Two beautiful Iranian lesbians fight for their freedom against an oppressive nation in Maryam Keshavarz‘s debut feature Circumstance. The winner of the Narrative Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Circumstance was picked up by Roadside Attractions and set for limited release on August 19. After seeing it this past January, we’ve been championing this beautiful, sensual and frightening film and, now, it can speak for itself. A brand new trailer and poster have been released. Check them out after the break. Read More »

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Sundance Invades The Summer of 2011

Everyone’s talked ad nauseam about how the summer of 2011 is going to be a blockbuster bloodbath. Week after week of high concept, big budget sequels featuring superheroes, robots and wizards. But those aren’t the only movies that’ll be playing at your local theater during the long, hot months of May, June, July and August. A huge chunk of movies we reviewed in January at the Sundance Film Festival – from award winners to our personal favorites – are also finding their way into theaters during that time. As the heat quickly approaches, we’ve decided to highlight over 20 Sundance films that are scheduled to open opposite the traditional Hollywood fare. See images, read reviews and find release dates all below. Read More »

If you read the site regularly, you’ve probably heard of Sundance U.S. Audience Award winner Circumstance. The tale of two Iranian lesbians trapped in an impossible system was one of our favorite films of the 2011 festival. Now, Participant Media has locked down a deal to have Roadside Attractions distribute the movie in the United States, possibly as soon as this summer. This is great news for a great film that’s sensual, tense, inspiring and frightening all in one.

Click here to read my review of the Maryam Keshavarz-directed award winner. It’s a controversial must see for sure.

Complete with sniffles, fevers and coughs, we’re just now beginning to recover from the madness that was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Over the course of 11 days, myself, Peter Sciretta and David Chen were all over Park City, Utah watching films, writing, talking to stars, meeting our fellow bloggers and watching more films. Personally I saw 36 films over 11 days so I feel like I have a good perspective on the festival as a whole.

The general consensus is that this was one of the best Sundance’s in a long time, with about a huge number of films acquiring distribution in comparison to previous years. And while I think the overall quality was incredibly high, there were only a handful of films that stood out above the rest. Most of the 36 films I saw were middle of the pack. Well-made, entertaining, thought-provoking, but ultimately not as exciting as one might hope. Only a select few stood out as the best, or worst.

To try and let the cream of the crop rise to the top, we’ve gone ahead and picked out or favorite, and least favorite, films of the Sundance Film Festival. Read all our lists after the jump. Read More »

UPDATE: Circumstance just won the US Dramatic Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Though it’ll probably never play in the country in which it’s set, attendees at the Sundance Film Festival were lucky enough to see Maryam Keshavarz‘s debut feature Circumstance. Hopefully soon, you will too. Set in modern day Tehran, Iran, this beautiful film focuses on two attractive high school girls named Shireen and Atafeh, played by Sarah Kazemy and Nikohl Boosheri, both making their acting debuts. Though the girls live in a country where women are treated as second class, Shireen and Atafeh use their good looks, talents and smarts to live life as free as humanly possible. The friends eventually develop feelings for each other but when Atafeh’s brother Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai) comes home, the girls’ liberal point of view is doomed to be challenged.

Circumstance is an increasingly claustrophobic love story set against impossible odds told with a frightening cultural context. Of the thirty plus films I’d seen at Sundance before it, it was the first film to get a legitimate standing ovation. Read More »

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