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I interviewed Miranda July yesterday morning for a short video piece that will be up on the site later today. I asked her about the five-year gap between her debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, and her new film, The Future, which premiered here in Park City last night. (Note to filmmakers: if you name your movie The Future, you get introduced as "the director of The Future.) We talked about all the other stuff she did during this period - a live performance art piece, a book of short stories, an installation for the Venice Biennial that then became a public art piece in New York's Union Square. I'm paraphrasing her drastically here, but she talked about how she had to put herself into a place where she could be both creative and scared, where she should jettison ideas about what a second movie should be and follow a creative thread that was of a piece with her art in general, and not just the film business.

These thoughts bounced around my head as I watched her premiere several hours later. I loved The Future. It's bold, moving and complex, and it doesn't rely on the conventions of its genre. That genre, on the surface, is that of the post-twenty something life-choices film, the kind of movie where usually good-looking people navigate that period between youthful abandon and grown-up responsibility. But in James Ponsoldt's interview with July, she also talks about the movie as a horror film. If so, it's more akin to the kind of horror movie David Lynch has been making in films like Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway, the kind of film in which the fluidity of one's own identity is the monster. But The Future is also a comedy, full of droll exchanges, wonderful sight gags, and not only a talking cat but a talking moon. All of this could be quite precious, but July grounds it all in real emotions with a playful style that is tremendously rewarding if you surrender yourself to it. Read Ponsoldt's interview with July here, and watch for our video interview with her later today.

In other Sundance news, there's good buzz on Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene. I hear Margin Call and Here played well. I went to the New Frontiers party last night and tried to see James Franco's video installation, but the room was packed. I'll check that out later in the week. And there's quite a bit of buzz on Bellflower, which is drawing Mad Max comparisons and was shot on a camera created by the filmmaker. I'm seeing that later in the week so I'll report back.

See you online or here on the streets of Park City.

Best,
Scott Macaulay
Editor

IN THIS NEWSLETTER
Editor's Note
Sundance Responses
Sundance Features
SUNDANCE FEATURES
"TERRI" DIRECTOR AZAZEL JACOBS By Nick Dawson

Azazel Jacobs' profile has grown steadily since he made his striking, black-and-white debut feature, Nobody Needs to Know, in 2003. He followed it in 2005 with the delightfully quirky and inventive The GoodTimesKid, a film which found a devoted audience on the film festival circuit and was eventually released theatrically in 2007. Jacobs' third feature, Momma's Man, a poignant tale of adult regression into childhood, had its world premiere at Sundance. It became one of the hits of the 2008 festival, and played in theaters later that year to universal acclaim. more

"HERE" PRODUCERS JAY VAN HOY & LARS KNUDSEN By Scott Macaulay

Originally printed in our Fall 2010 issue, we asked a number of leading independent producers about their producing models and how they're finding everything from financing to material to office space. Jay Van Hoy & Lars Knudsen's latest film, Braden King's Here, premieres at Sundance.

For Parts and Labor's Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, independent film success is all about work. Very hard work. Midway through our conversation about their recent producing successes, Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen realized that they hadn't had a day off in 18 months. more

"BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD" DIRECTOR SUSAN SALADOFF By Mary Anderson Casavant

For the lucky few who get in, Sundance isn't just a festival - it's a resource. Over the years, the festival has nurtured the careers of a number of documentary filmmakers who went on to become what senior programmer David Courier recently termed "master filmmakers" - filmmakers so good and so respected that the festival had to create the out-of-competition category, "Doc Premieres," to make sure their work didn't overshadow the greener directors. It should come as no surprise to anyone in the documentary community to find Liz Garbus' name in a category reserved for such filmmakers. more

SUNDANCE RESPONSES
"REBIRTH," DIRECTOR JIM WHITAKER The biggest surprise was how the scope of the film continued to evolve. When I had the idea to put the time-lapse cameras up it was in part to record the history of the site moving forward, and in part to create a time-lapse installation at a future museum at Ground Zero. more

"POSITION AMONG THE STARS," CO-WRITER-DIRECTOR LEONARD RETEL HELMRICH As a filmmaker you often hear the term "Kill your darlings" in order to make the story line of your film clear. The darling scenes are often scenes that reveal a poetic feeling, more than facts. Often I saw rough material of colleagues' potentially beautiful poetic documentaries. But in the editing many of these films were demolished because too many darlings were killed. The story lines became clear but the poetry was gone. In other words, the facts were clear but the feelings were gone. more

"THE SALESMAN," WRITER-DIRECTOR SEBASTIEN PILOTE Before I started to shoot my first feature, my experience had been working alone or with a very small crew, two or three people - that's all. That was the key that gave me the versatility and more importantly, the freedom I need when I shoot, because I like to switch quickly to get the unknown, to go for the unscripted... to react fast for the bonus that cinema gives more often then we think. So I was worried and a little anxious about how I would react when working with a big crew, a real schedule, a film ratio that I could not go over every day. more

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