Director: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais
When is masseuse not a masseuse? When they can't stand touching people. It's the kind of story you can imagine being in a Woody Allen film - one full of potential for comedy with a strong dash of existential crisis. But Touchy Feely never really gets a grip on its idea, content to just drift around its premise before ultimately letting it slip through its fingers.
Director: Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
Cast: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose
”I’m going to tell you a story and it’s true.” That’s Matt Pandamiglio (Birbiglia) talking to the camera about himself in a film about himself. A self-obsessed neurotic guy, he narrates his midlife crisis to us like a lowbrow Woody Allen. And every now and then, he runs around the bedroom in his sleep, convinced he’s fighting a jackal.
Director: Francesca Gregorini
Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Jessica Biel, Frances O'Connor
What is the truth about fishes? Do they have legs? Are they dogs in disguise? If you’re hoping to find out from Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes, best forget the title. Because while the name implies some aquatic intrigue, Francesca Gregorini’s is too concerned staring into its own murky depths to provide any satisfying answers.
Director: Steve Hooper
Cast: Rocky Braat, Steve Hoover
Every now and then, a film comes along that wallops you sideways and makes you rethink your life. Blood Brother is one of them. Directed by Steve Hooper, it’s a heartfelt tribute to his best friend, Rocky Braat, a guy who sold everything he owned and moved to India to help at an orphanage for kids with HIV.
7 films to see at Sundance London 2013
Indie film fans ahoy! Sundance London is back at The O2 this weekend with more screens, higher ticket prices an even bigger line-up of films, including (for the first time) a selection of homegrown British produce.
A great new platform for indie filmmakers, last year’s festival helped secure UK distribution for eight out of its 14 films – and all eight were properly excellent stuff. We have high hopes, then, for the 2013 crop.
Here are our top seven films to see at Sundance London 2013.
Sundance London is back at The O2 this week for a second year after a successful 2012 – and once again, I find myself torn over the whole thing.
On the one hand, it’s a great platform for indie films and fun to have some Sundance buzz spill over into the UK. On the other hand, it’s an overpriced affair that sees Robert Redford's institution charge £10 for a ceramic mug with the Sundance London logo on it - perhaps the only film festival in the UK that sells its own merchandise.
This year, the prices for tickets have actually gone up: £14, including a booking fee of £2.50. Plus another fee of £2.50.
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Cast: James Balog
In under 80 minutes, Jeff Orlowski’s documentary Chasing Ice manages to capture something that disaster movies have been trying to for years: the colossal, beautiful and horrifying destruction of our planet. It makes The Day After Tomorrow look like Trumpton.
Using still photography and staggering video footage, he follows the gradual annihilation of glaciers around the globe due to climate change. The results are jaw-dropping, easily eclipsing any amount of Hollywood CGI. If Roland Emmerich saw it, he would probably pee his pants.
(Update: This film is so good that now even my nephew has been inspired to write a review of it. To see my writing outclassed by a seven year old, click here.)
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt
For a film called Nobody Walks, there’s quite a lot of walking. No jetpacks. No hover cars. Not even a pogo stick.
The title of Ry Russo-Young’s drama refers to the place in which it’s set: Los Angeles, where nobody walks – presumably because they’re too busy having sex. Into this anti-pedestrian town strolls Martine (Thirlby), a young student finishing an art project. She stays with Peter (Krasinski), Julie (DeWitt) and their family. She’s an outsider. And, like all outsiders who enter a loving home, she proceeds to screw everything up. Literally.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Mark Duplass, Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson
“WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed.”
How would you react to that classified ad?
Journalist Jeff (Johnson) thinks it’s a good source for a magazine article. Downtrodden journo intern Darius (Plaza) hopes it might be true. Equally exploited unpaid worker Arnau (Soni) thinks the guy is insane. When writer Derek Connolly saw the classified, he thought it would be a great idea for a movie. Director Colin Trevorrow agreed.
In a way, all of them are right.
“I make films for myself, but I try to respect the audience at all times.”
So Yong Kim is a quiet person. The kind of filmmaker who’s too shy to speak up a panel discussing independent cinema and insists that she doesn’t sit through a screening of her own film – or at least sits somewhere near the door so she can run away without anyone noticing.
But the director, who lives with her husband – also a filmmaker – in the US, has been a Sundance regular ever since she started out with a video camera and no money in 2006. After returning to Utah this year with For Ellen, the tale of a washed-up rock musician Joby (Paul Dano) trying to connect with his daughter before he loses custody completely, So Yong Kim has come to Sundance London to share her low-key, moving drama.
Here’s what she had to say to us about funding, filming and Paul Dano’s secret dance moves.