Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013 and have updated it for 2014.

The Sundance Film Festival is the best known film festival in the United States. Say the word “Sundance” to anyone, film lover or not, and chances are they’ve heard of the festival. As a movie blog though, the problem with covering Sundance is that virtually all of the movies are brand new. We haven’t heard of them, you haven’t heard of them, so why would you even care about them?

More than any of the casting news, trailers or film stills that we post on a daily basis, what happens in that small corner of Utah for a little over a week in January is probably the most important movie event of the year. Even so, talk to the most seasoned movie fan and they don’t spend half as much time focusing on what’s going on at Sundance as they do bitching about movies that came out three years ago. Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance over the next week and a half. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?

For the next 7 days myself, Russ Fischer and Peter Sciretta will be in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. And while you might not be eager to click and read about a movie you haven’t heard of yet, we urge you to do so. Some of the films that people hadn’t heard of when they played Sundance in the past are films like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Think of all the movies that have been made since because filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Bryan Singer broke out at the Sundance Film Festival. Who is the breakout star this year? You’ll have to follow our coverage to find out.

Still not convinced? We’ve compiled even more films that you know and love that got their start at Sundance after the jump. Read More »

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There’s something incredibly exciting about the phrase “anything is possible.” Waiting for something that could be anything is an exercise for your imagination. That infinite possibility, coupled with wild speculation and prediction, is ninety percent of the fun of Mondo’s Mystery Movies.

Mondo, as you may know, is the ever-growing poster boutique associated with the Alamo Drafthouse. In April Mondo began a project called Mystery Movies. People buy a ticket for a movie that won’t be announced until they’re in the theater. That is coupled with a limited edition poster that will only ever be available at the event. So imagine buying a ticket to one of these things and speculating what it could be. You throw out suggestions with your fellow attendees, laughing at wild ones and nodding at more likely ones. Finally, you sit down for the film and all is revealed. Does it live up to your expectations?

After two events in their hometown of Austin, Texas, the Mondo Mystery Movie hit the road for the first time ever featuring six different mystery movies over one weekend at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. What were the films? What did the posters look like? What was the experience like? And did the event live up to our wildest expectations? Find out after the jump. Read More »

VOTD: 15 Years of Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight released their first film, The Brothers McMullen, in 1995. This year the minimajor is celebrating their 15th anniversary. Anyone who reads /Film knows that I tend to love the type of films that Searchlight picks up at Sundance, and more recently, the films Searchlight has been producing in house (Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Boyle’s 127 Hours, Romanke’s Never Let Me Go to name a few). /Film reader Kees van Dijkhuizen put together a short video showcasing some of the great films Searchlight has brought up over the last 15 years. You might remember that Kees created some of the video montages we’ve posted in VOTD in past years including Cinema 2009: 1 Year, 342 Movies, 12 Months of Production, 7 Minutes and the movies of Cinema 2008. It looks like someone at Fox saw his work and commissioned the video editor to create this video for Fox Searchlight 15th anniversary. Here is Kees description:

15 Years of Drama, Compassion, Icons, Romance and Challenges. Some of the best indie flicks came were brought to us by Fox Searchlight, and to celebrate their 15 year anniversary, here’s a quick recap of what they have brought us. Some of the movies featured include Juno, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, (500) Days of Summer, Napoleon Dynamite, The Last King of Scotland, Crazy Heart, Sexy Beast, One Hour Photo and Thirteen.

Watch the video now embedded after the jump.

Read More »

28daylater

There’s been little movement on the 28 Days Later franchise front of late, but with Danny Boyle‘s most recent film, 127 Hours, completed and nearing release, that could soon change. From what Boyle has said in the past, we know that 28 Months Later isn’t the official title for the film, its planned setting is Russia (not France like one might’ve inferred from the ending of 28 Weeks Later), and Boyle feels strongly enough about the idea he’s come up with for the film that he has considered directing it.

As hopeful as many of us were that Boyle would return, the odds of it actually happening appeared rather slim. Even while he was discussing potentially directing the film, there were simultaneous discussions of it being handed off to another director (as was done with the second film). If this latest update is to be believed though, Boyle is no longer considering directing the film; he is directing it. Read More »

In 2006, the Fox Atomic production label was established under the big 20th Century umbrella as a home for comedy and ‘genre’ films – ie. films specifically aimed at those in their teens and 20s. Turistas was their rather inauspicious debut release, and since then they’ve spawned horror sequels The Hills Have Eyes 2 and 28 Weeks Later; comedies Miss March, The Rocker and The Comebacks; and Renny Harlin’s turkey-lookin’ 12 Rounds (not yet released in the UK, please explain its awfulness to me in the comments).

It seems now that the imprint is to be folded, with the chief exec moved over to Fox to continue shepherding just the same style of film there instead. In the Variety article that reports this breaking-news-come-rumor, there are also a couple of asides about films originally planned for the Fox Atomic label that now, presumably, will just be plain and simple Fox releases.

Read More »

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