SUNDANCE: days 7 & 8

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Wednesday and Thursday were days seven and eight at Sundance, and it winds down on January 29.  Premieres are few and far between now.  I’ve read more than a few articles about the cautious behavior of distributors, the dearth of breakout films this year, and the apparent success story of day and date distribution.  More on that later as I find out more about it myself!

Acquisitions

Writer-director Ava DuVernay’s much-lauded film Middle of Nowhere has been picked up by Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media and the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement for distribution.  Read the story here on Reuters.  This is big news, people!!!!

Days 7 & 8

Screenings

Among the films by women screened at Sundance on days seven and eight were the following titles.  Many of the films previously listed here on Her Film also screened, but as they’ve been mentioned before, they will not be listed along with other titles which are premiering.  Titles previously mentioned which screened on days seven and eight include directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia, director Lise Birk Pedersen’s Putin’s Kiss, writer-director Alice Rohrwacher’s Corpo Celeste and more.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted link below.

Ethel (director Rory Kennedy)

Shut Up and Play the Hits (cinematographer Reed Morano)

Where Do We Go Now? (director, co-writer Nadine Labaki)

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SUNDANCE: day 6

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Yesterday was day six of the Sundance Film Festival — it’s half over! — and it’s great seeing so many women-directed and women-written films getting picked up for theatrical distribution: director Katie Aselton’s Black Rock (with a VOD component, I think), director Lise Birk Pedersen’s doc Putin’s Kiss, writers Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller’s For a Good Time, Call…, co-writer Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, star and co-writer Rashida Jones’s Celeste and Jesse Forever, and the first film announced as having been sold at Sundance: opening night’s The Queen of Versailles documentary from director Lauren Greenfield.

Check out the great Take Action page for the Sundance documentary The Invisible War about rape in the U.S. military.  Get involved!  Watch the trailer below.  (One of the film’s cinematographers is Kirsten Johnson.)

Acquisitions

Hollywood heavyweight producer Scott Rudin will adapt Lisanne Pajot’s documentary film Indie Game for television, turning it into a fictionalized 30-minute series for HBO.  Lisanne Pajot is co-director and co-writer, plus one of the cinematographers, a producer, and editor, of Indie Game which, according to what I’ve read, has had a lovely reception at Sundance.  Check out the story on Pajot’s doc and Rudin’s involvement over at Geeks of Doom.  Watch the trailer below.

HBO has also picked up ME @ The ZOO_ for distribution, a feature-length documentary co-directed and produced by Valerie Veatch.  Check out a brief mention of this and some other Sundance deals over at Boston.com.  Watch the trailer below.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, co-writer Susan Burke’s film Smashed also has some heat on it and may be poised to sell soon.

Sundance Jury Prizes were announced today.  Check out the entire list over at indieWIRE.

The Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction:

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (director: Lucy Walker) – Oscar nominee

The Jury Prize in Short film, International Fiction:

The Return (Kthimi) (director: Blerta Zeqiri)

Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling:

The Arm (directors Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis)

Day 6

Screenings

Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day six were the following titles.  Many of the films previously listed here on Her Film also screened, but as they’ve been mentioned before, they will not be listed along with other titles which are premiering.  Titles previously mentioned which screened on day six include Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, So Yong Kim’s For Ellen, and Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, among others.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links below.

Gypsy Davy (writer-director Rachel Leah Jones, also a cinematographer, editor, producer and sound recorder on the film)

We’re Not Broke (writers-directors Victoria Bruce & Karin Hayes)

whiteonwhite (director and co-writer Eve Sussman; co-cinematographer Angela Christlieb)

SUNDANCE: day 4

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Day 4

Aurora Guerrero’s first feature film Mosquita y Mari premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.  Guerrero writes and directs.  Check out the article about the premiere over at ColorLines magazine and an article on Guerrero’s influences, including Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherrie Moraga, over at the Tribeca Film Institute. Mosquita y Mari was filmed by cinematographer Magela Crosignani.

Logline:  In a fast-paced Immigrant community where dreams are often lost to economic survival, two young Chicanas contemplate life when they stir sexual desires in each other.

Website:  mosquitaymari.com/
Twitter: @mosquitaymari

Watch the trailer for Mosquita y Mari on Vimeo.

Sally El Hosaini makes her feature film debut as writer-director with her film My Brother the Devil.  Check out a narrative piece she wrote for Filmmaker Magazine on her love of film.

I’m particularly excited that directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush have their documentary Finding North at Sundance.  The film is about hunger in the U.S.  I think hunger is probably the most ignored crisis plaguing vast numbers of Americans.  I can’t wait to see this film.  Check out the trailer below!

Screenings

Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day four were the following titles.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links below.  Sorry, not many trailers are out yet.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (director, cinematographer Alison Klayman)

Corpo Celeste (writer-director Alice Rohrwacher, cinematographer Hélène Louvart)

Finding North (directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson)

For a Good Time, Call… (writers Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller)

Mosquita y Mari (writer-director Aurora Guerrero, cinematographer Magela Crosignani)

My Brother the Devil (writer-director Sally El Hosaini)

Nobody Walks (director, co-writer Ry Russo-Young, co-writer Lena Dunham)

Save the Date (cinematographer Elisha Christian)

Smashed (co-writer Susan Burke)

V/H/S (co-cinematographer Victoria K. Warren)

Also Middle of Nowhere (dir. Ava DuVernay) and The Invisible War (co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson) got subsequent screenings.

Acquisitions

It’s been reported in Variety that the cash shelled out for Katie Aselton’s feature Black Rock exceeded $1M.  The film was picked up by LD Distribution as I wrote in yesterday’s update to Sundance: days 1-3.  I’m keeping an eye on Sundance acquisitions, but have read many places that the speed and volume at which films are being picked up is slow and low.  Looks like buyers are exercising some caution, but there’s definitely some heat on Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-written by and starring Rashida Jones), Beasts of the Southern Wild (co-written by Lucy Alibar) — Fox Searchlight may nab this one — and For a Good Time, Call… (written by Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller).

Prediction

Writer-director Leslye Headland’s film Bachelorette will be picked up for distribution either during or quickly following Sundance.  It has some heavyweight involvement and reliable
backup: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and the lauded Aussie newcomer, Rebel Wilson, and is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay of Funny or Die.  Headland’s off-broadway play
of the same name had a good run, so there’s some knowledge of the story out there already, and, though I hate to say this, I think it may be able to ride the coattails of last year’s hit Bridesmaids.  (I think there are too many wedding comedies out there.) The film premieres at Sundance tonight.  Check out The Carpetbagger blog from the New York Times for a piece on the film.

SUNDANCE: days 1-3

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Below is a list of all the women filmmakers whose films screened during the first three days of Sundance (from January 19-21).  I am including feature films, documentaries and shorts which were directed, written or filmed by women.  Credits will also include co-writers, co-directors and cinematographers (sole or one of a group).

To read about one filmmaker’s experience at Sundance this year, take a look at director Kat Candler’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” blog where she’s writing about taking her film Hellion to the festival.

 

DAY 1 (Opening night)

Director Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles (U.S. documentary category) was one of four films in the festival’s opening night lineup. (In fact, Greenfield was the only female director of the bunch.) Word is that the film was a big hit, and reports were quickly released that Magnolia Pictures had picked up Greenfield’s film for North American distribution.  Ann Thompson of “Thompson on Hollywood” writes about it here.  Watch a Sundance Channel interview with Greenfield done during this year’s festival here.

Writer Sarah Koskoff’s Hello I Must Be Going (filmed by Julie Kirkwood) also joined the opening night lineup.

 

DAY 2

Writer-director Ava DuVernay’s eagerly awaited narrative feature Middle of Nowhere screens at Sundance.  DuVernay describes the film as an “…unconventional love story that explores a woman who’s lost her husband to incarceration and how she maintains her marriage from behind bars and what that’s like for her, and that struggle.” (Watch the Middle of Nowhere premiere party video and hear more about the film by clicking here.)

Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day two were the following titles.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links:

The Ambassador (co-writer Maja Jul Larsen)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (co-writer Lucy Alibar)

Big Boy Gone Bananas (co-cinematographer Kiki Allgeier)

Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-writer Rashida Jones)

Declaration of War (director & co-writer Valerie Donzelli)

The D Word (co-writer Jen Bradwell)

Father’s Chair (co-writer Elena Soarez)

Escape Fire (co-director Susan Froemke)

Indie Game (co-director, co-writer, one of cinematographers, editors and producers Lisanne Pajot)

The Invisible War (co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson)

Madrid, 1987 (cinematographer Leonor Rodriguez)

Middle of Nowhere (writer-director Ava DuVernay)

Payback (director Jennifer Baichwal)

Putin’s Kiss (writer-director Lise Birk Pedersen)

That’s What She Said (director Carrie Preston, writer Kellie Overbey)

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (cinematographer Rachel Morrison)

West of Memphis (writer-director Amy Berg)

 

DAY 3

Black Rock (director Katie Aselton, cinematographer Hillary Spera)

(Update: Aselton’s Black Rock was just picked up by LD Distribution according to a Jan. 22 report from indieWIRE.)

Detropia (directors Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

For Ellen (writer-director So Yong Kim, cinematographer Reed Morano)

ME at the ZOO (co-director & producer Valerie Veatch)

Wuthering Heights (director Andrea Arnold)