Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth. Photo by Eugene Hernandez / FSLC.
As the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival came to a close in Park City yesterday, Eugene Hernandez of Film Society of Lincoln Center took to the airwaves for another edition of “The Daily Buzz” on KCPW.
Sundance Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth kicked off the show with a frank discussion of the excitement and stresses of running a major film festival. They relished in the joy of bringing new works and filmmakers to the attention of cinephiles worldwide and talked about the festival's history of adventurous programming. They particularly recommended the shorts playing in this year's fest, noting that nine of them are available to watch online thanks to a partnership with Yahoo!
Next up was director Joe Berlinger, whose documentary Under African Skies about Paul Simon's legendary album Graceland has brought him to Sundance for the fifth time. Berlinger talked about the importance of the album both musically and historically—Simon broke an international cultural embargo with South Africa over Apartheid by working with black artists from the nation. He also discussed his history with the festival, which premiered his breakthrough film Brother's Keeper (1992) as well as Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), the first of three HBO-distributed docs about the West Memphis Three that have lead to their release from jail, where one of them faced the death penalty for a crime he did not commit. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory played at this year's New York Film Festival with the recently-released West Memphis Three in person for an emotional Q&A.
Celebrated English director Andrea Arnold joined the show next to discuss her modern adaptation of Wuthering Heights, a film she never thought she'd make. “I never thought I would do an adaptation; in fact I was very against them. I think books are a very different form to cinema and I think it's the wrong way to start a film.” But after another director dropped out of the project, Arnold received an email and made a surprising choice: “I just made this instinctive decision to have a go and I didn't know, really, where the journey was going to take me… It was kind of a spontaneous decision and I just sort of went for it and surprised myself, really. Because it's a period film as well which I never, ever, thought I would do. But there's not a bonnet to be seen, I have to say. That was one of my rules: no bonnets!”
Finally, Matt Dentler of Cinetic Media and Film Buff dropped by to hash out the state of modern distribution with an emphasis on VOD and online distribution, as well as to discuss some of the films he's seen so far in the festival.
You can listen to the whole podcast of Sunday's show above. Track us anytime on Twitter, ask questions or join the conversation using: #SundanceBuzz.