The 2002 Sundance Film Festival kicked off slightly sooner this year because of the upcoming Olympic Games. From January 10-20, 2002, more than 100 films unspooled in front of indie film fans, the press and the industry in Park City, Utah. The Film Threat staff was there to see it all.
Aside from the usual news of acquisitions by distributors of independent films, perhaps the most exciting news was the announcement by Robert Redford that the Sundance Channel would be launching an all-documentary channel. It seems that every year Sundance delivers an entire slate of powerful documentaries. In fact, the docs often end up being the best films at Sundance. Creating an entire cable channel dedicated to the genre is not only welcome, it seems long overdue.
While we’re still wrapping up coverage of certain films (so bookmark this page and keep checking back), the list below does include links to reviews of all the films that played at Sundance this year. In addition, we’ve identified the Sundance Award Winners and some Film Threat favorites from the fest that you will definitely want to check out once they hit theaters (or video or cable) soon.
It was cold, in fact, it was miserably cold at times. It was a load of work rushing from screening to screening, trying to write in between and catching parties at night. We survived on energy bars and about three to four hours of sleep a night and tried to avoid getting sick. And we can’t wait to do it all again in 2003. See you next year!
AMERICAN SHOWCASE ^ 13 Conversations About One Thing directed by Jill Sprecher ^ Empire directed by Franc Reyes ^ Storytelling directed by Todd Solondz ^ Teknolust directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson ^ World Traveler directed by Bart Freundlich ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: Todd Solondz’s groundbreaking Storytelling may offend sensitive viewers, which makes it the best film in the American Showcase.
AMERICAN SPECTRUM ^ Blue Car directed by Karen Moncrieff ^ The Business of Fancydancing directed by Sherman Alexie ^ By Hook or By Crook directed by Silas Howard & Harriet Dodge ^ Design directed by Davidson Cole ^ Devil’s Playground directed by Lucy Walker ^ The Jimmy Show directed by Frank Whaley ^ Noon Blue Apples directed by Jay Lee ^ On_Line directed by Jed Weintrob ^ Rain directed by Katherine Lindberg ^ Stolen Summer directed by Pete Jones ^ That’s My Face directed by Thomas Allen Harris ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: Director Jay Lee’s Noon Blue Apples is a well-crafted psychological thriller with the emphasis on the mind-f**k.
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION ^ Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony directed by Lee Hirsch – Documentary Audience Award – The Freedom of Expression Award ^ American Standoff directed by Kristi Jacobson ^ Blue Vinyl directed by Judith Helfand & Daniel B. Gold – The Excellence in Cinematography Award ^ Close to Home directed by Vanessa Roth & Alexandra Dickson ^ The Cockettes directed by Bill Weber & David Weissman ^ Daddy and Papa directed by Johnny Symons ^ Daughter from Danang directed by Gail Dolgin & Vicente Franco – Documentary Grand Jury Prize^ Derrida directed by Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering Kofman ^ The Execution of Wanda Jean directed by Liz Garbus ^ Family Fundamentals directed by Arthur Dong ^ How to Draw A Bunny directed by John Walter & Andrew Moore – Documentary Special Jury Prize ^ Miss America directed by Lisa Ades ^ Ralph Ellison: An American Journey directed by Avon Kirkland ^ Senorita Extraviada directed by Lourdes Portillo – Documentary Special Jury Prize ^ Sister Helen directed by Rebecca Cammisa & Rob Fruchtman – The Directing Award ^ Two Towns of Jasper directed by Whitney Dow & Marco Williams ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: There are so many truly great films in this category, but The Cockettes is an epic doc spanning generations. You’ll dance, laugh your a*s off and end up in tears by the end. Truly incredible.
DRAMATIC COMPETITION ^ Bark directed by Kasia Adamik ^ Better Luck Tomorrow directed by Justin Lin ^ Cherish directed by Finn Taylor ^ Face directed by Bertha Bay-Sa Pan ^ Killing Time directed by Anthony Jaswinski ^ Love Liza directed by Todd Louiso – The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award ^ Manito directed by Eric Eason – Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast ^ Narc directed by Joe Carnahan ^ Paradox Lake directed by Prezemyslan (Shemi) Reut ^ Personal Velocity directed by Rebecca Miller – Dramatic Grand Jury Prize – The Excellence in Cinematography Award^ Pumpkin directed by Tony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder ^ Real Women Have Curves directed by Patricia Cardoso – Dramatic Audience Award – Special Jury Prize for Acting ^ Secretary directed by Steven Shainberg – Special Jury Prize for Originality ^ The Slaughter Rule directed by Alex & Andrew Smith ^ Tadpole directed by Gary Winick – The Directing Award ^ XX/XY directed by Austin Chick ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorites: This one is a tie between Joe Carnahan’s Narc and Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow, both powerful dramas that redefine the cutting edge.
Screening out of Competition ^ The End of Love directed by Peter Mattei
FRONTIER ^ Decasia directed by Bill Morrison ^ A Place on Earth (Russia) directed by Artur Aristakisjan ^ Rancho California directed by John T. Caldwell ^ Soft for Digging directed by J.T. Petty
NATIVE FORUM ^ Caminantes (Spain) directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa ^ Christmas at Wapos Bay (Canada) directed by Dennis Jackson ^ Chrysalis directed by Gabriel Shaw ^ Contact the People (Canada) directed by Garry Oker ^ The Hill (New Zealand) directed by Tainui Stephens ^ Hotere (New Zealand) directed by Merata Mita ^ Miss 501 (A Portrait of Luck) (Canada) directed by Jules Karatechamp ^ One Night The Moon (Australia) directed by Rachel Perkins ^ The People Dance (Canada) directed by Dana Claxton ^ Red Buffalo Skydive (Canada) directed by Judith Norris ^ Retrace (Canada) directed by Darlene Naponse ^ Running on Indian Time directed by Duane Allen Humeyestewa ^ Still Life (New Zealand) directed by Sima Urale ^ Yada Yada directed by Bennie Klain
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT ^ Britney Baby – One More Time directed by Ludi Boeken ^ Fubar (Canada) directed by Michael Dowse ^ Hiphopbattle.com: Hiphop for Life directed by David Velo Stewart ^ Hollywood Hong Kong (Hong Kong) directed by Fruit Chan ^ May directed by Ed McKee ^ Taboo directed by Max Makowski ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: The Midnight films are always a crapshoot at Sundance, they can be brilliant or sleep-inducing, but this year the choice was clear. Ed McKee’s May outshined them all.
PREMIERES ^ Birthday Girl (UK) directed by Jez Butterworth ^ Coastlines directed by Victor Nunez ^ Crush (Germany/UK) directed by John McKay ^ The Dancer Upstairs directed by John Malkovich ^ The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys directed by Peter Care ^ The Good Girl directed by Miguel Arteta ^ Human Nature (France/USA) directed by Michael Gondry ^ Hysterical Blindness directed by Mira Nair ^ Gerry directed by Gus Van Sant ^ The Kid Stays in the Picture directed by Brett Morgen & Nanette Burstein ^ LA Story directed by Nick Broomfield ^ The Laramie Project directed by Moises Kaufman ^ Lucky Break (UK) directed by Peter Cattaneo ^ The Man from Elysian Fields directed by George Hickenlooper ^ One Hour Photo directed by Mark Romanek ^ Our America directed by Ernest Dickerson ^ Run, Ronnie, Run directed by Troy Miller ^ Skins directed by Chris Eyre ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein’s The Kid Stays in the Picture is one-part documentary, another part drama but it’s also a milestone in moviemaking.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS ^ Go Heat Man! (Japan) directed by Yasue Nobusawa ^ Laundry (Japan) directed by Mori Junichi ^ Only the Strong Will Survive directed by Chris Hegedus, D A Pennebaker ^ Ski Bums (Canada) directed by John Zarisky ^ Texas directed by Russell Crowe ^ Wisegirls directed by David Anspaugh
SUNDANCE COLLECTION ^ The Brother from Another Planet directed by John Sayles ^ Shadows directed by John Cassevetes
WORLD CINEMA ^ L’Afrance (France) directed by Alain Gomis ^ Australian Rules (Australia) directed by Paul Goldman ^ Bloody Sunday (UK) directed by Paul Greengrass – The World Cinema Audience Award ^ Soft Shell Man (Canada) directed by Andre Turpin ^ Streeters (Mexico) directed by Gerardo Tort ^ Dog Days (Austria) directed by Ulrich Seidl ^ Honey for Oshun (Cuba) directed by Humberto Solas ^ The Inner Tour (Israel) directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz ^ Intacto (Spain) directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ^ Karmen Gei (Senegal) directed by Josheph Gaï Ramaka ^ Lan Yu (Hong Kong) directed by Stanley Kwan ^ The Last Kiss (Italy) directed by Gabriele Muccino – The World Cinema Audience Award ^ Loco Fever (Chile/Spain/Mexico) directed by Andres Wood ^ Lola (Canada) directed by Carl Bessai ^ Lubov and Other Nightmares (Russia) directed by Andrei Nekrasor ^ Miranda (UK) directed by Marc Munden ^ Quitting (China) directed by Zhang Yang ^ Rain (New Zealand) directed by Christine Jeffs ^ Sex and Lucia (Spain) directed by Julio Medem ^ Smokers Only (Argentina) directed by Veronica Chen ^ Tears of a Black Tiger (Thailand) directed by Wisit Sartsanatieng ^ Time Out (France) directed by Laurent Cantet ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: Spanish director Julio Medem’s Sex and Lucia is one of just a few movies that will receive a five-star review from Film Threat this year. It’s no surprise that it was snatched up by a distributor quickly.
SHORTS ^ Afro Deutsch directed by Ayassi ^ Beautiful directed by Adam Stevens ^ Beneath the Borqa in Afghanistan directed by lara Lee^ Birju directed by Heeraz Marfatia ^ Blue Haven directed by Julian Cautherley ^ Boobie Girl directed by Brooke Keesling ^ Burn directed by Patrick Jolley, Reynold Reynolds ^ Bus 44 directed by Dayyan Eng ^ Casablanca directed by Mike Saenz ^ The Charnel House directed by Jeffrey Blatt ^ Curve directed by Jacqueline Mikhail ^ Dog (Inja) directed by Steve Pasvolsky ^ Down to the Bone directed by Rene Castillo ^ Dream Work directed by Peter Tscherkassky ^ Gasline directed by Dave Silver ^ Golden Gate directed by Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund ^ I Shout Love directed by Sarah Polley ^ Love Thy Brother directed by Ralph Macchio ^ Meeting (Entrevue) directed by Marie Pierre Huster ^ The Migration of Clouds directed by Patrick Scott ^ Morning Breath directed by Brin Hill ^ Naming Prairie directed by Alexandra Juhasz ^ Native American in Manhattan directed by Steve Bilich ^ No Dumb Questions directed by Melissa Regan ^ Passage directed by Chel White ^ The Pitch directed by Nash Edgerton ^ Populi directed by David Russo ^ Slo-Mo directed by John Krokidas ^ Spare Me directed by Guinevere Turner ^ Stuck directed by Jamie Babbit ^ Sweet Dreams directed by Sergei Davidoff ^ Tall Girl directed by Amalia Zarranz ^ Time Out directed by Robbie Chafitz ^ Touched by a Burger directed by Henry Rivero ^ Trapped in Freedom directed by Moh Azima ^ Tree directed by Eliza Johnson ^ The Quest for Length directed by Gene B. Rhee ^ Whoa directed by Maurice A. Dwyer ^ Film Threat Sundance Favorite: I Shout Love, from actress turned director Sarah Polley, was meaningful, hysterical and entertaining. Clearly, the best short at Sundance.
Note to Filmmakers: If your film did not receive a review in our Sundance 2002 round up, please just send us a copy on video and we will be sure to get it covered on the site. ^ Your pals at Film Threat
Check out FILMTHREAT.com’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!