The Egyptian Theater on Main St. in Park City, UT
At a small party about a week before this year's Sundance Film Festival a friend offered me a tip about a festival film. See Fruitvale, the industry type buzzed, emphasizing the unique story of its writer/director. I typed the new name into my iPhone and sought out an advance screening of the film.
Insiders set their calendars by Sundance, the annual 10-day trek to the Utah mountains for the film business. The event, founded by Robert Redford, remains the crucial discovery festival for new American talent. Among the names that had industry types buzzing last week in Park City was that of Fruitvale filmmaker Ryan Coogler.
A football player turned filmmaker, Coogler sat down with the Film Society for our Daily Buzz radio podcast the day before his film screened at Sundance. His life changed pretty quickly after the Sundance showing. Harvey Weinstein paid more than $2 million to buy his movie and one week later Fruitvale swept both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, a rare feat at the festival. Bloggers are already assuring that the film will generate awards season attention a year from now.
Fruitvale director Ryan Coogler (Episode 2). Photo: Eugene Hernandez
Fruitvale was just one of the Sundance award winners we chatted with on our Sundance podcast program. Cast members Kathryn Hahn & Josh Radnor from Dramatic Directing Award winner Afternoon Delight dropped by, as did Alfred P. Sloan Prize winner Andrew Bujalski, discussing his latest film, Computer Chess.
Near the end of the festival we talked with David Lowery, director of Ain't Them Bodies Saints, winner of the cinematography prize at the festival. One year ago, Lowery and Ryan Coogler were supported by the Sundance Institute and participated in the annual screenwriters lab prior to last year's festival. Feature Film Program head Michelle Satter visited The Daily Buzz to talk about the lab and introduce some of this year's participants.
Of the many documentaries we showcased, Special Jury Prize winner Jacob Kornbluth visited the show with his subject Robert Reich for a conversation about their new film, Inequality For All.
Director Andrew Bujalski discussing Computer Chess.
Catch up on all eight episodes of our Sundance podcast, Film Society's Daily Buzz with Eugene Hernandez, below, and make sure to subscribe on iTunes to avoid missing out when the show returns for SXSW in March!
Episode 1: Julie Goldman (Motto Pictures); Dan Mirvish (Slamdance); Shari Frilot & John Nein (Sundance Institute); Ricardo Rivera & Lynette Wallsworth (New Frontier artist); Arianna Bocco (IFC Films), Dustin Smith (Roadside Attractions), Tom Quinn (Radius/Weinstein Company), Jason Janego (Radius/Weinstein Company), Peter Van Steemburg (Magnolia Pictures); Brooks Barnes (New York TImes), Brian Brooks (Movieline/Deadline).
Episode 2: Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale); Ben Wheatley (Sightseers); Ben Lewis (Google and the World Brain); Bob Berney & Jeanne Berney (Picturehouse); Scott Foundas (VIllage Voice), Dana Harris & Eric Kohn (Indiewire); Scott Macaulay (Filmmaker Magazine).
Two Mothers director Anne Fontaine and star Naomi Watts (Episode 3)
Episode 3: Naomi Watts & Anne Fontaine (Two Mothers); Christine Vachon (KIll Your Darlings), Travis Mathews (Interior. Leather Bar.); Ned Oldham & Kim Taylor (I Used To Be Darker); Anne Thompson (Thompson On Hollywood), David Poland (Movie City News), Marjorie Baumgarten (Austin Chronicle), Mark Rabinowitz (festival veteran).
Episode 4: Park Chan Wook, Emily Wells & Jeong Wonjo (Stoker); Robert Reich & Jacob Kornbluth (Inequality For All); Carl Deal & Tia Lessin (Citizen Koch); Keri Putnam (Sundance Institute); Raj Roy (MoMA).
Episode 5: Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess); Randy Moore (Escape From Tomorrow); Martha Shane & Lana Wilson (After Tiller); John Sloss (Cinetic); Kim Voynar (Movie City News) & Chris Ryan (Oceanside Entertainment).
Josh Radnor and Kathryn Hahn discussing Afternoon Delight (Episode 7).
Episode 6: Albert Maysles (The Secret of Trees), Greg Barker, Nada Backos, Marty Martin & Cindy Storm (Manhunt); Tom Bernard (Sony Pictures Classics); Tim League (Alamo Drafthouse); Peter Baxier (Slamdance); Jennifer Lee & Jascha Hoffman (science and nature writer).
Episode 7: Kathryn Hahn & Josh Radnor (Afternoon Delight); RJ Cutler (The World According to Dick Cheney); Ted Hope (San Francisco Film Society); Josh Braun (Submarine); Logan Hill (Esquire) & Jada Yuan (New York Magazine).
Episode 8: David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pit Stop, Upstream Color); Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel) & Sara Bernstein (HBO); Robert Stone (Pandora's Promise); Michelle Satter (Sundance Institute), Chinaka Hodge (700th and International), Russell Harbaugh (Love After Love) & Pamela Romiaowski (The Adderall Diaries); Ira Deutchman (Columbia University, Emerging Pictures); Rose Kuo (Film Society of Lincoln Center).
The Film Society's Daiy Buzz Team:
Eugene Hernandez: Host/Producer
Irene Cho: Producer
Melissa Mobley: Associate Producer
Lansia Wann: Associate Producer
Matthew Young: Assistant Producer, Sound Engineer & Editor
Kevin Arthofer: Assistant Producer
Claire Chen-Carter: Assistant Producer
Nicholas Kemp: Digital Content Coordinator
Special thanks to KRCL 90.0FM, Sabra Hummus, Cloud Electronics, Stella Artois, The Village at the Lift and Sundance Institute.