“Fresh and richly intelligent.” A new trailer has arrived online for an indie film titled As You Are, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival last year to positive reviews (here’s my review). I’m glad to see this is finally being released soon, it’s a great film. Owen Campbell stars as a teenager caught in a love triangle between his two friends – played by Charlie Heaton and Amandla Stenberg. The cast includes Mary Stuart Masterson, Scott Cohen and John Scurti. This is best to see without knowing too much going in, because the film reveals the truth as the story plays out. The trailer features the song “Appalachian Moon” written and performed by Kevin Reilly, included on the soundtrack. I recommend giving this a look. ›››
“There’s a generation of filmmakers who think we can create something new that the industry isn’t doing.”
Sundance has traditionally been known predominantly as a showcase of U.S.-based talent, but this year’s fest highlighted people from vibrant film communities across the world. What do they have in common? A passion to make films and build their industries from the ground up. The following excerpts highlight the exciting work being done in South Africa, Brazil, and Bulgaria to give you food for thought. Are we part of a global filmmaker movement towards independent film? See what you think.
The first Beach Rats trailer has arrived online, and while it doesn’t show much, it does give us a hint of the personality of the main character we’ll meet played by Harris Dickinson, who received plenty of praise for his performance in the film. Watch below.
Though Peter Sciretta, Angie Han, and I were all at the Sundance Film Festival this year, we somehow all managed to miss Beach Rats, so we don’t have our own thoughts on the film. But The Guardian wrote in their review:
Beach Rats is a captivating character study and one that feels vital. The idea that coming out in western culture has been made universally accepted with societal changes signaling wider beliefs is a myth, and journalling what is a common difficulty for many young men feels important. Hittman is keen to avoid a standard coming out story, though, and while the final act does lead to more obvious dramatic conflict, she ends on a stunning note of dreamy romance and possibility.”
Burgeoning sexuality is the basis for nearly all coming-of-age films, but with her specific eye, Eliza Hittman makes it feel like we’re watching this genre unfold for the first time. With only two features to her name, she’s captured the experience with a sensuality and intimacy nearly unprecedented in American independent filmmaking.
Beach Rats sounds like the kind of coming-of-age tale of sexual awakening that cinephiles will love.
Neon, the distribution company founded by RADiUS’ Tom Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, picked up Beach Rats from Sundance, and it’s expected to arrive sometime this fall, though no specific release date has been set yet. Here’s the official synopsis from Sundance.
Frankie, an aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. With his father dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences.
From the very snowy streets of Park City, to the freezing streets of Berlin. Kicking off this week is the 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale. This is my 4th year in a row covering the Berlin Film Festival, this time as a local resident of Berlin, but it’s still just as exciting. Taking place only two weeks after Sundance, this picks up where that left off and continues the enthusiasm and excitement for new cinema by offering a fine selection of European films. This year’s biggest world premiere is perhaps James Mangold’s Logan, at the very end of the festival, though there are plenty of other films showing over the next 10 days. I may not be recovered from Sundance yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to jump into another fest. ›››
Gael García Bernal and Anand Giridharadas explored how empathy affects their lives and work at Sundance.
The current political climate in America is an unavoidable discussion—and it should be, even at Sundance. Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it. And while the government continues to directly affect those who make art, the two are inseparable.
In fact, art history’s most fruitful eras were born of socio-political disruption. The decline of the Catholic Church and widespread trauma from the Black Plague gave rise to the Italian Renaissance. Some of America’s most iconic music was written while the country was at war in Vietnam. Through turbulence, artists will rise.
Though Sundance is not an explicitly political event, as Robert Redford mentioned at the opening press conference, the festival simply cannot ignore the stories filmmakers are telling. And many of those are political.
Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it.
Here are the best filmmaking tips we got from Sundance directors this year.
Park City has packed up the film festival party, so we’ve scoured our extensive coverage of Sundance 2017 to give you the best advice we picked up from fellow filmmakers. May this wisdom inspire you to go out and make some good films!
Director Justin Chon:
I’m a huge believer of being in the field and learning by doing, rather than learning out a textbook. I didn’t go to film school. The way I learned is just being on set and constantly asking questions of anyone who’s knowledgeable about anything and being curious. and getting feedback too.
Also, get feedback. Ask friends and tell them to be honest, because if it sucks, you need to know! That’s my advice.
DP Jendra Jarnagin often turns her time at Sundance into paid gigs. Here’s how.
The Sundance Film Festival has wrapped another year, and, if you weren’t in Park City this time around, you may be asking yourself: should I go next year? It’s a big investment, especially if you don’t have a film in the festival, but it is a great time to see friends and movies and go to cool parties.
Even more important is the opportunity to turn this swell time in the snowy Utah mountains into professional advantages and jobs. But how is this accomplished? No Film School turned to Jendra Jarnagin, a cinematographer who has been attending Sundance for over ten years, for advice that can apply to Sundance and almost any film festival that you might want to attend.
It’s like a movie: Sundance is made in prep.
The first few times Jarnagin attended the festival, the biggest jobs she shot in the subsequent years came as direct results of meeting people at Sundance. “I can pretty much point a lot of my career success back to Sundance and relationships I’ve made out here,” Jarnagin shares, “especially my LA connections.”
“Create conditions where more randomness and chaos can take over.”
When Rahul Jain set out to make a documentary inside a textile factory located in the Sachin region of his native India, he thought it was an environment he understood. However, what he remembered as a child in his grandfather’s Surat factory turned out to be very different from what he experienced filming inside one as a grown man.
Jain’s feature documentary Machines, which recently garnered theSundance Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography, operates with an intense rhythm and visual depth, creating an existential exploration of reality, class, and industrialization.
Jain sat down with No Film School at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to talk about his shooting strategies, working through moments of utter panic, and the multi-dimensional layers of reality.
“I was vomiting right before the scene because I was so nervous.”
No Film School: Your grandfather had a factory that you spent time in as a kid. How did you first come across the factory you shot in for this the film?
There was a secret festival favorite at Sundance 2017. That film was Columbus. This quiet drama is Korean director Kogonada’s first venture into the feature length realm. He is most known for his video essays on Vimeo, and damn did all of that study of film pay off. Kogonada’s Columbus covers a lot of ground in the most elegant gestures and proves Kogonada knows his craft inside and out. From the absolutely exquisite cinematography by Elisha Christian, to the subtle yet powerful performances from lead actors Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho: this quiet film finds its way right into your soul. ›››
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it’s time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to see a total of 36 films across 10 days, but I couldn’t catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of buzz (Novitiate, Where is Kyra?, Thoroughbred). I saw a total of 8 documentaries, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 7 favorite films (in honor of it being 2017). My #1 by a mile is Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, I love this film so much. It will likely end up on my Top 10 of the year, but many other films from this fest are worth seeing when they come your way. Let’s get into it. ›››