film scene, the Sundance Film Festival began yesterday in Park City, Utah, preceded by more than the usual amount of pre-fest news and drama. On the positive front, Sundance 2020 is something of a launch party for a new documentary financing and production company, Concordia, formed by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim and former Participant Media production president Jonathan King, in partnership with Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective. One quarter of the Documentary Competition slate boasts the Concordia logo. And then distressingly there’s Oprah Winfrey’s withdrawal as […]

“You Might Think it’s a Fun Work About Pizza, But It’s Really a Meditation on Mortality and Gentrification”: Director David Shapiro on his Sundance Premiering Doc Series, Untitled Pizza Movie

Filmmaker: You and I spoke once about this project, and I remember you saying that it was crazy and weird and that you weren’t sure what it was going to turn out to be. But I don’t remember you intimating that it might not even be a film but would turn into a series. And now that’s what it is, with three episodes premiering in Sundance’s episodic section. Shapiro: Well, I originally conceived it as a film — that’s in my wheelhouse. I know how to make a feature-length documentary. But it’s an archive film, right? Most archive films take […]