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February 7, 2019

We Heart SX: Capital One at SXSW: Intersecting Ideas and Experiences

Jana Etheridge, Chief of Staff, Capital One

Jana Etheridge, Chief of Staff for Capital One’s Financial Services Division, provides insight into the value of collaborating with SXSW and their goals for this year’s festival.

How is your brand directly relevant to the SXSW Conference and Festivals (Interactive, Film, and Music)? If not directly relevant, what do you view your contribution to be?

This is our fifth year as a Super Sponsor at SXSW! SXSW has always been a great place to learn and connect —  brands to people, people to people and, most of all, people to fresh experiences and ideas. At its core, SXSW remains a hub for innovation across industries. It gives folks a peek into innovations that will shape the future, and that’s why Capital One keeps coming back.

SXSW has enabled us to showcase our product innovation and customer-centricity in an incredible way while connecting us with diverse perspectives and an amazing talent pool. I am so excited to share what we have in store for attendees this year at the Capital One House!

When approaching SXSW, what conference track or festival are you targeting as your main focus and why?

The SXSW Interactive Festival continues to explore the intersection between humans and technology. We love that because Capital One isn’t your traditional bank. Our world is rapidly changing, and so are customer expectations. We’re laser-focused on creating solutions that are real time, intelligent and integrated into our customers’ lives. We not only want to meet our customers’ needs but anticipate them. Understanding how humans and technology converge allows us to do that.

How do you as a company hope to connect with SXSW registrants and attendees?

For the fourth year in a row, we’re transforming Antone’s Nightclub into the Capital One House from March 8 – 11. Antone’s is originally known for showcasing artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Ray Charles and Clifton Chenier, and it helped Austin claim its title as the “Live Music Capital of the World” (how cool is that?)

During the day, we’re hosting a variety of talks, ranging from transhumanism and data privacy, to how a paraplegic climbed Kilimanjaro and maximizing your career potential. Plus we’re amping up our activations in creative ways. Overall, we want to spark discussion and allow attendees to exchange ideas.

At night, folks will hear from incredible (to be announced) musicians, including local Austinites!
Beyond checking out the Capital One House while at SXSW, we’re hiring designers, product managers, engineers, and more! If you’re interested in learning more about the Capital One House and what’s in store, click here

What values or messages does your company wish to promote that brought you to a cohesive partnership with SXSW?

Capital One is still a founder-led company, and it wasn’t long ago that we were a startup. We still carry that startup mentality with us. We’re harnessing the power of technology to build effortless experiences that support the way people interact with money so they can live their very best lives. And, we’re not afraid to seek out new experiences and try bold things. SXSW brings together people from all walks of life — techies, musicians, filmmakers, culture leaders and more — to do just that. We’re honored to take part in such a diverse, inspiring and thought-provoking event.

Sponsored Content and Photo of Jana Etheridge Provided by Capital One

The post We Heart SX: Capital One at SXSW: Intersecting Ideas and Experiences appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 7, 2019

Discovery Stage Highlights: VR, Crytptocurrency, and the Feminine Revolution

Discovery Stage

With the SXSW Trade Show quickly approaching, we’re eager to announce the first wave of Discovery Stage programming highlights for 2019!

The Discovery Stage Presented by CommonGenius takes place within the Trade Show in the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2, featuring daily curated content and unique sessions from a wide range of disciplines. A convergence of everything SXSW from Interactive to Film, Music, VR, and more, the Discovery Stage has something for everyone — no matter what you’re in town for. Check out the highlights below for a preview of our Discovery Stage sessions.


Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Ask Me Anything

Speakers: Stephanie Hurder (Prysm Group) | Stephen Wolfram (Wolfram Research Inc.)

Join this Ask Me Anything format with leaders in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. You’ll have a chance to ask Stephanie Hurder and Stephen Wolfram questions related to anything from the economic model of cryptocurrencies to the future of intelligent blockchain applications. Stephanie Hurder will answer questions for the first 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes with Stephen Wolfram.

Session Info


The Feminine Revolution: Ignite Your Power

Speakers: Catherine Connors (Women Rising) | Amy Stanton (Stanton & Co.)

A provocative discussion that will confront twenty-one feminine qualities that are perceived as weak and reframe them as powerful tools that are the basis for lasting relationships, creativity, leadership and authenticity. Using their own personal journeys alongside historical research and analysis, the authors challenge societal misconceptions and make the case for a fresh look and a new approach to femininity, arguing why these traits are to be embraced rather than maligned. Attendees will be inspired to think differently and will leave with practical tools to tap into their power, their femininity, sensitivity, intuition, and even their tendency to cry.

Session Info


So, You Want To Be A God? Building Virtual Worlds

Speakers: Wesley Allsbrook | Leah Hoyer | Ben Kalina | Chris Prynoski

Let’s face it, you want to be a god… right? Well, what’s stopping you?

You could just sit around and think about it while the other gods get the jump on you – OR you can get to it and create your very own world! How does one build a “world” though? Come to this panel to find out the many ways artists, writers and all sorts of creatives use VR to construct their own realms as we enter this new era of virtual deities!

Session Info


Keep an eye out for more Discovery Stage programming updates in the coming weeks! To stay in the SX know, sign up for SXSW Event Updates and follow us in all the usual social spots for daily updates – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Photo by Stephen Olker

The post Discovery Stage Highlights: VR, Crytptocurrency, and the Feminine Revolution appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 7, 2019

Janice Engel Wants You To Raise Hell With Her Documentary About Molly Ivins – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival is almost upon us and we can’t wait to have you here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX, get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Dive into our Q&A with director Janice Engel, as she tells us about her film Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, which will screen in Festival Favorites.

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Janice Engel: Being able to share Molly Ivins with her “beloveds” but even more important, introducing her to a hungry public who needs her humor, brilliance and prescience. Molly Ivins challenges all of us to take personal responsibility for political and social issues that impact our lives. The film is a lightening rod to get involved in grass roots projects, local and national politics, and voter registration. If we want change, it starts with us.

What motivated you to tell this story?

JA: Six-plus years ago, my soon-to-be producing partner James Egan told me to go see this one woman play Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins starring Kathleen Turner. So I did, the last week it was running in LA. I was knocked out by who Molly Ivins was, how she spoke and who she so brilliantly skewered. Both James and I could not believe there had never been anything done on Molly Ivins, so we jumped in full throttle and here we are 6 plus years later.

As I dug into Molly’s life — practically living in her archives at the Briscoe Center for American Studies at the University of Texas — her friends, family, and colleagues took me in and shared incredible stories and nuggets of this larger-than-life, warm-hearted, fantastically funny and brilliant woman who was an equal opportunity satirist and a serious political wonk who was absolutely prescient.

I also discovered on a much more personal level that both Molly and I shared a similar trajectory: a deep distrust of patriarchal authority and a need to stand up for the underdog. Her politics are my politics and as her pal Kaye Northcott so aptly says, “Molly hated anyone who would basically kick a cripple.” Me too! Her rallying cry to “Raise Hell, that… this is our deal, this is our country… that those people up in your state capitols, up in Washington, they’re just the people we’ve hired to drive the bus for awhile,” resonates deeply. She said, “If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch, that’s in article 27…” Ya think! That alone cemented our kinship and my overwhelming passion to share her story.

What do you want the audience to take away?

JA: How important it is to VOTE! To learn and take their civic responsibility with pride and action. It is up to us to do “the heavy lifting”, as her good friend Jim Hightower says. And, how important Molly Ivins was, and is to our democracy, our sense of finding a way to agree to disagree and get back to unpolarizing our country. Democracy demands this and depends upon this. Molly knew that!

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

JA: I was literally about to walk into the Production Hub class that I teach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Talk about being blown away and not being able to share it right at that moment. However, I did forward an email to my prod partners and editor where I wrote “Holy Shit!” Apparently, I did not forward it but hit “reply all.” The SXSW Director of Film, Janet Pierson’s response, “hahaha – now that’s the kind of response I love!”

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

JA: Where else should Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins be shown but her stomping grounds at SXSW in Austin, Texas!!

Add Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2019 filmmakers!

Join Us For SXSW 2019

Register and book your hotel now to save! The Film Badge gets you primary access to all SXSW Film events including Film Keynotes and Featured Sessions, world premieres, round tables, workshops, parties, and more. Over the course of nine days, the SXSW Film Festival hosts over 450 screenings! Film registrants also have primary access to Convergence events, including the Comedy Festival and nine unique Conference tracks, as well as secondary access to most Interactive and Music events.

Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins – Photo by Robert Beddell

The post Janice Engel Wants You To Raise Hell With Her Documentary About Molly Ivins – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 7, 2019

Plan Your 2019 SXSW Adventure

2017 SXSW VR Experience – Photo by Merrick Ales

Speakers and films and showcases – oh my! Search through all 2019 SXSW Conference & Festivals programming on the online SXSW Schedule and customize your very own SXSW adventure.

Dive into some tips for navigating the SXSW Schedule below including information on logging in, filtering events, bookmarking your favorites, and getting personal recommendations.

Browse SXSW Programming

To begin, create an account or log in with your SXSW account username and password to start building your personal schedule for the 2019 event. Browse by major event categories listed on the homepage of the SXSW Schedule. Filter by day, venue, event, format, popular event tags or use the search bar.

Browse the SXSWeek® Timeline overview for a quick look at the programming by day and stay tuned to SXSW News for announcements throughout the season.

View SXSW Schedule

Build Your Custom SX Schedule

Add events to your schedule by clicking on the star next to each event’s name. An event that has already been added to your schedule will be denoted by a green star. Additionally, you can view all events in your schedule by clicking the My Favorites located on the Schedule homepage or in the dropdown menu under your avatar (upper right-hand corner).

The SXSW Schedule will be continuously updated as more events are confirmed and specific information becomes available. Add events of interest to your schedule now and as the details become available, your personal schedule will be automatically updated.

Download the SXSW GO mobile app for iOS and Android to sync your online schedule with your mobile device, so your info will always be up-to-date. Plus, get schedule recommendations based on favorited events, networking contacts, and more.

Create Your Schedule

SXSW Recommends

To help enhance your SXSW experience, we’re delivering personalized event recommendations via the online Schedule and SXSW GO app. These recommendations are based on a variety of factors, including events you favorite, time, location, and popularity. If you would like daily recommendations emailed to you during the event, please subscribe here.

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Join Us for SXSW 2019

Register now to experience 10 days of programming to fuel your own creativity and career aspirations this March 8-17 in Austin, TX! Book your hotel early to get the best available housing rates and selections.

All attendees receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, in addition to enjoying secondary access to most other SXSW events. Take the Badge Quiz to discover which badge fits your needs, and what date you should plan to arrive in Austin, TX come March.

Stay tuned to SXSW News and sign up for Event Updates to keep up with the latest SXSW happenings.

Register Now

Photo by Merrick Ales

The post Plan Your 2019 SXSW Adventure appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 4, 2019

StoryCorps Mobile Tour: A Look Back On 2018

StoryCorps 2018 Mobile Tour Poster by The Heads of State. You can purchase the full poster on the StoryCorps store website.

As we embark on our much anticipated 2019 Mobile Tour, we’d like to take a moment to look back at 2018, celebrate some the voices we recorded, and thank those that made it such a success.

We began 2018 in Austin, TX and closed it out in Jacksonville, FL, in between covering almost 5000 miles and collecting over 1200 recordings. Along the way we partnered with 10 stellar public radio stations and over 100 local community organizations, who helped connect us to the people they serve and ensured that we recorded a diverse and well-rounded portrait of each city. In the booth we met incredible people who welcomed us into their lives and shared some of their most dearly held stories. We laughed with people and cried with them. We asked lots of questions, but most importantly, we listened, always mindful of the tremendous gift we were being given. As we look back and reflect on our year, we’d love to share some of what we heard and send a huge thank you to everyone we met along the way.

Austin, TX | January 5 – February 2

Station Partner: KUT

Site Partner: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Austin, TX_KUT_Bullock Museum (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Austin, TX_KUT_Bullock Museum (2)

Photos: Booth Site at the Bullock; Opening Day speech by Mobile Tour Site Manager Morgan Feigal-Stickles.

To listen to some of the stories collected during the Austin stop, check out the amazing work being produced by KUT.


Oklahoma City, OK | February 8 – March 9

Station Partner: KOSU

Site Partner: Pop Up Park

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Oklahoma City_KOSU_21c Museum and Hotel

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Oklahoma City_KOSU_PopUp Park (1)

Photos: Attendees at our Listening Event at the 21c Museum and Hotel. Booth site at Pop Up Park.

Hear some Oklahoma City stories, produced by KOSU.


Portales, NM | March 15 – April 13

Station Partner: KENW

Site Partner: Eastern New Mexico University

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Portales, NM_KENW_ENMU (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Portales, NM_KENW_ENMU (2)

Photos: booth site on the ENMU campus; opening day ribbon cutting with Site Manager Morgan Feigal-Stickles, some Roosevelt County Chamber Ambassadors, and KENW sta

Listen to a Portales piece cut by StoryCorps Mobile Facilitator Madison Mullen.



Fort Collins, CO | April 19 – May 18

Station Partner: KUNC

Site Partner: New Belgium Brewery

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Fort Collins_KUNC_New Belgium

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Fort Collins_KUNC_New Belgium (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Fort Collins_KUNC_New Belgium (3)

Photos: Booth site at New Belgium; Listening Event sign; group shot of StoryCorps participants who attended the Listening Event and SC Mobile facilitators Melissa Velasquez, Madison Mullen, and Site Manager Jacqueline Van Meter.

Jacqueline Van Meter joined the Mobile team in Fort Collins and began the practice of creating a montage of voices culled from the collected recording at each location. This cool project allowed us to highlight and share even more stories and voices. Please check out her “Voices Of” series for each stop.

Listen to the Voices of Northern Colorado below — special shout-out to Ryan Thompson for this one!


Listen to the StoryCorps clips produced by Ryan at KUNC here.


Jackson, WY | May 24 – June 22

Station Partner: Wyoming Public Media

Site Partner: Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum

StoryCorps

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Jackson, WY_Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Jackson, WY_Wyoming Public Media_St. John's Living Center (3)

Photos: Site Manager Jacqueline Van Meter and Kem Beaty, who transports our booth from stop to stop, in front of the Grand Tetons; StoryCorps’ Director of Interview Collection, Darwensi Clark at the Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum; Facilitator Melissa Velasquez preparing participants during a field recording at St. John’s Living Center.

Listen below to the Voices of Jackson Hole, co-produced by Jacqueline Van Meter and StoryCorps Facilitator Madison Mullen.


Listen here to stories produced by WPM from the recordings collected during our stop.


Bismarck, ND | June 28 – July 27

Station Partner: Prairie Public

Site Partner: North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Bismarck, ND_Prairie Public_North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Bismarck, ND_Prairie Public_North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Bismarck, ND_Prairie Public_Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Photos: Group photo at our Listening Event; Fireworks over the state capitol building; participants at our Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch field recording.

Listen below to the Voices of North Dakota.


Listen here to StoryCorps North Dakota, produced by Prairie Public.


Kansas City, MO | August 2 – September 2

Station Partner: KCUR

Site Partner: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Kansas City_KCUR_Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Kansas City_KCUR_Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Kansas City_KCUR_Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (3)

Photos: MobileBooth at the Nelson-Atkins Museum; Jacqueline and KCUR producer, Matthew Long-Middleton, at the KC Listening Event; Mobile team members Savannah Winchester, Melissa Velasquez, Fernanda Espinosa, and Jacqueline Van Meter.

Listen below to the voices of Kansas City.


Listen to KCUR produced StoryCorps clips here!


Charleston, WV | September 9 – October 7

Station Partner: West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Site Partner: The Clay Center

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Charleston, WV_WVPB_Clay Center (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Charleston, WV_WVPB_Clay Center (3)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Charleston, WV_WVPB_Clay Center (2)

Photos: MobileBooth at the Clay Center; Listening Event attendees; Jacqueline Van Meter, Melissa Velasquez, and Madison Mullen on stage at the Listening Event.

Listen below to the voices of West Virginia.


Listen to stories from our Charleston stop produced by WVPB.


Athens, GA | October 14 – November 11

Station Partner: WUGA

Site Partner: The Athens-Clarke County Library

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Athens, GA_WUGA_Athens-Clarke County Library (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Athens, GA_WUGA_Athens-Clarke County Library (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Athens, GA_WUGA_Athens-Clarke County Library (3)

Photos: Halloween at the booth; StoryCorps facilitators Nalani Saito and Melissa Velasquez with Site Manager Jacqueline Van Meter at the Athen Listening event; Group selfie with participants after the Listening Event.

Listen below to the voices of Athens.


Listen the incredible stories being produced by WUGA here!


Jacksonville, FL | November 18 – December 21

Station Partner: WJCT

Site Partner: Memorial Park

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Jacksonville, FL_WJCT_Memorial Park (1)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Jacksonville, FL_WJCT_Memorial Park (2)

StoryCorps Mobile Tour_ Jacksonville, FL_WJCT_Memorial Park (3)

Photos- MobileBooth in Memorial Park; Attendees at the WJCT/StoryCorps Listening Event; Mobile road team Melissa Velasquez, Eleanor Vassili, and Jacqueline Van Meter.

Listen below to the voices of Jacksonville.


Listen to an exciting new podcast series developed by WJCT using StoryCorps recorded conversations here!

Major support for the StoryCorps Mobile Tour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Source: SNPR Story Corps

February 3, 2019

‘Us’ Trailer: Jordan Peele Debuts a New Preview Ahead of the Super Bowl

It wouldn’t be Super Bowl Sunday without new movie trailers, and Jordan Peele is so considerate that he released his before the game even starts. “Us,” his much-anticipated follow-up to “Get Out,” has a new preview ahead of its premiere at South by Southwest next month. Watch it below.

Here’s the synopsis, which is lengthy enough to potentially reveal more than you’d like to know: “Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, ‘Us,’ from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (‘Black Panther’s Winston Duke), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway.

“Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. ‘Us’ pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.”

“Get Out” was a massive success two years ago, earning $255 million worldwide against a budget of just $4.5 million and earning Peele the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay; it was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya). After its SXSW debut, “Us” will arrive in theaters courtesy of Universal Pictures on March 22.

Source: IndieWire film

February 3, 2019

‘Arctic’ Braves Super Bowl Freeze as ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ Scores in First Full Weekend

The specialty film market could use a shot in the arm from some of the hot titles from the Sundance Film Festival. As usual, Oscar contenders are driving current releases. Specialty and studio totals from a range of theaters beyond the arthouse core are only a little above $10 million this weekend. That is basement low even for the always-depressed Super Bowl weekend.

Cannes title “Arctic” (Bleecker Street) braved Super Bowl weekend to have a respectable opening in two cities, and will certainly get maximum interest from top theaters in upcoming weeks as a fresh title with potential. But it needs company, and soon.

Opening

Arctic (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Cannes 2018

$56,463 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $14,113

Mads Mikkelsen as a hardy plane crash survivor near the North Pole puts himself at risk to save another crash victim in this Bleecker Street release, which opened at four prime New York/Los Angeles locations this weekend. It is one of the few potential higher-end specialized releases so far this year. Even with upbeat reviews, most films are facing a Super Bowl Sunday response far below normal, reducing its total. This could have more than just typical specialized play ahead.

What comes next: Expands in its initial cities and opens in several others this Friday.

“The Wild Pear Tree”

The Wild Pear Tree (Cinema Guild) – Metacritic: 85; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto, New York 2018

$5,192 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,192; Cumulative: $6,374

Turkish master director Nuri Bilge Ceylan typically gets a domestic release. This three-hour-plus drama, which was in competition in Cannes, opened at New York’s Film Forum to modest results.

What comes next: This opens in Los Angeles this Friday, with most major cities to have limited showings over the next few months.

Piercing (Greenwich) – Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: Sundance, AFI 2018; also streaming

$8,500 in 18 theaters; PTA: $472

A year after its Sundance debut, this attempted murder story with a deranged would-be killer debuted via streaming as well as a handful of theaters nationwide. It got some reviews, but little business.

What comes next:  Home viewing nearly entirely.

Week Two

The Invisibles (Greenwich)

$35,915 in 14 theaters (+10); PTA: $2,565; Cumulative: $71,556

This story of a group of young Jewish friends surviving in World War II Berlin expanded to top cities this weekend with some degree of interest. Expect this to expand further ahead.

“Never Look Away”

Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics)

$19,013 in 1 theater (no change); PTA: $19,013; Cumulative: $58,146

The second weekend at New York’s Paris Theater of the German post-war Oscar Foreign Language contender appears to be continuing its initial positive response. Los Angeles comes on board next this Friday.

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Green Book (Universal) Week 12

$4,329,000 in 2,648 theaters (+218); Cumulative: $55,820,000

Down only 21 percent, staying in sixth place overall, Universal’s successful theatrical positioning of Peter Farrelly’s film should boost it to win some top Oscars.

Warner Brothers

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.) Week 4

$2,405,000 in 735 theaters (+735); Cumulative: $10,745,000

Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary shall not be denied, as it returns with its first full-week showings after three earlier single day presentations. Even on only 735 screens it managed to dent the Top Ten.

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 11

$1,500,000 in 1,554 theaters (+14); Cumulative: $28,598,000

Now showing at its widest point, Yorgos Lanthimos’ different kind of regal history is adding to its gross. Though helped by its lead-tying nomination total, its gross is a third and its PTA about half of the similarly positioned “The Shape of Water” this weekend last year.

Free Solo (Greenwich) Week 19

$1,387,000 in 483 theaters (+382); Cumulative: $14,987,000

A return to IMAX screens has pushed this National Geographic documentary to the top gross among the Oscar Documentary Feature contenders.

“On the Basis of Sex”

On the Basis of Sex (Focus) Week 6

$1,020,000 in 917 theaters (-355); Cumulative: $22,836,000

With no awards presence, this late-year Ruth Bader Ginsberg biopic has outgrossed several of the more highly-touted Oscar contenders.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly (FUNimation) Week 3

$(est.) 900,000 in 633 theaters (-75); Cumulative: $(est.) 30,000,000

The initially limited special event showings for this Japanese animation series entry continues as a regular engagement, now at an unexpected and surprising $30 million mark.

Stan and Ollie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$873,186 in 754 theaters (+29); Cumulative: $3,591,000

This year-end Laurel and Hardy biopic is getting an elevated national presence. With that comes placement higher among gross totals, with a PTA a little over $1,000 similar to those of multiple longer playing Oscar contending films that have had wider exposure.

Cold War (Amazon) Week 7

$564,336 in 217 theaters (+106); Cumulative: $2,183,000

The impressive performance for this Polish black-and-white romantic drama continues as it doubles its theaters. It has two advantages over “Roma” — access to more prime theaters and no alternative home viewings. No matter its ultimate awards outcome it could reach an impressive $4 million or more.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) Week 8

$462,288 in 454 theaters (-152); Cumulative: $13,235,000

Barry Jenkins’ film continues even with a lesser Oscar presence than some other films. It has reached more than a typical specialized audience, but looks like it will come in about half of the director’s Oscar winning “Moonlight.”

Destroyer (Annapurna) Week 6

$234,391 in 235 theaters (+158); Cumulative: $1,212,000

The lack of major awards attention for Nicole Kidman’s bravura performance in this crime drama and the presence of so many other competing films seems to have kept this film from gaining the traction it deserves.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 16; also streaming

$(est.) 190,000 in 201 theaters (-34); Cumulative: $(est.) 8,350,000

Melissa McCarthy’s Oscar nod is keeping her film in theaters long after its prime dates.

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 25; also streaming

$162,997 in 202 theaters (+97); Cumulative: $8,938,000

Nearing its half-year mark in theaters, and just now entering home availability, Glenn Close’s Oscar chances have been greatly enhanced by its successful ongoing presence even if her film’s gross is below most of her competitors.

Shoplifters, KORE-EDA Hirokazu. Cannes

“Shoplifters”

Shoplifters (Magnolia) Week 11

$(est.) 160,000 in 110 theaters (-34); Cumulative: $(est.) 2,780,000

Kore-Eda’s most recent film, continuing a string of consecutive domestic releases, has easily become his most successful with a total eventually reaching $4 million – high end for subtitled films – remaining possible.

Roma (Netflix) Week 11; also streaming

$(est.) 150,000 in 105 theaters (+25); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,265,000

Netflix’s ads this week emphasize its long and significant theatrical presence parallel to its streaming. The number of runs increased this weekend despite the continued shunning by the vast majority of theaters.

Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8

$132,371 in 47 theaters (+27); Cumulative: $538,475

The Lebanese Oscar Foreign Language contender as it slowly expands is doing above average business for subtitled films, at this point in the range of SPC’s recent winners “Son of Saul” and “A Fantastic Woman.” It is early in its run, and it remains if it can reach the elevated pace of its three earlier opening rivals.

Mary Queen of Scots (Focus) Week  9

$(est.) 100,000 in 127 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $(est.) 16,568,000

This thrived during the holidays, but with no awards presence is now wrapping up its run.

Also noted:

Ben Is Back (Roadside Attractions) – $22,800 in 44 theaters; Cumulative: $3,669,000

Who Will Tell Our History? (Abramorama) – $18,150 in 5 theaters; Cumulative: $70,058

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Source: IndieWire film

February 3, 2019

Amazon Acquires Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘One Child Nation’ — Sundance

Amazon Studios has acquired yet another high-profile Sundance title, with Variety reporting that the company closed out the festival by purchasing global rights to “One Child Nation.” Nanfu Wang’s follow-up to her “Hooligan Sparrow” won the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary competition, earning acclaim for its depiction of a Middle Kingdom policy that remains controversial four years after it came to an end.

The deal is reportedly “in the high-six figures,” which is significantly less than Amazon spent on other offerings in Park City.

“The Report,” a political drama about the CIA’s post-9/11 torture practices starring Adam Driver and Jon Hamm, went for $14 million, the same price tag attached to Paul Downs Colaizzo’s comedy “Brittany Runs a Marathon.” The first high-profile deal at Sundance was also courtesy of Amazon, as the studio shelled out $13 million for the Emma Thompson/Mindy Kaling vehicle “Late Night.” Less expensive but still quite notable was “Honey Boy,” in which Lucas Hedges stars as Shia LaBeouf and LaBeouf himself plays his father (you read that right), which sold for $5 million. All said and done, Amazon spent approximately $47 million on its five acquisitions.

“Using a remarkable personal lens,” writes IndieWire’s Eric Kohn in his “One Child Nation” review, “the film examines the reverberations of propaganda on broken families across multiple generations. The cumulative effect creates the sense that its destructive effects continue to be felt well beyond China’s borders.”

“One Child Nation” is a Next Generation, Motto Pictures and Pumpernickel Films Production, and Co-Producers include ITVS and WDR/ARTE. It was associate produced by Chicago Media Project and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Amazon has yet to set a release date for the film, but it’s likely to come out this year.

Source: IndieWire film

February 3, 2019

‘The Sound of Silence’ Review: Peter Sarsgaard Excels in a Sonic Drama That’s All Signal, No Noise — Sundance

If you listen closely enough, even silence sounds like something. Most of us can’t hear it, but most of us aren’t house tuners. Peter Lucian (Peter Sarsgaard) is, though, and he uses his particular set of skills to rid people of their ailments — depression, fatigue, what have you — by mapping out the soundscapes of their homes and reharmonizing them with micro-changes to their sonic ecosystems. As out-there as that may sound, the hero of Michael Tyburski’s debut feature isn’t a charlatan — much like “The Sound of Silence” itself, he’s a unique figure who deserves to be listened to as closely as possible.

We’ve entered an era of sensory deprivation at the movies, with “A Quiet Place” and “Bird Box” presenting it as something terrifying: make a noise or open your eyes, these films warn, and they will get you. Tyburski takes a more cerebral approach, offering up a man who’s so attuned to the constant background hum of daily life that he knows how to focus on the signal and ignore the noise. Watching Peter work — putting on headphones, tinkering with tuning forks, recording everything he does — is more compelling than it has any right to be.

All of his clients are skeptical of his methods, but all of them end up being satisfied — until he meets Ellen (Rashida Jones), whose chronic exhaustion is seeping into every aspect of her life. After closely examining her apartment, laying in her bed, and determining which note her appliances strike, Peter offers a simple solution: buy a new toaster. The nearly imperceptible sound it emits interferes with her living space’s natural room tone and is the apparent source of her ongoing sleep issues.

“The Sound of Silence” wouldn’t have much drama if this consultation proved as effective as those that came before it, of course, and Tyburski charts the ensuing anxiety with a subtlety befitting his protagonist. This film is quiet in more ways than one, drawing viewers in but compelling them to hang on every word. That’s largely due to Sarsgaard, whose performance is akin to his turn as Stanley Milgram in Michael Almereyda’s “Experimenter.” He fully inhabits his oddball character, making him not only believable but convincing in the way he carries out his strange duties.

Peter is like a wellness guru you’d see on Instagram, only his #brand is too subtle and soft-spoken to be an influencer and his technique is too sophisticated to fit into 280 characters. Recently written about in the New Yorker, he now has the chance to monetize his gifts in new ways — but resists. “This is about universal constants,” he says, “not commerce.” Peter’s priorities are understanding the sonic elements of everyday life and helping his clients (in that order), with allowing corporations to co-opt his findings ranking somewhere near volunteering for a root canal.

A classical music devotee, he’s impressed by Stravinsky’s dissonance and Beethoven’s use of suspense — as well as the fact that all of these masters were manipulating neurological responses that science had yet to define. His expertise is as niche as they come, but Sarsgaard is so quietly expressive that you can’t help wanting to hear more. He’s the eccentric professor you remember years after completing your degree, not just because he’s brilliant but because his connection to his material makes it difficult for him to connect to others.

That said, Tyburski never goes “A Beautiful Mind” on us. Peter’s life is appropriately harmonious for a good long while, and it isn’t until he struggles to solve Ellen’s ongoing problems that his own life grows dissonant — a gradual change expressed, fittingly enough, via a high-pitched hum in the latter half of the film. Tyburski and co-writer/producer Ben Nabors brought a shorter version of the story called “Palimpsest” to Sundance six years ago, and managed to avoid most of the pitfalls associated with shorts extended into features: “The Sound of Silence” never feels like 20 minutes of narrative stretched across an 85-minute runtime, even if it proves more effective as a character study than it does as a drama.

Even the best records start skipping after a while, and once “The Sound of Silence” gives in to the demands of conventional narrative it begins feeling less fresh and new than it did when it was simply introducing us to Peter and his work. It’s an auspicious debut for Tyburski nevertheless, and may leave you wishing you could hire a house tuner of your own.

Grade: B+

“The Sound of Silence” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution.

Source: IndieWire film

February 3, 2019

Sundance 2019: The 13 Best Movies of This Year’s Festival

As this year’s Sundance Film Festival comes to a close, a familiar question has come up: What happens now? In a record-breaking year for both diversity and deals at the festival, Sundance didn’t lack for plenty of exciting new works from veterans and newcomers alike, and across every section. Now comes the hard part, as many of these movies will trickle into the marketplace in the months to come, without the context of a film festival to celebrate them. One can only hope that future audiences remember where the buzz started.

Here are the highlights from this year’s lineup.

“American Factory”

american factory

“American Factory”

“The Office” meets “The World is Flat” in Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert’s probing look at the efforts of Chinese billionaire Cao Dewang to run a glass factory in an old GM plant in Dayton, Ohio. The chairman may have good intentions, but there’s no way in hell that he’s going to let his workers unionize, and therein lies the rub: Shot over the course of several years and capturing every layer of the factory’s complex ecosystem, “American Factory” blossoms into a fascinating microcosmic look at the incompatibility of U.S. and American industries. Small details are littered throughout, with a blend of cringe-comedy and anthropological precision: Chinese work ethic deems the Americans lazy; American labor history deems China unsympathetic, and the rampant propaganda downright intrusive. “American Factory” doesn’t chart a path to solving this dilemma, but it leaves you with the impression that the tensions won’t be going away anytime soon. —EK

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”

The latest film in a proud tradition of Bay Area gentrification narratives that includes Barry Jenkins’ “Medicine for Melancholy” and last year’s “Blindspotting,” Joe Talbot’s funny, heartfelt, and achingly bittersweet debut feature tells the story of someone who can’t bear to leave his hometown behind (it also won him a directing award at the Sundance ceremony). Jimmie H. Fails IV (a character named for the first-time actor who plays and inspired him) just wants to move back into the old Victorian mansion that his grandfather built, but the housing crisis has raised the place out of his price range. Maybe, with the help of his artsy best friend (a phenomenal Jonathan Majors), Jimmie might find a way to make things right. Then again, maybe he’s about to subvert a rich history of stories about people who scratch and claw to win back where they came from.

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”

Shot in a woozy, unreal, and dryly comedic style that splits the difference between Spike Jonze and Spike Lee, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” slows the world down just enough for you to feel it changing. Both a spiteful love letter and a hilarious surrender, Talbot’s debut is as much a requiem for the things we lose as it is a pointed reminder that nothing is really ours to keep. This is a special film for how bravely it steels its characters for a future where most of us can only belong to each other. It’s a film that’s as sad for its city as it is for all of the people who can no longer afford to live there. — DE

“Blinded By the Light”

Seventeen years after her exuberant cross-cultural coming-of-age movie “Bend It Like Beckham,” which broke out high-kicking tomboy Keira Knightley, UK filmmaker Gurinder Chadha has finally made an even better movie. The DNA is there: the brainy teenage scion (breakout Veveik Kaira) of poor Paki immigrants mired in 1987 Thatcher-era recession wants more—including writing for the high school newspaper and a faraway college—and finds a way to express his identity via the working-class ethos of Bruce Springsteen.

Viveik Kalra, Nell Williams and Aaron Phagura appear in Blinded by the Light by Gurinder Chadha, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Nick Wall.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Blinded by the Light”

Nick Wall

Chadha expertly steers the movie from high school angst, immigrant bullying and parental conflict through a stunning musical version, with lyrics streaming across the screen, of “Thunder Road” which serves as the moment when our young hero declares his feelings for the pretty activist in his class. Based on journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir, the movie deploys Springsteen deftly, without overplaying the concept. The movie will play for multiple audience demos, beyond Bruce fans. New Line, which paid $15 million for the romantic musical — the festival’s biggest buy — in this case at least, will make their money back. —AT

“Brittany Runs a Marathon”

Anyone who has seen former “Saturday Night Live” writer Jillian Bell steal a scene in movies like “22 Jump Street” and “Rough Night” knows she’s built for comedic glory, and while the basic plot of Paul Downs Colaizzo’s directorial debut “Brittany Runs a Marathon” — what if your funniest, least healthy friend decided to change her life and run the New York City Marathon? — sure sounds amusing, the film also allows Bell to tap into some genuine pathos.

Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs A Marathon by Paul Downs Colaizzo, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jon Pack. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Brittany Runs a Marathon”

Jon Pack / Sundance

That’s not to say that the Audience Award winner isn’t funny, because of course it is, this is a movie starring Jillian Bell, but the inspired-by-real-life story — Colaizzo really does have a very funny, very unhealthy friend named Brittany who turned it all around to run 26.2 miles — is also deeply human, wonderfully warm, and not afraid to get really messy along the way. A sports movie that’s also about someone not at all interested in sports, it’s the kind of delayed coming-of-age film you think you’ve seen before, but the generosity and honesty that Bell and Colaizzo pour into make it something special. Eventually, new buyers Amazon will likely put out a commercial or clip that encourages audiences to run to the theaters, and puns aside, you should. —KE

“Clemency”

Clemency

“Clemency”

Sundance

Chinonye Chukwu’s Grand Jury Prize-winning death row drama “Clemency” is presented with such directorial precision and narrative matter-of-factness that the viewer is forced to experience the character’s emotional torture. Those willing to endure will find plenty of rewards, mainly towering performances from Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, and Danielle Brooks that are bound to go down as some of the year’s best. Woodard plays a prison warden whose life has derailed because of her job, which includes prepping and barring witness to executions. Hodge’s Anthony Woods is the warden’s next execution, and Chukwu unforgettably tracks the two characters as they brace for an inevitable ending. The writer-director doesn’t present either figure as a hero or villain; they’re almost identical souls simply looking for freedom in a world where both their fates are painfully sealed. The final 10 minutes will break open your heart like few movies this year, maybe ever. —ZS

“David Crosby: Remember My Name”

So many rock documentaries are just as ludicrous and fictionalized according to a revisionist agenda as “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Which is what makes “David Crosby: Remember My Name” such a striking counterpoint. This is no hagiography. Crosby opens up with painful honesty, to interviewer Cameron Crowe (who serves as a producer as well) and director A.J. Eaton, about his many regrets. Some of them very recent: his tumultuous partnership with bandmates Stephen Stills and Graham Nash officially foundered after a painful performance of “Silent Night” at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2015. The footage of Barack and Michelle Obama visibly cringing at the tuneless, discordant performance is almost heartbreaking – Crosby, Stills and Nash have not performed, or even spoken to each other, since. Sometime collaborator Neil Young has long since written Crosby off. Through it all, guided by Crowe’s sensitive but never softball questions, Crosby directs blame at himself with gutsy candor. Crowe said at the IndieWire Sundance Studio that Crosby was the very first interview he wanted to conduct for Rolling Stone as a teenage journalist back in 1974, and their 45-year relationship has yielded a rich cinematic portrait. —CB

The Farewell

“The Farewell”

Anyone with a large Chinese family going back several generations will probably appreciate much about the one depicted in tender detail in “The Farewell,” director Lulu Wang’s touching and understated second feature. For everyone else, Awkwafina’s performance is a terrific gateway. The rapper-turned-actress’ best performance takes a sharp turn away from her zany supporting roles for a restrained and utterly credible portrait of cross-cultural frustrations. As a Chinese-American grappling with the traditionalism of her past and its impact on the future, she’s an absorbing engine for the movie’s introspective look at a most unusual family reunion. Based on a 2016 episode of “This American Life” drawn from Wang’s own experiences, “The Farewell” centers on Billi, an out-of-work New York writer who learns from her parents that her beloved grandmother — that is, her “Nai Nai” (Zhao Shuzhen) — has terminal cancer. While this premise could have birthed a quirky dramedy, Wang’s restrained approach instead yield a remarkable slow-burn immersion into her character’s life, as she struggles with the conflicting emotions of loyalty and resentment that define her adult life. It’s a remarkable window into Asian American identity to which future audiences will surely relate, and a welcome introduction to a filmmaker who’s just getting started. —EK

Leaving Neverland

“Leaving Neverland”

Sundance

Later this year, Dan Reed’s searing, gut-punch of a documentary will be available for broadcast viewers on both HBO and Channel 4, but that didn’t stop the two-part series’ Sundance premiere — a special one-time-only event held at Park City’s own Egyptian Theatre — from dominating the first weekend of the festival. Beset early on by controversy, including a group of dedicated Michael Jackson fans who attempted to get it pulled from the event and rumors that the screening would be deluged by protestors, the four-hour project unspooled relatively quietly to a packed house. At turns grueling and sensitively told, Reed’s project focuses on the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, long-time fans of Jackson’s whose own career aspirations brought them into the singer’s orbit, unspooling strikingly parallel stories of childhood abuse that have continued to impact their adult lives. Both Robson and Safechuck previously advocated on Jackson’s behalf — as young boys, they were both interviewed during a 1993 case in which Jackson’s first accuser, Jordan Chandler, went public with allegations of abuse; later, Robson very publicly testified during a 2005 trial involving yet another accuser — and have only in the last six years come forward with their own accusations. While some might argue that such stories are essential in the “#MeToo era,” the power of “Leaving Neverland” is that it makes it clear, these stories always needed to be told. —KE

“Greener Grass”

greener grass

“Greener Grass”

Sundance

Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) has it all. Like her neighbors in her perfectly color-coordinated neighborhood, she has a closet full of pastel sun dresses, hosts parties in her backyard, has a pool so clean you can drink its water, and, of course, wears braces — because everything is either perfect here or about to become perfect. Jill has so much she even gives up her baby to Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) as a neighborly gesture. And not for the weekend, it’s a permanent decision, though a seemingly casual one: that baby is a goodwill gift. The world of “Greener Grass” that DeBoer and Luebbe, who directed the film together as well, have created, looks and feels a lot like ours, but certain key surface details are… off. The underlying truth of this placid suburban biome is exactly the same as in our world, though: our lives are controlled by often arbitrary but rigidly enforced codes of conduct and, more often than not, we judge ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. When Jill’s son turns his piano recital at a school talent show as an opportunity to just smash the keys and act out, Jill is mortified – embarrassment at a school talent show is the worst thing that could happen in her mind. Yet her friend Lisa is just as self-flagellating: why wasn’t her child as original and outside the box as Jill’s son? DeBoer and Luebbe’s vision is so strong you don’t just watch “Greener Grass,” you visit it. And weirdly, you may never want to leave. —CB

“Honeyland”

Shooting "Honeyland"

Shooting “Honeyland”

Courtesy of Filmmakers

A perfect piece of nonfiction filmmaking, the Grand Jury Prize-winning “Honeyland” is the story of how a bee hunter’s life, which revolves around caring for an elderly mother and honey, is upended when a family moves into her abandoned village. The struggle between a woman’s connection with nature and a reckless patriarch becomes an allegory of everything wrong with our world. It’s impossible to not feel for the quiet, lonely decency of Hatidze, an early candidate for 2019’s best protagonist, but it’s the way her journey is filmed that makes this such a special film. Directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov capture both character and conflict in verite moments shot with lush beauty and yet surprising formal rigor.  —CO

“Monos”

monos sundance

“Monos”

“Monos” takes place in the dense jungles and foggy mountaintops of northern Colombia, but it may as well be another planet. Director Alejandro Landes’ thrilling survivalist saga tracks a dysfunctional group of young militants as they traipse through perilous terrain, engaging in savage behavior while toying with their mortified American hostage (Julianne Nicholson), but they never reveal their motivations. Equal parts “Lord of the Flies” and “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” Landes’ third feature distills guerrilla warfare into sheer anarchy. By stripping away the sociopolitical context, “Monos” provides a window into power-hungry mayhem on the fringes of society that could happen anytime, anywhere — but depicts its hectic showdowns with a you-are-there intensity that could only take place in the present. —EK

“The Report”

Adam Driver appears in The Report by Scott Z. Burns, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Atsushi Nishijima.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“The Report”

Atsushi Nishijima

Amazon Studios paid $14 million for writer-director Scott Z. Burns’ post-9/11 political thriller, which is a feat of well-paced dramatic writing for smart audiences that imparts reams of info about the CIA’s enhanced detention and interrogation techniques and makes heroes out of Senate investigator Dan Jones (Adam Driver) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening), who fought against the White House and the CIA to get the truth out to the world. Steven Soderbergh collaborator Burns (“Contagion”), making his directing debut, emerges as not only an ace screenwriter but a filmmaker. This well-reviewed movie will hold for rebranding in the fall as an Oscar contender. —AT

“The Souvenir”

Tom Burke and Honor Swinton Byrne appear in The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Agatha A. Nitecka.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“The Souvenir”

Agatha A. Nitecka

There isn’t much of a story in Joanna Hogg’s Grand Jury Prize-winning, and wholly heartfelt and searingly honest “The Souvenir.” The British director, somehow a breakthrough talent for the last 30 years, has always been less interested in plot than condition. Nevertheless, this elliptical, semi-autobiographical study of creative awakening lands with the weight of an epic. Set in the early 1980’s, shot with the gauzy harshness of “Phantom Thread,” and named after an 18th century rococo painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Hogg’s most affecting work to date to charts the doomed romance between a young filmmaker (the remarkable Honor Swinton Byrne) and the troubled older man (Tom Burke) who sparks her potential. More than just a tender self-portrait, “The Souvenir” becomes a diorama-esque dissection of that volatile time in your life when every molecule feels like it’s restlessly vibrating in place, and even a brief encounter with another person has the power to rearrange your basic chemistry; when you’re so desperate to become yourself that you’ll happily believe in anyone else you happen to find along the way. And the best thing about it might be the fact that a sequel (pairing Byrne with Robert Pattinson) is set to shoot this summer. —DE

Source: IndieWire film