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We asked Sundance directors five questions about their films
THE COMEDY DIRECTOR RICK ALVERSON By Dan Schoenbrun

Director Rick Alverson is nothing if not prolific. After putting out six albums over eight years with his band Spokane, Alverson turned his attention to film, directing The Builder in 2010 and New Jerusalem last year. Continuing this productive streak is The Comedy, a dark exploration into the insular, self-destructive lifestyle of the affluent white male. Set against the backdrop of Brooklyn's ultra-hip Williamsburg, The Comedy stands in contrast to Alverson's previous two films, films that focused mainly on the stories of working class immigrants. Read the Interview

FOR ELLEN DIRECTOR SO YONG KIM By Alexandra Byer

After winning over half a dozen festival prizes for her first two feature films, So Yong Kim has spent the last few years producing for her husband, Bradley Rust Gray (The Exploding Girl), and developing her newest movie, For Ellen. Similar to her previous films, For Ellen's narrative derives from Kim's own experiences growing up. Brought together through the character of a young man traveling to see his daughter for the first time, Kim's personal style of filmmaking not only forces the audience to question their own decisions, but has also allowed the filmmaker a cathartic way to view her own life.Read the Interview

We posed the question, "Why are you a filmmaker?"
UNDER AFRICAN SKIES DIRECTOR JOE BERLINGER I am as surprised as anyone that I have actually been able to raise a family by doing nonfiction work for the past 2 decades. In that time, I have witnessed a lot of change - in technology, in distribution, in audience appetites and in the maturation of nonfiction as an industry - and we can certainly have a healthy debate about whether it is easier or harder to make a living these days as a nonfiction film and television maker than it was 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. But while we can debate whether or not it is easier or harder to be a documentarian today, I would argue that being a documentarian today has never been more important.Read more

NOBODY WALKS DIRECTOR RY RUSSO YOUNG When I was a teenager I would wear sexy clothes to school that didn't fit me. My mother would see me before I left the house and was horrified that her awkward, fourteen year old daughter was planning to walk the New York City streets in a tight pink baby tee shirt and red denim miniskirt. She said I looked like a hooker clown and she was probably right. But at the time, I was just beginning to understand that my body could communicate something sexual and powerful to others. Almost every woman I know went through a time in her life when she tested the boundaries of her own sexuality, struggling with what it meant to have both freedom and self-respect at the same time. Read More

V/H/S DIRECTORS MATT BETTINELLI-OLPIN, TYLER GILLET, JUSTIN MARTINEZ, CHAD VILLELLA Matt Bettinelli-Olpin:
For our segment of V/H/S ("10/31/98"), we spent an entire night searching for a train. After hours of driving around, we still couldn't get what we needed, so we decided to park near some tracks and wait. It was a little after midnight on a Tuesday and there we were: four friends, grown men sitting in a parked car with lights off, down a dark alley somewhere in South Los Angeles, dressed up as a pirate, a Marine, a life-sized teddy bear & the Unabomber. A woman walking by caught a glimpse of us and quickly picked up her pace-and I'm sure our awkward attempts to look as nonthreatening as possible only made it creepier (Sorry!). Read More

IN THIS NEWSLETTER
The Comedy
For Ellen
Under African Skies
Nobody Walks
V/H/S
Craig Zobel on Compliance
Sundance 2012: Sex Drugs and Falling Apart
Clip Roundup: Indie Game, Arbitrage, more
Terence Nance Prepares For His Premiere
SUNDANCE BLOG & FEATURES
News, columns, and opinions straight from Park City
WRITER/DIRECTOR CRAIG ZOBEL ON COMPLIANCE By Scott Macaulay

Following the adventures of two mismatched salesman hawking vanity recording deals for a small Southern recording label, Craig Zobel's 2007 Sundance picture Great World of Sound is a beautifully crafted debut feature, emotionally rich and with a sagacious perspective on America's escalating obsession with fame. And in the months following its release, the banter between the two men, and the hapless vocalists aiming for an America's Got Talent-style brass ring by way of a cheaply-produced studio single, must have made the film seem like a comedy to those who missed its lacerating moral critique. That's because, as Zobel notes below, the scripts he received after that lauded debut were all comedies -- and ones he ultimately didn't even get to direct.Read More

SUNDANCE 2012: SEX, DRUGS, AND FALLING APART By Tom Hall

Snow is pounding Park City; people are hidden under hoods and hats, the snow burying everything under a deep pile of grey and white. This is perfect weather for introspection and so far, the narrative films at Sundance have done little to break the mood. I couldn't be happier. Early on, Sundance has featured films united by loss, by the end of relationships, by heartbreak and the assertion of possibility. I am no glutton for sadness, but there is something about the dark skies and looming mountains that make the melancholy almost comforting. If you look hard enough, every festival unveils a thematic strain, and Sundance 2012 is no exception; so far, this is the festival of falling apart. Read More

SUNDANCE CLIP ROUNDUP: INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE, ARBITRAGE, THE COMEDY By Dan Schoenbrun

Those of us not in Park City this weeked will have to make due with the slow-trickle of "Exclusive Clips" that have begun floating around the internet. First up, Wired shares a sequence from Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky's Indie Game: The Movie, a documentary about video-game programmers. In the above clip, Tommy Refenes, one of the film's main subjects, nervously shares an unfinished version of his new game at a convention in Boston. Read More
First-hand accounts by filmmakers

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM By Terence Nance

Today is the day. I've been working to finish this movie (An Oversimplification of her Beauty since 2006. There were moments in the six years since putting pen to page during which I couldn't make this day out in my future. Not that I considered quitting, that isn't my style, but I did at times feel like the journey of making this film would stretch into eternity. This is not unprecedented, check out Ellison's second book or Wendell B. Harris' second movie. To avoid that fate I had to take an extreme measure and commit myself to working 12 hours a day 7 days a week until the movie was finished. Read more


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