Ira Sachs, director of Keep the Lights On. Photo by Eugene Hernandez / FSLC.
What drew Shelia Nevins to documentaries? Why does Sally El Hosani see herself in the two brothers at the center of her new film, My Brother The Devil? Did Ira Sachs’ seek to provoke the audience with his new film, Keep The Lights On? These are some of the questions addressed in today’s edtion of the Daily Buzz from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
WIthin hours of the opening of Sundance ’12, folks were buzzing about a pair of documentaries that screened on opening night. Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man stirred positive reactions after an opening night showing, so much so that by this afternoon it had already been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Meanwhile, I made my way over to the Eccles last night to see Lauren Greenfield’s latest, Queen of Versailles, another doc that was quickly acquired (by Magnolia Pictures).
At times evoking reality shows of the rich and famous (or an extreme edition of Hoarders), the doc follows an extremely wealthy Florida couple’s quest to build the biggest house in the country. The audience was laughing for much of the first half of the film but then silenced into sympathy for the second half when the economic crisis exposed the sad side of their rags to riches (to rags) story. A group of us discussed and deliberated the merits of the movie during today’s opening segment on the Daily Buzz.
In our extended conversation with Sheila Nevins, later in the show, the HBO Doc chief elaborated on what makes a good documentary and how you find the right filmmaker to tell a non fiction story. Documentaries are the jewel in Sundance’s crown, bolstered by a push to nuture non fiction films at this festival over the past 15 years during an era in which documentary filmmaking has flourished. HBO and Sheila Nevins have been at the center of that movement.
Meanwhile, Sundance vet Ira Sachs’ talked about taking the personal story told in Keep The Lights On and making it something that might appeal to anyone who’s encountered challenges in an intimate relationship and My Brother The Devil director Sally El Hosani revealed how she navigated the sometimes challenging waters of telling her story in a troubled area of London.
More in today’s edition of The Daily Buzz.