The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

Yesterday I posted part one of my two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. Today I return with the second installment, which takes a look at the best movies from the last 16 years of the festival as Park City became not only the mecca of American independent film but the launching pad for hundred million dollar award contenders.

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Saving Banksy Trailer

One of my favorite documentaries is Banksy‘s Exit Through The Gift Shop, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. That film, which was directed (or at very least edited) by Banksy himself, takes a look at the ride of street artist Mr. Brainwash using his story as a cautionary tale for the industry built around this artistic medium. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Films like HBO Documentary Films’ Banksy Does New York have come out, but none of them have been on the same level as Exit Through The Gift Shop. A trailer for a new documentary feature film titled Saving Banksy has shown up online, promising to tell “the true story of one misguided art collector’s attempt to save a Banksy from destruction and the auction block.” In the same way that Exit using the rise of a new street artist to explore deeper points, Saving Banksy also seems to use the main narrative to explore a broader issue of the value of street art in today’s society. Watch the Saving Banksy trailer now embedded after the jump.

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Exit Through the Gift Shop, the street-art documentary credited to Banksy, was one of the best films of 2010, and also one of the most challenged on the basis of authenticity. The film purports to chronicle the street art of Banksy and Shepard Fairey through the lens of a camera held by wealthy dilettante artist Thierry Guetta. At least that’s the basis for part of the film, before Banksy turned the cameras on Guetta as the latter became a wannabe artist named Mr. Brainwash.

Is the film ‘real’? Is Mr. Brainwash an actual practicing artist or part of a long con perpetrated by Banksy for the purpose of documentary satire? The story is so strange some assumed it couldn’t be true.

Now Ron English, another street artist with connections to Banksy, says the film is definitely real, and that it was born when Guetta refused to turn over hundreds of hours of video he’d shot of Fairey and Banksy in action. Read More »

POTD: Banksy Finally Responds To Oscar Loss?

Update: It has been confirmed that the art was not done by Banksy. Original story follows.

Everyone was excited to see what shenanigans would occur if Banksy‘s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop had won the Oscar. Alas, that sadly did not happen. The infamous street artist has been surprisingly quiet since the Academy Awards, after dropping a bunch of street art around Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the Oscars. But today the artist might have finally posted a response to the Oscars. The piece appears not in Los Angeles or Hollywood, but back in Banksy’s backyard — Weston, UK.

The piece seems to present an “I don’t need your stupid Oscar anyways” type attitude with imagery that insists that the award isn’t much more than a kid’s toy — but that is only my interpretation. The painting is also in reference to 15-month old Lara, who dropped and damaged her father The King’s Speech co-producer Simon Egan’s Oscar statue. If you havent seen that video yet, watch it after the jump. We’ve also included a close-up shot of what others are reporting to be Banksy’s latest.

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For an awards show that purports to honor outstanding achievements in film, the Academy Awards seem oddly drawn to the familiar. The movies with the most nominations at this year’s Oscar race, for example, are The King’s Speech and True Grit — two films with a great deal of critical acclaim backing them, but ones that are decidely lacking in any grand ambition beyond presenting a traditional, accessible story. The Oscars, it would appear, favor the classically good to the unconventionally good, leaving the latter out to be forgotten in a sea of mediocrity and predictability. This isn’t a shocking revelation; the Academy Awards have always favored films that adhere to a certain standard of genre filmmaking. A heart-rending, war-based drama about one man’s uplifting struggle against adversity will always win out over the truly innovative, progressive, subversive films of our times. Read More »

Ever since Banksy‘s Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, the question has been what would happen if he actually won. The internationally acclaimed street artist is almost as well known for his secret identity as he is for his actual art, and two weeks ago it was revealed that his plan had been to show up at the ceremony in a monkey mask — only to have the Academy shoot that idea down. Or not.  A recent quote from Tom Sherak that suggests that the mask might still happen. Read more details after the jump.

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The issue of Banksy‘s anonymity isn’t the only point of contention hanging over this coming Sunday’s Oscar festivities. The artist-turned-filmmaker’s picture, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is anticipated to take home the award for Best Documentary, but is it actually a documentary? That niggling concern has resulted in much debate ever since the film’s first screening at the Sundance Film Festival last year, and now more than ever, the need for cogent confirmation on the matter has become something of a necessity.

This raises the question: Where has Mr. Brainwash been throughout all of this? Banksy recently spoke out about the veracity of the film, proclaiming that it’s “100% true”. It’s no surprise that he’d make such a claim; he directed the film. But what of the man whose image could have conceivably been tarnished by the film? Where does he stand regarding the film’s authenticity, and does he constitute a credible source? Read what he had to say after the break.
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Two things we obviously love on /Film are limited edition art prints and Banksy. Banksy has been in the news lately because his directorial debut, Exit Through the Gift Shop, was nominated for an Oscar and seeming everyday we run Cool Stuff posters of limited edition screenprints from Mondo, Spoke Art, Tommy Good and a ton of other vendors. Film and print art just seem to go together well.

A new short documentary called Printing Banksy: Modern Multiples Creates the LA Prints proves that point. This 15 minute film puts a new spin on Banksy’s 2006 Los Angeles art show Barely Legal, which is a huge part of Exit Through the Gift Shop by focusing on the prints that came out of it. Filmmakers Brad Beyer and Robert Dragan were lucky enough to speak to the man responsible for making Banksy’s limited edition prints for that show and story behind them is fascinating. You can check out the film after the break. Read More »

What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 40 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Best Documentary has evolved into one of the most anticipated categories at this Sunday’s Oscar ceremony because of one man: Banksy. The famous street artist and director of the nominated film Exit Through the Gift Shop prefers to keep his identity a secret so the instant the film was nominated, certain questions began to arise. Would Banksy show up to the Oscars? Would he plan some kind stunt? Would he show up in a monkey mask? Well, that last scenario was Banksy’s plan but now the street artist has flat out been denied by the Academy for fear of “copycat gatecrashers” both on the red carpet and on stage should he win. (Which just might happen, due to the film’s weekend win of the Eddie for Best Editing of a Documentary.)

In even more disheartening Banksy news, several of his latest works that popped up in the Los Angeles area have been removed or defaced. We’ve got the details and videos after the jump, plus we discuss why the Oscars actually need Bansky. Read More »