Under the Radar: Eric’s Top Five Picks for Sundance 2013

eric-top-sundance-picks-2013

#5. Concussion

Concussion Sundance

Who: Having begun her ascension via her work as a commercials director/producer, 2012/2013 has turned out to be fairly kick ass in terms of receiving support. From the guidance of producer Rose Troche (helmer of Go Fish), being chosen by Independent Feature Project’s narrative lab to grabbing grants in the shape of the Adrienne Shelly Director’s Grant and Gothams Award’s Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers Live the Dream Grant.

What: Sight unseen, with a high libido, this might be compared to Steve McQueen’s Shame as it also centers on a Manhattanite whose midlife crisis includes a character with a double life of sorts.

Where: You can find more info on the facebook page and the official website should start getting into gear shortly.

When: The Rose Troche produced drama was shot in New York City in March of last year.

Why: Premise alone for this fortysomething/midlife crisis drama is intriguing and lead actress Robin Weigert might just be added to Sundance “it” performance status category as last year’s Sundance “it” queens Helen Hunt/Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Anne Dowd for ballsy, brave interpretations. Film has also been selected for the Berlin Film Festival.

From the Sundance Programmer: “Palpably sensual and deliciously contained, Concussion is a keen observation of the complicated contours of midlife crisis.” – Shari Frilot

Play Dates:
1/19/2013 2:30 pm – Library Center Theatre, Park City
1/21/2013 8:30 am – Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/24/2013 Noon – Eccles Theatre, Park City
1/25/2013 6:00 pm – Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City
1/26/2013 11:30 am – The MARC, Park City

#4. We Are What We Are

Sundance We Are What We Are

Who: No need for introductions to horror genre fans, this is Jim Mickle’s third feature- He previously directed Mulberry Street (Sitges 2006) and Stake Land (TIFF 2010 – Midnight Madness Audience Award).

What: A re-imagining of Jorge Michel Grau’s Somos lo que hay (2010) instead of instead of he drab Mexico cityscape, this places the Parker family in a remote wooded location.

Where: Recently opened for business facebook page and interview with Mickle

When: Shot in New York State this past June, this was produced by Uncorked Productions’ Andrew D. Corkin, Memento Films International’s Nicholas Shumaker, The Zoo’s Jack Turner and Rodrigo Bellott. For the film, Mickle works once again with writer Nick Damici and cinematographer Ryan Samul.

Why: I loved the original film and could see this working as a U.S. remake. Up-and-coming actresses Ambyr Childers (The Master) and Julia Garner (Martha Marcy May Marlene) are certainly on the rise (both profiled on Verge).

From the Sundance Programmer: “In this reimagining of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name, director Jim Mickle paints a gruesome portrait of an introverted family struggling to keep their macabre traditions alive, giving us something we can really sink our teeth into.” – A. M.

Play Dates:
1/18/2013 11:45 pm – Library Center Theatre, Park City
1/19/2013 11:59 pm – Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City
1/22/2013 6:00 pm – Egyptian Theatre, Park City
1/25/2013 11:30 pm – Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/26/2013 6:00 pm – Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City

#3. A Teacher

A Teacher Sundance

Who: A 2012 Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film person (read profile), Hannah Fidell has a pair of shorts in the can in The Gathering Squall and Man & Gun (SXSW ’12) prior to her debut feature.

What: A teacher-student affair type narrative that hopefully does more digging than your typical CNN report.

Where: Trailer was recently released, and you can check out some of the various moments in production phase via the facebook page.

When: Filming took place in June. Watch out for Adam Wingard film/Sun Don’t Shine producer Kim Sherman – indie producer to watch out for.

Why: Hard to resist what might actually be a true dissection of what we never get in your common, sensationalist news media headlines. Thesp Lindsay Burdge is on the potential hotlist for break-out new indie actresses to watch out for (see profile).

From the Sundance Programmer: “With bold vision, Fidell uses highly controlled pacing, silky camera movements, and a tense percussive sound aesthetic to free her narrative from the confines of convention, while a fascinating performance by Lindsay Burdge transports us into Diana’s head space, where her unabated obsession lives.” – K. Y.

Play Dates:
1/20/2013 5:30 pm – Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/21/2013 3:00 pm – Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City
1/22/2013 3:00 pm – Temple Theatre, Park City
1/25/2013 11:30 am – Library Center Theatre, Park City
1/26/2013 Noon – Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort

#2. I Used to Be Darker

I Used to be Darker Sundance

Who: Film number three for Matt Porterfield, his previous items include 2006′s Hamilton and 2011′s Putty Hill (Berlin Film Festival, SXSW and AFI Film Fest where we interviewed him).

What: Baltimore is once again the backdrop – family is at the film’s epicenter. This focuses on Taryn, a Northern Irish runaway, finds herself in trouble in Ocean City, MD, she seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore.

Where: Fully comprehensive official website (includes trailer – love it’s last stance) plus facebook account equipped with festival posters and a timeline of the production.

When: Porterfield began lensing this way back in the summer of 2011 with his trusted dp Jeremy Saulnier (worked on ll three films. Producers Nomadic Independence Pictures’ Ryan Zacarias, with Eric Bannat and Steve Holmgren.

Why: I’d point to the flexible nature with the form (merging docu and narrative), aesthetic prowess and ability to work with non-professionals, this should only further showcase Porterfield’s immense talents.

From the Sundance Programmer: “Cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier beautifully tracks the bubbling revelations and suburban Baltimore landscape in this quiet story that is enlivened by live performance.

Play Dates:
1/19/2013 3:00 pm – Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City
1/20/2013 6:00 pm – Temple Theatre, Park City
1/21/2013 9:00 pm – Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City
1/25/2013 9:00 pm – Temple Theatre, Park City

#1. Blue Caprice

Blue Caprice Sundance

Who: Short film (e.g. the Cannes shown Kanye West experimental short film Cruel Summer) and music video helmer, Alexandre Moors makes his highly anticipated film debut with Blue Caprice.

What: Scripted with R. F. I. Porto, Moors plays with the form in order to get into the psychology of the Beltway sniper attacks.

Where: We had the more recent launch of the film’s poster, we had a teaser that was shown way back and gave us the creeps, and they just pitched up the tent sorta speak with the official facebook page.

When: Filming took place in 2011, but Moors was busy working putting together post-production funding while at the same time working elsewhere professionally.

Why: I’m liking the assembled cast here from Sundance vets to the new face Tequan Richmond, the subject matter and how it’ll possibly treated and obviously Moors’ skillset.

From the Sundance Programmer: “Alexandre Moors utilizes a formidable cinematic lexicon to concoct a harrowing psychological exploration of the two cold-blooded killers that will make a forceful impact on audiences that remains long after the lights come up.” – Trevor Goth

Play Dates:
1/19/2013 11:30 am – Library Center Theatre, Park City
1/19/2013 9:00 pm – Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City
1/21/2013 11:30 pm – Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/23/2013 6:00 pm – Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort
1/24/2013 Noon – Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)