The Sundance Film Festival starts in less than a week. If you live in or near Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is an event not to be missed.
For those of us in Salt Lake City, we can avoid the hassle of driving and parking in Park City (not to mention annoying star gazers) by attending screenings downtown. Almost every film at the festival screens at least once in SLC.
I prefer to go the wait list route for tickets. I have yet to be turned away from a screening using this method, and this year it's a cheaper option than buying tickets ahead of time.
Here's the scoop on what to see if you are an earth-lover.
"In their signature upbeat comedic style, Daniel Gold and Judith Helfand weave an entertaining, character-driven, behind-the-scenes tale about the mother of all problems: global warming.
Against a distinctly American backdrop of denial, deception, and delay, a group of global-warming messengers/prophets fervently searches for the right language and strategy to propel a reluctant, disaster-fatigued citizenry and its elected officials into action. Among this cast of characters are a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who repeatedly tries to retire but can't, the Weather Channel's first climatologist with a "global-warming beat" who must pack her Ph.D. into 30-second sound bites, two "bad boys" who aim a radical critique at the environmental movement, and a public servant who blows the lid off the White House's manipulation of key climate-change research.
Intercut throughout this strikingly shot journey are the trials and tribulations of a snow groomer turned biodiesel entrepreneur working on a solution, and the story of an Inuit Alaskan community that must decide whether to stay and risk getting washed into the sea or move their entire village. Hurricane Katrina blitzes the Gulf, U.S. consciousness on climate makes a seismic shift, and America finally "gets" global warming. Or do we? The way we're acting, one would think everything's cool.— Caroline Libresco"
Salt Lake City Screening: January 22 (Mon) 6:00 at Broadway Center Cinemas, 111 East Broadway (300 S.)
Friday, Jan 19 9:15 PM Holiday Village Cinema III
Saturday , Jan 20 8:30 AM Holiday Village Cinema II
Sunday, Jan 21 12:00 PM Screening Room, Sundance Village
Thursday, Jan 25 2:30 PM Prospector Square Theatre
Friday , Jan 26 2:30 PM Holiday Village Cinema II
"From its stunning eight-minute opening shot to the remarkable documentation of China's Three Gorges Dam, Manufactured Landscapes is an impressive experience. That's partly due to the size and space of the landscapes, but mostly because of the beauty of the images--their composition and color, a sharp contrast to the film's content: this is a luscious world of destruction.
Ultimately Landscapes is the portrait of one man's voyage as it follows celebrated still photographer Edward Burtynsky on a tour of Asia. Burtynsky takes large-format stills of industrial landscapes: factory workers lined up to infinity, giant ships eviscerated, massive recycling dumps, expansive strip mines. His goal is to portray humanity's relationship to nature as we pursue progress. His images are striking and picturesque, leaving viewers on their own to comprehend the negative global ramifications.
Director Jennifer Baichwal makes insightful choices. The film perfectly balances the images of Burtynsky with those of talented cinematographer/creative consultant Peter Mettler. Burtynsky provides the vision and philosophy, and the filmmakers examine the specific details. And when Burtynsky speaks, he neither celebrates nor condemns but simply explores who we are in relation to our planet. We extract things from the environment to survive, and that is damaging the world.— Mike Plante"
Salt Lake City Screening: January 20 (Sat) 12:30 p.m. [wait list time 10:30 a.m.] Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway (300 S.)
Friday , Jan 19 12:15 PM Holiday Village Cinema III
Saturday, Jan 20 11:30PM Holiday Village Cinema II
Sunday, Jan 21 11:30AM Holiday Village Cinema II
"The American Dream of owning a house with a white picket fence goes head to head with environmental sustainability in Laura Dunn's lyrical and beautifully crafted documentary The Unforeseen.
Dunn tracks the career of Gary Bradley, a west Texan farm boy who went to Austin and became one of the largest real estate developers in the state. In the '80s, Bradley had plans to transform miles of pristine hill country into large-scale subdivisions. But the development jeopardized Barton Springs, a watering hole treasured by locals, and served as a lightning rod for mobilizing environmental activism that flourished under Governor Ann Richards. When George W. Bush took the state's executive reins, however, development patterns changed, and the water quality at Barton Springs, as well as the surrounding landscape of Austin, was irreversibly transformed.
The Unforeseen is a meditation on the destruction of the natural world and the American Dream as it falls victim to the cannibalizing forces of unchecked development. It is an intricate tale of personal hopes, victories, and failures, and debates over land, economics, property rights, and the public good. In a time when development and property values have skyrocketed in nearly every major city, Dunn makes a plea for our development-oriented society to consider restructuring the relationship between our values and the environment that sustains us.— Shari Frilot"
Salt Lake City Screening: January 21 (Sun) noon [wait list time 10:00] Broadway Center Cinemas, 111 East Broadway (300 S.)
Friday, Jan 19 2:30 PM Library Center Theatre
Friday, Jan 19 9:00 PM Screening Room, Sundance Village
Monday, Jan 22 9:00 AM Egyptian Theatre, Park City
Thursday, Jan 25 8:30 PM Library Center Theatre
Wonders Are Many
"Is there beauty in annihilation? This is one question driving filmmaker Jon Else's (The Day After Trinity) latest documentary. Extending his fascination with the now-60-year history of nuclear power, Else's new film achieves something remarkable: it is art about artists contemplating the science of destruction.
With infinite precision and formidable intelligence, Wonders Are Many unfolds as theatre director Peter Sellars and composer John Adams collaborate on Doctor Atomic, their fifth, and in many ways most complex, collaboration. The opera's subject is the 48 hours leading up to the first atomic-bomb test detonation in 1945. The film seamlessly combines footage of the making of the opera, candid interviews, and vivid archival material (much of it recently declassified) with journals and writings by J. Robert Oppenheimer and other members of the team that created the first atomic bomb. Though it largely concerns historical events, the film is startling in its immediacy.
Art, as Sellars says in the film, is in part about discovering something new in what we already know. In documenting the act of creativity, both artistic and scientific, Wonders Are Many draws parallels between science and art, truth and beauty, and succeeds in finding wonder in the heart of darkness itself.— Cara Mertes"
Salt Lake City Screening: January 21 (Sun) 12:30 p.m. [wait list time 10:30] Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway (300 S.)
Friday, Jan 19 2:30 PM Holiday Village Cinema II
Saturday, Jan 20 8:30 AM Prospector Square Theatre
Wednesday, Jan 24 5:30 PM Library Center Theatre
Low and Behold
"What our eyes behold has more to do with what we want to see, rather than what is actually there in front of us. Zack Godshall's emotional first feature, Low and Behold, tells the tale of a young man who comes to post-Katrina Louisiana and gets a new set of eyes after being forced to deal with the mass destruction that surrounds him.
Turner Stull arrives in New Orleans to take a job with his uncle at Bridge Catastrophe Service, an opportunistic company that has set up shop to process insurance claims on hurricane-damaged homes. Turner's no-nonsense attitude collides head-on with the brewing anger and frustration of his loquacious and salty southern clientele. One day, he meets Nixon, a family man who asks for his help in finding his daughter's lost dog. Turner heartlessly turns his back on Nixon, but the two men are destined to become emotional catalysts in each other's lives.
Shot in a largely destroyed section of New Orleans and interweaving slices of local survivors' testimony, Low and Behold is a powerfully evocative film that puts a complex, human face on the enormity of this national tragedy. You may leave the theatre with new eyes of your own.— Shari Frilot"
Salt Lake City Screening: January 27 (Sat) 6:45 p.m. [wait list time 4:45 p.m.] Broadway Center Cinemas, 111 East Broadway (300 S.)
Sunday, Jan 21 Prospector Square Theatre
Thursday, Jan 25 5:30 PM Library Center Theatre
Sunday, Jan 28 Holiday Village Cinema IV
Documentary Spotlight (Doc shorts)
"In these true stories, the personal is always political, and art, self, and nature exist in delicate balance. A boy captures his childhood on tape where do-it-yourself videography and eccentricity intersect. Man battles nature in a glorious spectacle. Nature battles man, leaving man with faith in a higher power. The powers that be hold the future of two women in pursuit of civil rights. And through self-portraits, a woman makes personal art while acknowledging a world outside does indeed exist."
Salt Lake City Screening: January 20 (Sat) 12:45 p.m. [wait list 10:45 a.m.]Broadway Center Cinemas, 111 East Broadway (300 S.)
Friday, Jan 19 8:30 PM Library Center Theatre
Sunday, Jan 21 8:30 PM Prospector Square Theatre
Tuesday, Jan 23 8:30 PM Holiday Village Cinema II
Saturday, Jan 27 4:00 PM Holiday Village Cinema IV
Other Sundance Events for Greenies:
How "Movies That Matter" Can Matter (Panels at Prospector -- Ticket Required -- Jan. 22 (Mon) 2:30 pm)
'If "movies that matter" really matter, what does it take for them to be change agents in our society? How do you get important issues like genocide, climate change, and the war out of the theatre and into national focus? Can an environment be created that encourages activism and connects film to the tools of change (lawmakers, grass-roots efforts, and popular culture)? Documentary filmmakers Sean Fine (War/Dance), Judith Helfand (Everything's Cool), and Rory Kennedy (Ghosts of Abu Ghraib) and journalist and author Eric Schlosser, Gayle Smith from the Center from American Progress, Brian Steidle, the subject of The Devil Came on Horseback, and Diane Weyermann of Participant Productions join moderator Helene Cooper from the New York Times for a thought-provoking look at the juncture between film and social change. Copresented by the Center for American Progress."
The above reviews, along with more info on the Festival can be found here.