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Sundance Stretching out the ‘Shock Doctrine’

Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’ The Shock Doctrine (which was presented as an unfinished cut at Berlin) will be the lead off film and the keeping with the idea of films that “spur debate”, I don’t think that the other films to participate in Sundance Film Festival U.S.A initiative will be heavyweight fiction titles, but we can expect to see a good number of doc features that need the attention.

Since not everyone can jet out to Park City for Sundance festivities, the festival is making plans to bring a small portion of Sundance to you. While last year they made a small batch of short films available for download, this year they’re laying the groundwork for what I imagine could be a popular, yearly event – one day (January 28th) of Sundancing at select art house theaters.

Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’ The Shock Doctrine (which was presented as an unfinished cut at Berlin) will be the lead off film and the keeping with the idea of films that “spur debate”, I don’t think that the other films to participate in Sundance Film Festival U.S.A initiative will be heavyweight fiction titles, but we can expect to see a good number of doc features that need the attention.

Shock Doctrine is based on a book by Naomi Klein which aims to expose what she calls “disaster capitalism”. The theory is that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance. Klein herself will narrate the film, as she did a short film of the same name last year, directed by Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron. This will again explore major events in history where the shock doctrine seems to apply, focusing particularly on the dictatorships in Argentina and Chile in the 1970s.

Here’s the press release.
“The concept behind Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. is to ignite dialogue as people across the country engage in a collective film experience. It is an extension, really, of the work we have done for decades: supporting the independent voice, bringing artists to the table and inserting art more and more into the social context of how we live,” said Robert Redford, Sundance Institute President and Founder of the Sundance Film Festival. “We hope by speaking with artists about their work and experiencing the Festival as it is happening, audiences will be inspired to share opinions, discuss the key issues of our day and reflect on the role art plays in social change.”

Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. Across America:
On January 28, eight filmmakers and their films will be dispatched from Park City to cities across America, for the first time providing audiences the opportunity to experience screenings direct from the Festival in their home town art houses and to engage in live conversation with Festival artists. An introduction video featuring Robert Redford and highlights from the Festival will precede the screenings. Selections for films and filmmakers traveling to the eight cities will take place shortly after the programming announcement in December. All films will be selected from the official Sundance Film Festival program. Tickets will be available through each theatre’s individual box office. Participating cities and their theatres are:

Ann Arbor, MI — Michigan Theater
Brookline, MA — Coolidge Corner Theatre
Brooklyn, NY — BAM
Chicago, IL — Music Box Theatre
Los Angeles, CA — Downtown Independent
Madison, WI — Sundance Cinemas Madison
Nashville, TN — The Belcourt Theatre
San Francisco, CA — Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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