Sundance Film Festival Recap
The Sundance Film Festival is held annually in Park City, Utah. It showcases new work by American and international independent film makers. The talent in this show amazes and inspires each year. Because of the quality of the films, the Sundance Film Festival has grown and attracted big names in the world’s film industry. This year was no exception.
From a police shooting, to a pair of married robbers, there are films you’ll fall in love with, be inspired by, or possibly not care for. But how will you know your reaction unless you see them yourself? Optimum Productions has provided some information on a few of the awards presented as well as the winners.
Winner of the 2013 Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) and the Audience Award (Dramatic) – Ryan Coogler, – Fruitvale
In 2009, a 22-year-old African-American named Oscar Grant was shot by Oakland police at the BART station on New Year’s Day. He was unarmed and shot in the back. 26-year-old filmmaker, Ryan Coogler, makes his debut with this film about the last day of the young man’s troubled life shot on location. Michael B. Jordan who played Oscar Grant has received nothing but praise for his thoughtful performance.
Winner of the 2013 Grand Jury Prize (Documentary) and the Audience Award (Documentary) – Steve Hoover, Blood Brother
This film, originally funded by donations, follows Rocky Bratt who helps out an orphanage and care center in India for children with HIV/ AIDS. Touching and raw, Director Steve Hoover portrays his friend’s day-to-day life inside the orphanage with honesty. Critics have been impressed with Blood Brother.
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – Kalyanee Man, A River Changes Course
Cambodian filmmaker, Kalyanee Man, brings to light the problems that Cambodia faces as globalization threatens their culture in his documentary, A River Changes Course. The film addresses such problems as staggering debt, deforestation and overfishing. As the three individuals that the movie highlights are filmed, the viewer feels the struggle, leading to questions and discussions about Cambodia’s plight.
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – O Muel, Jiseul
South Korean director, O Muel, shot this film in black and white. It portrays the tragic story of 1948 Jeju Massacre. The sometimes difficult to watch film tells the story of 120 villagers who hid from soldiers. They spent 60 days in a cave suffering from cold and hunger. Jiseul is the first Korean film to win a main prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary – Jehane Noujaim, The Square
The Square is an observational documentary by American-Egyptian filmmaker, Jehane Noujaim. The Harvard graduate has worked on many documentaries in the Middle East and the United States, using her talents to depict the Egyptian Revolution and its continued effects on Egypt and its people
World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic – Sean Ellis, Metro Manila
Sean Ellis, writer and director, gives a sometimes tragically realistic and honest look at the dark side of life in Manila through the main character, Oscar Ramirez, who struggles to care for his family as a farmer. The low price of rice leads him to take his family into the city where he begins working as a security guard, eventually leading to his involvement in a crime.
The Sundance Film Festival is known for attracting the best of the best and bringing to light small-budget Indie films that deserve a larger audience. Last year’s Searching for Sugarman is a good example. Winning the 2012 Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best International Documentary at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, it went on to win several more awards including the 2013 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.