Sundance 2013: Twitch Wraps It Up

Ryland Aldrich, Festivals Editor



Sundance has come and Sundance has gone, but the reviews just keep on rolling in. While there will be a couple last reviews that trickle in this weekend, most eyes are already looking towards Berlin and SXSW as the festival season keeps on steaming on. So it's time to call things wrapped on Park City's big indie extravaganza, and take a look back at the fest that was.

10 to Watch Before the Fest Series
10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Dramatic Competition Edition
10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Documentaries
10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Best of the Rest

Previews
The Competition Slates
Dramatic and Documentary Premieres
Midnight, Next, Spotlight, and New Frontiers

Features & Interviews
Twitch Raises the Curtain with Our Top 20 Picks
Six Questions with PIT STOP Co-Writer/Director Yen Tan by Chase Whale
WRONG COPS Interview with Quentin Dupieux, Mark Burnham, Steve Litte, Arden Myrin and Eric Wareheim by Alex Koehne
S-VHS Interview with Directors Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener and Adam Wingard and Producer Roxanne Benjamin by Alex Koehne
Shane Carruth on Control and the Self-Distribution of UPSTREAM COLOR by Ryland Aldrich
Awards Coverage
Boozie Movies Part 1 by Greg Christie
Boozie Movies Part 2 by Greg Christie
Boozie Movies Part 3 by Greg Christie


First Impressions
BREATHE IN is Another Mature Meditation on Love
STOKER Delivers on Director Park's Brand
UPSTREAM COLOR is Filled with Big, Confusing Ideas
THE WAY, WAY BACK is Heavy on Laughs

Reviews
Afternoon Delight by Chase Whale
Austenland by Eric D. Snider
Before Midnight by Ryland Aldrich
Black Fish by Alex Koehne
Breathe In by Ryland Aldrich
C.O.G. by Chase Whale
Crystal Fairy by Ryland Aldrich
Don Jon's Addiction by Chase Whale
The East by Ryland Aldrich
Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes by Alex Koehne
Fruitvale by Sean Smithson
In Fear by Sean Smithson
Lovelace by Sean Smithson
Prince Avalanche by Eric D. Snider
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman by Chase Whale
The Spectacular Now by Chase Whale
Stoker by Sean Smithson
S-VHS by Ryland Aldrich
Toy's House by Chase Whale
Two Mothers by Alex Koehne
Upstream Color by Eric D. Snider
The Way, Way Back by Chase Whale
Wrong Cops by Alex Koehne

Sundance 2013 Wrap from Chase Whale


What was your overall favorite film?
Toy's House

How about your biggest disappointment?
Park Chan-wook's Stoker. Great ensemble, very stylish, awful third act.

Who gave the best performance?
Sam Rockwell in The Way, Way Back. If his performance in this film doesn't get nominated for an Oscar next year, there will be blood. Or just a lot of nagging from me.

What was your top discovery of the fest?
Toy's House - a joyous little movie about being young and dreaming big.

Finally, what was your favorite Sundance moment?
Celebrity sightings of Eric D. Snider (here he is). I saw him three times.

Sundance 2013 Wrap from Eric D. Snider


What was your overall favorite film?
I neglected to see the ones that topped everyone else's lists -- Before Midnight for example -- but of the 20 films I did see, I'd put Stoker and Mud at the top.

How about your biggest disappointment?
Having enjoyed last year's V/H/S, I was disappointed at how rote and half-baked 75% of S-VHS was.

Who gave the best performance?
The publicist who convinced me she'd have a ticket for me so I could see her movie, and then didn't. Very realistic!

What was your favorite documentary?
After Tiller -- and not just because I love late-term abortions.

What was your top discovery of the fest?
Escape from Tomorrow is by no means a great movie (it's barely even "good"), but the audacity behind it is fascinating. I'm curious to see what happens next for the movie and the filmmaker.

Finally, what was your favorite Sundance moment?
When we were having a party at our hotel and the security guard shut it down at like 10:45 because of complaints from the downstairs neighbor, who booked a room in a hotel on Main Street in Park City during Sundance because she wanted tranquility and silence.

Sundance 2013 Wrap from Sean Smithson


What was your overall favorite film?
Wow, to answer an impossible question I am going to spin it a bit, and go with what I felt was probably the most "important" film I saw at Sundance, which would be the documentary Narco Cultura, about the drug cartels in Mexico, the task force officers who try to stem the problem, and the burgeoning "narco corridos" scene of young musicians who sing the praises of the crime lords. Amazingly powerful stuff.

How about your biggest disappointment?
Jiseul, which actually picked up an award or two. It's based on a Korean post-war massacre, filmed in black and white (beautifully, to be fair) but was too long winded and redundant, to the point where it lost its power for me.

Who gave the best performance?
Another impossible question, but I am going to go with Rutger Hauer in Il Futuro, who turned in a marvelously sensitive and layered portrayal of an old sword and sandal actor, living the life of a hermit in his old threadbare manor, when a young woman comes along and brings him somewhat back to life

What was your favorite documentary?
Again, Narco Cultura. Wow. Just WOW.

What was your top discovery of the fest?
The fact that next year, no matter what, I will stay in Park City because Utah weather that time of the year does not permit easy travel from my home-base in Salt Lake City! As for film-wise? I'm going with Il Futuro director Alicia Scherson, whose earlier work I now must see at all costs.

Finally, what was your favorite Sundance moment?
Sitting on the floor in the wait ticket line at the Rose Wagner Center in SLC, watching Lawrence Of Arabia on my laptop, praying to get into a showing of Stoker, when I was tapped on the shoulder by an angel in the guise of theater manger Sara, who handed me a ticket to the dangerously packed screening. I have to add also, talking with the film goers, the volunteers, and the film makers before and after the films. Community is such a big part of the experience, and it was definitely made richer through conversations with all the great people I met while attending the fest.

Sundance 2013 Wrap from Alex Koehne


What was your overall favorite film?
There were quite a few strong contenders for my favorite film this year but several have really stuck in my mind. Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes, Crystal Fairy, Don Jon's Addiction, Upstream Color and Two Mothers all come to mind. I think that I'd have to say, Emanuel though. It took me on the most impactful emotional journey out of all the films I watched. It gave me an inside look at people I might've been judgmental against in other circumstances and for whatever reason, I really connected with it.

How about your biggest disappointment?
There are two. The first is Austenland. It sounded like such good, outrageous fun and had several cast members I was really excited to watch. Instead, the film fell totally flat for me, and while it did have some good laughs, I didn't take much from it. The second is Virtually Heroes. I wasn't particularly excited about it in the first place, but this movie was so bad in every way that it was simply disappointing that I wasted an hour and a half watching it.

Who gave the best performance?
I want to say Gareth Evans as the hellspawn in his segment in S-VHS but more seriously, I'd have to say either Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now or Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon's Addiction. There were many great performances in this year's line up, but Teller not only convincingly plays a high school student, he does so with a lot of layers of complex emotion, all bundled into a character who suppresses his feelings by any means he can. This is a difficult thing to pull off. Gordon-Levitt on the other hand is simply a different person in his film. Believing him as a New Jersey guido; all fake tanned and buffed up with a convincing accent is just as fun to watch as it is impressive.

What was your favorite documentary?
Usually I try and see a bunch of documentaries, but unfortunately, I only caught one this year. Luckily it was a good one and one that is important to see. It's called Blackfish and you can read my review of it here.

What was your top discovery of the fest?
I love David Sedaris' writing; both his contributions to This American Life and his books and essays. I didn't know that C.O.G. was an adaptation of one of his essays nor that it was the first time he'd allowed his work to be made into a film. With Sleepwalk With Me being one of my favorites last year, I was hopeful that C.O.G. would be up there as well. It was! I loved it. If it not had Sedaris' name attached, I doubt I would have even seen it, but I'm glad I did. C.O.G. has great performances, and simple but wonderful filmmaking to support the source material.

Finally, what was your favorite Sundance moment?
My favorite moment was probably Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords) heckling audience members as they left during the Q&A for Austenland. Too bad the filmmakers didn't allow him to be as funny on screen as he was during the Q&A.

Sundance 2013 Wrap from Ryland Aldrich


What was your overall favorite film?
The Spectacular Now for its wonderfully truthful portrayal of young love.

How about your biggest disappointment?
I loved the script for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman - and while it was always going to be a challenge, it was a apparently a challenge to great for first time feature director Fredrick Bond.

Who gave the best performance?
I'm going with Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now but both Rooney Mara in Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Matthew McConaughey in Mud deserve mention as well.

What was your favorite documentary?
I saw quite a few excellent documentaries, but the best of the best was Inequality for All, a very entertaining and important film about the US economy that everyone should see.

What was your top discovery of the fest?
Jordan Vogt Roberts and his ridiculously entertaining film Toy's House.

Finally, what was your favorite Sundance moment?
Easy. Dave Grohl put on a three-hour performance with his "Sound City Players" that included Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, Rick Springfield, Dan Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, and many more. Best Sundance moment, ever.

Around the Internet:
  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Who gave the best performance?
    The publicist who convinced me she'd have a ticket for me so I could see her movie, and then didn't. Very realistic!"

    Hey, Mr Snider...are you naming names soon...?

    And also what film?

    "which would be the documentary Narco Cultura, about the drug cartels in Mexico, the task force officers who try to stem the problem, and the burgeoning "narco corridos" scene of young musicians who sing the praises of the crime lords. Amazingly powerful stuff."

    I´ve seen this on swedish TV, one of their culture programs Kobra went to Mexico and interviewed some of the musicians doing narco corridos....that doc sounded very interesting.

    "How about your biggest disappointment?
    I loved the script for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman - and while it was always going to be a challenge, it was a apparently a challenge to great for first time feature director Fredrick Bond."
    This Bond guy, I think he is swedish commercial director from the beginning, Mr Aldrich....tabloids did an article about this film, pretty unusual for swedish filmmakers to get picked out by Sundance.
    The film got a bad review from Filmthreat among others.......too bad.
    Nice wrapup, thanks Twitch crew.

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