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We asked Sundance directors five questions about their films

A futuristic buddy film focused on the relationship between an elderly ex-jewel thief and his caretaker robot, Robot & Frank's premise might sound high-concept, silly even. But director Jake Schreier 's focus is on keeping the action emotionally grounded. Anchored by the dexterous, empathetic, and ever-dependable Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon, Superman Returns) as well as a strong ensemble that includes Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, and Liv Tyler, Schreier's feature debut is a small-scale character piece with some very large ambitions.Read the Interview


Over the last decade, Ava Duvernay has established herself as something of an indie renaissance woman. An entrepreneur, distribution and marketing expert, and key player in the African American filmmaking landscape, Duvernay expanded her resume again in 2010 with her directorial debut I Will Follow, an intimate portrait of grief. Middle of Nowhere, Duvernay's followup, centers on a woman (Emayatzy Corinealdi) forced to cope with the recent incarceration of her husband. Read the Interview

We posed the question, "Why are you a filmmaker?"
SAVE THE DATE CO-WRITER-DIRECTOR MICHAEL MOHAN When I was a kid I wanted to be a magician. I watched a VHS copy of David Copperfield walking through the Great Wall of China over and over and over again. I still don't know how he did it. Filmmaking isn't that much different. I mean - think of it this way: movies start out as ideas. In your brain. These get spilled onto paper. People then pretend to be the characters on that paper. Which is filmed through the lens of a camera. The contents of which end up on a hard drive. Which are re-organized on a computer. And spit out onto a tape. The tape is then played through a large box at the back of an auditorium. And that idea is shot out onto a screen for people to watch. If that's not magic I don't know what is.Read More

49 million people in the U.S.--one in four children--don't know where their next meal is coming from. It's a shocking statistic, but how do you turn a stat into a story? My answer is deceivingly simple: you make a movie. No art form can truly make us feel another person's pain, or joy, or hunger. It's our own emotions and imaginations that bring any art form to life. But film, in my experience, is the most powerful conduit between one person's experience and an audience. As a filmmaker, I consider making that connection to be among my most cherished responsibilities and fulfilling rewards. It's a cycle of storytelling that has the potential to change all of us - the subject, the filmmaker, and the audience. Read more

YOUNG AND WILD WRITER-DIRECTOR MARIALY RIVAS I didn't have an option, when I was 7 years old I felt "the calling", I knew since then what I wanted to do with my life: become a filmmaker. Since then, it has been pretty much like being passionately in love with somebody, why do we fall in love with some particular person and not the next? It doesn't really have a rational explanation -at least not for me- you are just in love. During the years, I have tried to give it a sense, so here goes my best effort. In retrospective I think it has a lot to do mostly with two things: Read More

Robot & Frank
Middle of Nowhere
Save the Date
Finding North
Young and Wild
Remembering Bingham Ray
Slamdance: James Stenson's Kelly
Sundance Shorts Program II
Video: We Are Legion Director Brian Knappenberger
News, columns, and opinions straight from Park City
REMEMBERING BINGHAM RAY, 1954 - 2012 By Scott Macaulay

I first met Bingham Ray in 1992, when I interviewed him and October Films partner Jeff Lipsky about their company's expansion and move to New York. It was for Filmmaker's second issue, and in our talk, Bingham was all the things he's now being remembered for -- committed, combative, intelligent and garrulous. He was pitching me on his upcoming slate, a diverse lot that included Alain Corneau's Tous Les Matins Du Monde, Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, and a shorts package that included Michael Moore's Pets or Meat. The ostensible hook for the article, though, was Ray and Lipsky's move from L.A., where they founded the company in Lipsky's garage, to swanky Rockefeller Center offices.Read More


The first film I saw today was the morning screening of James Stenson's Kelly, a documentary portrait of transvestite Kelly Van Ryan, a girl who moved to LA from North Carolina to become a star. Of course, she didn't, instead turning to prostitution and meth. Kelly is a complicated portrait. The filmmakers clearly have a great affection for her, and she's a compelling character, prone to rants and exclamations like, "Recession? How does the whole world run out of money?" Read More


The films that make up Sundance's Shorts Program II all address issues of basic intimacy and loneliness. Whether telling the story of a homecoming between wife and husband, an unexpected encounter with a stranger, or in one case, the way technology's interference in everyday life renders a relationship unidentifiable, these young filmmakers are all attempting to understand emotions that still remains mysterious. Take Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, and Jessie Ennis' The Arm, for example. The film begins misleadingly. A narrative that threatens to be about a power struggle between two male teenage friends turns quickly into a darkly humorous depiction of a subject we should probably be taking more seriously - texting while driving. Read More
WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS DIRECTOR BRIAN KNAPPENBERGER Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco of the National Film Society are back with a video interview with director Brian Knappenberger, whose hacker documentary We Are Legion premieres in competition at Slamdance this week. During the interview, which will give those of you not in Park City a good idea of the snow situation, Patrick and Stephen speak with Knappenberger about hacker group Anonymous, infusing comedy into documentary, and SOPA. Watch

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