Ben Umstead
U.S. Editor; Los Angeles, California

Ben joined Team Twitch in the summer of 2009 when he moved to NYC. There he established an east coast conglomerate of writers for the site. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he works as a producer and script consultant.

Sundance 2016: Wrap It Up

Sundance is all wrapped up and we've links to all of our reviews and features below plus some wrap up style questions. Check it out below. As many of you know, the Sundance 2016 experience will be remembered by the... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: IF THERE'S A HELL BELOW Offers Prime Post-Snowden Intrigue

Nathan Williams' debut feature steps onto the independent film stage with the calm, steady aim of a confident marksman ready to make the shot. A meticulously crafted tale of government secrets and whistle blowers in a post Edward Snowden world,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Award Winners Announced

As Park City experiences its first substantial snowfall all week, The 2016 Sundance Film Festival comes to its penultimate day, capping off a morning and afternoon of movie watching with an awards ceremony for some of those very movies.Winners tonight... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Award Winners Announced

Tonight saw the 22nd Annual Slamdance Film Festival come to a close with filmmakers packing every inch of the Treasure Mountain Inn's ballroom for the awards ceremony. Top winners include my personal favorite from the festival, Driftwood, which won the... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: EXCURSIONS, The Best Worst Trip

Sometimes you just have to get away. Far, far away. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. And sometimes those trees seem to get to talking to you. Fuck.Filmmakers Daniel Martinico & Hugo Armstrong came to Slamdance in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: EMBERS, Fresh And Fascinating Sci-Fi

When we talk about ourselves we are building the conversation off a varied, often strange and impressionistic collection of moments stored over the culminating years of our lives. When we talk about ourselves, we talk about our memories. The time... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: DARK NIGHT, Scenes From The New American Apocalypse

Close your eyes. Picture the scenes:

You gotta keep your head down. She runs hers hands through your hair; it must feel like walking barefoot on freshly cut grass, it's so short. The burnt orange dye bleeds into your scalp. You... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

ArcLight Chicago Gets Set To Laugh With The Second City Series

Since 1959, the city of Chicago has seen some of the world's greatest comedic forces born and bred at The Second City sketch comedy improvisation workshop. Talent as varied as Joan Rivers to Dan Castellaneta have risen from their ranks,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Watch The Exclusive Trailer For Sci-fi Feature EMBERS

Finding deeply thoughtful and rich Sci-fi for the big and small screen always seems like an up hill battle. Even with more adult fare like Ex Machina finding audiences, this kind of work is once in a blue moon.Enter: Embers,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DRIFTWOOD, On The Strange Life Of Objects

Against the onslaught of the crashing surf we arise into a world of soft, foaming white. From a distance, we can make out an approaching figure. Soon we see it's a she, a young woman, soaked to the bone, shivering... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: CHRISTINE, A Report On The Art Of Self-Destruction

Performance>Perfection>Breakdown.

No. That's not right. Run the film again. What do we see: A woman in her late twenties, dark hair, big eyes, tall; walking down the halls of a TV station. Take the splicer to the footage. Chop it in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: OPERATION AVALANCHE, For The Love Of Cinema

There is a lure to the film camera that is almost primal. It draws you in, ever closer, a potent combo of machine and magic. Pressed against your ear, your cheek, the click-whir miracle of celluloid is god calling you... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: MAD Finds The Humor In Sadness

Robert G. Putka has built up a smart and sharp filmography of shorts over the last half decade, emphasizing rich, rude and raw performances, deriving his drama and comedy with character first. MAD, his feature debut, is as charming as... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: TwitchFilm's Top Picks

Tomorrow, the Slamdance Film Festival returns to the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah for its 22nd edition. Chock full of indie gumption and DIY brass from across the globe, the "For filmmakers by filmmakers" festival features a film... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: Meet The Filmmakers, Part 2

On Monday, we introduced you to a slew of first-time feature filmmakers from the 22nd Slamdance Film Festival, taking place in Park City, Utah at the Treasure Mountain Inn, January 22nd-28th,We continue today with a fresh batch of filmmaker Q&As... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: Meet The Filmmakers, Part 1

The reason I consider the Slamdance Film Festival a high priority on the fest circuit can be summed up in one word: Discovery.While most press mention fest alumni like Christopher Nolan, The Russo Brothers and Lena Dunham, I'd like to... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: YOSEMITE, Childhood Is Always Now

What is it about childhood that makes us adults so wary of who we once were? Perhaps it is that great fear of the unknown; a shadow, a whisper of adulthood, that as children scares us into submission of these... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

TwitchFilm's Top 10 Movies Of 2015

Here at TwitchFilm, we are pleased to feature contributions from dozens of people located all over the world, writing about the movies that intrigue, confound, anger, and delight them. While that makes us a distinctive site, it also makes it... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME Trailer: Richard Linklater Takes You To College

Everybody Wants Some, from Richard Linklater, is the 'spiritual sequel' to his 1993 cult classic Dazed And Confused. Where the earlier film was about high schoolers in the mid 1970s on the last day of class, this new one takes... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Team TwitchFilm On: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

(Yay, we've gathered the troops, yet managed to avoid spoilers!) A week ago Star Wars: The Force Awakens landed with a planetary surface-shattering impact, and it was an event too big to ignore for us here at TwitchFilm. Hell, most... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  
 
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