The Case Against 8 directors Ryan White and Ben Cotner. Photo by Brian Brooks.
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As the Sundance Film Festival begins to wind down with tomorrow night’s awards, filmmakers and industry insiders continue to make their way to Daily Buzz from Park City. Episode 8 includes a diverse group of people here at the festival touting their work. Scottish band Belle and Sebastian lead singer Stuart Murdoch spoke with Film Society’s Eugene Hernandez about his film, God Help The Girl. Sundance NEXT filmmaker Desiree Akhavan co-wrote, directed and starred in her delightful feature Appropriate Behavior. Ben Cotner and Ryan White brought down the house when they debuted their HBO doc The Case Against 8 earlier in the week. Also in today’s show, Slamdance filmmaker Mark Raso talks about his film Copenhagen and the Ford Foundation’s Cara Mertes is today’s industry insider.
God Help the Girl
Set in Glasgow, Scotland, the film is about a girl called Eve who is in the hospital dealing with some emotional problems and starts writing songs as a way of getting better. “When the seed came along, I really didn’t feel I had a choice in the matter,” said Murdoch about the genesis of God Help the Girl. “I had this dream I was on stage with Belle and Sebastian and I forgot the words to the songs. I was still having a good time but the band was mad. Then this girl from the audience shouted out and she came on stage and sang the songs. She did a great job and actually, that was Eve to me.”
God Help the Girl director Stuart Murdoch. Photo by Brian Brooks.
Desiree Akhavan is the co-creator and star of the award-winning web series The Slope, a comedy that revolves around a pair of homophobic lesbians in love. Recently named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent film, she directed, wrote and stars in Appropriate Behavior. The plays Shirin, the daughter of Iranian parents. Her parents don’t know she’s bisexual and her ex-girlfriend can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them. Following a family announcement of her brother’s betrothal to a parentally approved Iranian prize catch, Shirin embarks on a private rebellion involving a series of pansexual escapades, while trying to decipher what went wrong with Maxine.
The Case Against 8
The credits hadn’t finished rolling and the theater was still dark when the audience began its standing ovation at the World Premiere of Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s HBO-produced documentary The Case Against 8. The film is a behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage told through its amazing and unlikely legal team and through the lives of the plaintiffs. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. “There were many moments where we learned to hold a camera and cry at the same time. It’s tricky doing that when you’re witnessing so much emotion going on,” said Cotner on Daily Buzz.
Added White: “The lawsuit itself was very controversial. Even the LGBT groups were against this. Many thought this was way too soon and would set the movement back by decades. Five years later most are on board because the case worked, but at first it was uncomfortable.”
Appropriate Behavior director Desiree Akhavan. Photo by Brian Brooks.
Kate Barker-Froyland’s Song One boasts a star cast including Anne Hathaway and Mary Steenburgen. It centers on a young archaeologist who returns home from a dig in order to see her injured brother, but quickly strikes up a relationship with his favorite musician. “This [took] five years to develop and I just finished last week actually,” Barker-Froyland told Daily Buzz. “It started with the idea of these three characters. I loved both, these characters and the music and a song that connects them all.”
Mark Raso’s Copenhagen is a love letter to the Danish capital, which inspired Raso when he lived there. It’s description on IMDb reads: “When the girl of your dreams is half your age, it’s time to grow up.”
“I lived there in 2006 before going to Columbia University. It’s a wonderful, beautiful city and I think it needed to be a character in this film,” Raso told Daily Buzz. ” I was fortunate that six weeks before I won the Student Acadamy Award which changed things. People’s interests went up and the budget went up. And I had incredible support with the Danish film community.”