sundance-2013

Well, after a bus trip, a plane trip, and a shuttle trip, I’m happily freezing my extremities in Park City. I’ll be sending updates of what goes on and what movies I see all the week long. I probably won’t put up full reviews of any of the movies until after the festival, but in the meantime, I’ll post my brief thoughts on each film. Keep checking in with ScreenPicks for the news!

sundance

Lovely, cold cold cold Park City.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18th

Life According to Sam

A documentary about a teenage boy with progeria, an extremely rare disease that causes rapid aging and early death. The film follows his everyday life and the struggles of his doctor parents to complete a clinical trial for the first drug designed to fight the disease. The theater was full of sniffles, including a few from myself, most of which are well-earned. It’s an inspirational little film about not allowing illness to dictate one’s life.

sundance

Festival HQ. Best place to chill between screenings. I’m writing from there right now.

sundance press

The holding pen for people waiting in line for press and industry screenings. The tent is heated, thankfully.

After Tiller

George Tiller was murdered in 2009 by an anti-abortion terrorist. He was one of the very few doctors in the country who would perform abortions in the third trimester of pregnancy. This doc follows the four doctors left in America who will do the procedure. Every day, they must steel themselves to help women in terrible grief, while also enduring harassment from protestors. Inspiring and devastating in equal measure, it’s the best movie about abortion since Lake of Fire.

holiday sundance

The Holiday Village theater, where most of the press and industry screenings are held. My main venue for the first part of the fest.

I also went to the New Frontier exhibit on Friday. Pictures of the art on display are scattered throughout this article.

sundance nf

New Frontier art installation: “What’s He Building in There?,” a projection on the side of a building, depicting a strange story going on on the other side of the walls.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19th

Now we’re getting into the full swing of things! I was unable to get into a combined public and press screening of Don Jon’s Addiction, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, but I’ll be able to see it later in the week.

nf sundance

New Frontier art installation: “Pulse Index.” Visitors stick their thumb into a scanner, and their fingerprints and pulses are displayed on the wall.

Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes

A troubled teen (Kaya Scodelario) enters a strange world when she volunteers to babysit her new neighbor’s (Jessica Biel) baby. A bit overdone in parts, but mostly a great exploration of grief. Biel gives what is easily her best performance ever. Scodelario proves that, between this and the 2011 Wuthering Heights, she’s a young actress to watch. Very emotional in an non-affected way.

nf sundance

New Frontier art installation: “Eyjafjallajokull,” a 3D illusion projected on the walls that recreates the 2010 eruption of the eponymous Icelandic volcano.

Google and the World Brain

Google has scanned millions of books for it’s Google Books project, and has done so without really considering any of the legal or ethical implications. The Internet giant seems to mean well, but this documentary raises numerous alarms about the danger of letting one company essentially gain control of all the world’s knowledge. Well-made and alarming in a number of ways.

sundance nf

New Frontier art installation: “E.m-bed.de/d.” If you get on the Internet, rapper Yung Jake interrupts and takes over your browsing session.

Stories We Tell

Far and away my favorite of the festival so far. Sarah Polley brings in her whole family to talk about her mother, and the affair that her mother had which led to her birth. Equally heartfelt, funny, and sad, this movie is a wonderful look at family and the nature of memory. It’s also stylistically brilliant, as Polley uses certain techniques to turn some of our ideas about nonfiction storytelling on their heads. In telling her story, she makes us think about how we tell our own.