The Sundance Film Festival has been an independent film institution for years, but for the first time, even if you can’t get to Park City, you can still experience the joys of discovering new and exciting films through a new partnership between Sundance Selects, the new video-on-demand film label, and the Sundance Institute.
Sundance Selects and the Sundance Institute are collaborating to bring films from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to a national audience for the first time via an on-demand platform, giving film lovers coast-to-coast the opportunity to experience a major film festival as it happens right from their own living room. As part of the “Direct From the Sundance Film Festival” initiative, a select group of three films screening at the festival will simultaneously be available in 40 million homes–and virtually all major U.S. markets–nationwide on-demand through the Sundance Selects VOD label. The films in the partnership represent the broad range of cinematic expression found in this year´s festival, from a highly anticipated documentary, to a thrilling Park City at Midnight title, and a critically acclaimed comedy.
It’s a bold move, because being available in 40 million homes and being downloaded in them are two different things. As festival publicists point out, this is a defining moment for a new decade of independent film, giving emerging and established filmmakers new models to explore outside the standard distribution system, and what happens here could determine the future of independent films.
Here are the three films that will be available:
NAOMI KLEIN´S “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” DIRECTED BY MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM AND MAT WHITECROSS
Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross´ eye-opening socio-political documentary “The Shock Doctrine” will make its North American premiere simultaneously at the festival and on-demand on Thursday, January 28. Closely based on the best-selling book by Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine” seeks to explain the rise of disaster capitalism: the exploitation of moments of crisis in vulnerable countries by governments and big business. The film traces the doctrine´s beginnings in the radical theories of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, and its subsequent implementation over the past 40 years in countries as disparate as Augusto Pinochet´s Chile, Boris Yeltsin´s Russia, Margaret Thatcher´s Great Britain, and most recently through the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Winterbottom and Whitecross present a cinematic experience that takes this theory to a new audience, making heavy use of archival images, offset with new footage of Klein’s interviews.
“DADDY LONGLEGS” FROM THE SAFDIE BROTHERS
Making its North American premiere on Friday, January 22nd is “Daddy Longlegs” (formerly known as “Go Get Some Rosemary”), Josh and Benny Safdie´s autobiographical fairy tale and bittersweet comedy about the responsibilities of parenthood. Divorced and alone, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) is the father of two young boys who he gets to see a couple of weeks a year. He cherishes these days with the kids, being both stern parent and lovable buddy, inventing myths and somehow living them, all while working overtime in the big city. When the going gets tough, Lenny uses some unusual, perhaps even hazardous, techniques to keep the kids safe from the world. With a fluid style, the Safdie brothers (whose previous credits include the acclaimed “The Pleasure of Being Robbed”) capture the magic of parenthood, invoking memories of their inventive dad from their own childhood.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT´S “7 DAYS”
Making its World Premiere on Friday, January 22nd, as part of the Park City at Midnight program, Daniel Grou´s dark and gritty “7 DAYS” (based on the best-selling novel from Patrick Senecal, known as the Stephen King of Canada) centers on a successful surgeon whose world is torn apart by the murder of his eight-year-old daughter. The father embarks on a quest for revenge against the perpetrator of this heinous crime, and in a game of cat and mouse with the police detectives assigned to the case, he successfully kidnaps the accused murderer as he is transported to the courthouse. With the roles now reversed, this father-turned-predator drives his prey to a remote cabin, where seven days of unspeakable torture await. He even keeps the police apprised of his plan, vowing to turn himself in after the execution of this alleged monster. Director Daniel Grou aka Podz does a masterful job of immersing the audience in this dark and gritty world, deftly capturing the psyche of a sane man gone mad. “7 DAYS” is an eye-for-an-eye tale that is chock-full of tension, suspense, and inner conflict.