Category Archives: Sundance Film Festival


Posted by Larry Gleeson


Park City, UT January 16, 2019 – For the festival opening weekend in Park City, Utah, veteran special events producer Imagine Events and its sponsor partners led by Airthereum will turn two locations—the former Rock & Reilly’s and parts of Park City Live at 427 Main Street—into two of the hottest destinations in Park City as they host the wildly ambitious inaugural “Fly Lounge” film, technology, wellness and finance programs.

By day, The Fly Lounge, owned and produced by Imagine Events, is a pop-up hospitality haven with an expansive program of panels, technology demos, workshops, experiences and gifting programmed inside and adjacent to the sprawling Park City Live Complex on Main Street. By night, the venues are transformed to accommodate private screenings, celebrity-studded events, film premiere parties, and live performances for official festival selections.

“We’re delighted to return to Park City to support independent film,” says Imagine Events’ Amanda Pool, whose team has a collective 26+ years experience hosting branded events in Park City. “This year’s Park City ventures combine our production, filmmaker, talent, health and wellness, and technology brand partners to bring a world-class event experience to a world-class resort city. We thank our key sponsors for supporting the program and making the events possible.”

The daytime program unfolds each day at two venues at 427 Main:

LA’s hottest beauty boutique and nationally recognized brand GBY Beauty ( will offer their exclusive Active Lash lash extension treatment and Swarovski “Tooth Gems”; yes, guests can actually bedazzle their teeth at Fly Lounge. Hip hop brand Rich and Ruthless will be sampling VIP guests with gear ( Guests can also enjoy a full-service smoothie, fresh juice and vegan Bloody Mary bar, while Crater Lake Spirits will be sampling Crater Lake Whiskey and other adult beverages (

TRIPP will provide guests demos of their immersive VR technology for health and wellness ( Feeling low? If guests have the nerve, they can even get an IV recharge to prepare them for the night.

  • Nearby, The Fly Lounge Technology Center is equipped with the cutting-edge immersive technology experiences in AR, VR, AI, blockchain and more. The Fly Lounge Tech Center pairs experiential education in multiple technology media, daytime panels and a hosted brunch, daily. The venue’s demo room provides nonstop experiences showcasing the newest content in 360 VR and AR that demonstrates how filmmakers can use the technology to enhance their storytelling. The Wild Immersion, endorsed by Jane Goodall, will reveal the world’s first “virtual reserve,” which uses VR to share an unrivaled 360-degree journey into nature’s majestic territories. It’s presented in conjunction with the Blue Mind Fund, a non-profit starting a global conversation about the intersection between wild waters and the human brain. Other firms taking part including AR Wall (; The VR games Beat Saber (; and blockchain provider Nasgo ( Fly Lounge will also present THE MESSY TRUTH VR Experience, a virtual reality series created by CNN”s Van Jones and Elijah Allan-Blitz. The goal of the experience is to put the viewer in the shoes of someone else, with the first episode starring Winston Duke from BLACK PANTHER. The viewer looks through the eyes of a twelve year-old African American boy in the car with his dad as they’re pulled over by the police.

In evening hours, Imagine and sponsors will co-host the annual ChefDance cocktail hour and private dinner services presented for the films, sponsors and talent participating in the program and the festivals. This legendary supper club and lounge has been a part of Park City’s festival scene for the last seventeen years and each ChefDance pairs a different theme with a world-class chef to make the festival food experience match the film experience (; Friday’s chef, presented by Rich and Ruthless, is Chef Casey Lane of Viale Di Romani in West Hollywood, CA. Other chefs TBA.

Fly Lounge’s evening program also includes screenings as well as hosted receptions and performances for four official Sundance premieres, including: Justin Chon’s US Dramatic Competition Selection MS. PURPLE; Tayarisha Poe’s NEXT Selection SELAH AND THE SPADES; Sophie Hyde’s Sundance Premiere ANIMALS; and an exclusive live performance by the Wu-Tang Clan in celebration of their Sundance Indie Episodic selection, OF MICS AND MEN.

Fly Lounge will also screen three films: SLASHER PARTY with Danny Trejo, Ray J, Princess, Vitaly; Ray J’s visual Album RAYDEMPTION, featuring Snoop Dogg, Too Short, Princess Love, Jackie Long, and Brandy; and two-time Academy Award-winner Malcolm Clarke’s documentary BETTER ANGELS, which examines the US-China relationship on the 40th anniversary of Jimmy Carter’s landmark normalization of relations with China.

Finally, Fly Lounge wraps each night with an after-hours lineup with special film and musical talent such as the Legacy Tour with Lil Easy E and E-3.

In summary, The Fly Lounge stands to make a tremendous impression on its first outing in Park City. “It’s the most comprehensive guest experience and entertainment program we’ve ever presented,” concludes Pool. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the industry to Park City in a substantial and impactful way.”

About Fly by Airthereum

The “Fly” app by Airthereum ( provides AI-powered concierge jet travel in minutes. Airthereum designed Fly with blockchain technology to make access to private travel faster by placing the power in the hands of app users.

Fly incorporates voice-activated jet reservations, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology to provide on-demand pricing from multiple leading private aviation carriers, increasing efficiencies and reducing the reliance on middlemen. Additionally, Fly can process many forms of payment including over 50 cryptocurrencies. Fly champions a faster, cheaper and smarter solution than its competitors to the $20 billion-dollar private aviation ecosystem.

Airtherium CEO Stuart Bullard combined his app programming expertise with his extensive background in various aircraft technologies to provide a vision for the trajectory of Fly. He’s also a multi type-rated commercial pilot, and has served as a music producer, notably to Dr. Dre.

About NUGL

 Headquartered in Chino Hills, CA, NUGL Inc. (OTC: NUGL) is an unbiased search engine and online directory for the marijuana industry that adjusts rankings based on community input. NUGL database includes listings for dispensaries, strains, doctors, lawyers, service professionals, vape shops, hydro stores and brands. The company focuses on leading the evolution in business relations, development and organic data in the cannabis industry with metasearch technology. Additionally, with the brand-centric search engine software, consumers can very easily find stores offering their favorite products while various brands can promote their offerings for sales and distribution.

About Imagine Events

Imagine Events’ experienced team of internationally recognized producers have created events and interactive experiences at film festivals across the world. Imagine events by the numbers include events for:

  • Actors, writers & directors who have won 85 Oscarsâ, 72 BAFTAsâ, 50 Emmysâ, and 115 Golden Globesâ.
  • The premieres of films which have gone on to win 37 Oscars (3 Best Picture), 29 BAFTAs and 15 Globes.
  • Over 30 live concerts including performances by Ice Cube, Warren G, Martina McBride, the Meat Puppets, Dierks Bentley, Snoop Dogg and Will.I.Am.
  • Celebrity chefs and culinary partners from the top kitchens around the world.
  • Over 10,000+ influencers and VIPs at Park City over the years including influencers such as Spike Lee, Idris Elba, The Black-Eyed Peas, Sandra Bullock, and Paul Oakenfold, among others.

See you at the movies!

(Source: Press release provided by Alexa Oliphant, Platform Media Group)



Eight Indigenous-Made Films to See at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

This year, eight Indigenous-made films from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States will be premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The Native American and Indigenous Film Program has a global focus and through its work strengthens Indigenous cinema.

Filmmakers supported over the years include Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muskogee), Taika Waititi (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), Billy Luther (Diné/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Iñupiaq), Aurora Guerrero (Xicana), Sydney Freeland (Diné), Ciara Leina’ala Lacy (Kanaka Maoli), Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga), and Shaandiin Tome (Diné).

Following President and Founder Robert Redford’s original vision, Sundance Institute has remained committed to supporting Native American artists throughout the Institute’s history. This support has established a rich legacy of work and has supported more than 300 filmmakers through labs, grants, mentorships, public programs, and the platform of the Sundance Film Festival.



Top End Wedding / Australia (Director: Wayne Blair (Batjala Mununjali Wakkawakka), Screenwriters: Joshua Tyler, Miranda Tapsell (Larrakia Nation), Producers: Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne, Kate Croser) — Lauren and Ned are engaged, they are in love, and they have just ten days to find Lauren’s mother who has gone AWOL somewhere in the remote far north of Australia, reunite her parents and pull off their dream wedding. Cast: Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Shari Sebbens. World Premiere


MERATA: How Mum Decolonised The Screen / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Hepi Mita (Ngati Pikiao/Ngai te Rangi), Producer: Chelsea Winstanley) — An intimate portrayal of pioneering filmmaker Merata Mita, told through the eyes of her children. Using hours of archive footage, some never before seen, her youngest child discovers the filmmaker he never knew and shares with the world the mother he lost. International Premiere

Words from a Bear / U.S.A. (Director: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa), Producer: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa) — A visual journey into the mind and soul of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Navarro Scott Momaday, relating each written line to his unique Native American experience representing ancestry, place and oral history. World Premiere



Fainting Spells / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño) — Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Indian Pipe Plant, used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted. Premiere

Shinaab, Part II / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lyle Corbine Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians) — A look at Ojibwe ideas surrounding the death process, as a young man strives to honor his late father. U.S. Premiere


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FAST HORSE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alexandra Lazarowich (Cree) — The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy. U.S. Premiere

Throat Singing in Kangirsuk / Canada (Directors: Eva Kaukai (Inuit), Manon Chamberland (Inuit), Screenwriters: Emilie Baillargeon and Clark Ferguson) — Eva and Manon practice the art of throat singing in their native Arctic land, in the small village of Kangirsuk. World Premiere


Birds in the Earth / Finland (Director and screenwriter: Marja Helander, Sámi) — Examining the deeper questions of the ownership of Sámi land through the ballet performances of two young dancers.


Native Filmmaker Lab Fellows

Two Fellows participated in the Native Filmmakers Lab with their projects in May 2018 and will end their year-long Fellowship at the Festival with ongoing support, screenings, guided film discussions, and networking events. At the Lab, the Fellows worked with a cast and crew to practice shooting scenes from their short films under the expert creative mentorship of Program alumni, Creative Advisors and Program staff. This Fellowship encourages Native filmmakers to hone their storytelling and technical skills in a hands-on and supportive environment. Following the Lab, Fellows receive a year-round continuum of support.

Erica Tremblay

Erica (Seneca-Cayuga/Wyandotte Nations) is an award-winning filmmaker and digital strategist. Her projects have screened at more than 60 film festivals and her work has been featured on PBS, CNN and IFC. Erica was recently named a 40 Under 40 Native American and she is currently studying her Indigenous language on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Ontario.

Little Chief

The lives of a Native woman and nine-year-old boy intersect over the course of a school day on a reservation in Oklahoma.

MorningStar Angeline Wilson

MorningStar Angeline (Navajo, Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, Latina) was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She began acting in theatre as a child and continued studying acting through college. She has been honored by the American Indian Film Festival and the New Mexico Film and Television Hall of Fame for her achievements in film. She is one of 2018 Native Lab recipients and her short film, Ahéhee’ Shizhé’é, completed production in August.

Ahéhee’ Shizhé’é (Thank you, Father)

A young woman struggles to come to terms with the legacy left to her after her father passes away from an unknown virus in a post-apocalyptic world. Through a series of dreams, she finds the strength to carry the traditions and medicine that was left to her.

Indigenous Film Fellows

Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis)

Award-winning filmmaker Danis Goulet’s films have screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Berlinale. She is an alumnus of the National Screen Institute and the TIFF Talent lab and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her feature script Night Raiders has received development support from the Sundance Institute and was selected for the International Financing Forum at TIFF.

Night Raiders

The near future. A military occupation controls disenfranchised cities in post-war North America. Children are property of the State. Niska, a Cree mother, is on the run with her daughter Waseece to keep her from being sent to the State’s education camps, known as the Academies. When they are forced to leave their home, Niska makes the painstaking decision to send Waseece to Academies, only to later realize she has made a terrible mistake. Niska finds an underground band of Cree vigilantes who raid the Academies at night. She joins the raiders, determined to find and get her daughter back.

Miciana Hutcherson (Tlingit)

Miciana Hutcherson, whose Tlingit name is Aak’w Tu Shaa, is Raven Dog Salmon, with family from Angoon, Alaska. She was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska where she was a member of the All Nations Children Dance Group and graduated from Juneau Douglas High School. Miciana is a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Indigenous and American Indian Studies. Currently, she’s pursuing a second degree in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University. She has interned with various media companies and organizations ranging from the Native American Journalists Association, to the BET Awards with Jessie Collins Entertainment, to the Sundance Institute. She also served as Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska 2016-2017 Executive Council Emerging Leader where she attended various tribal leadership conferences and the peaceful protests at Standing Rock.

Marked By Milestones

In this life a woman’s biggest challenges are the love she chooses to accept, the tough love her mother offers, and the lack of love a father leaves behind. Mia will have to face them all to find herself.

Art of Nonfiction Fellow

The Art of Nonfiction Fellowship supports artists with a distinct voice and vision and provides them with an unrestricted grant and year-long fellowship track tailored to their creative aspirations and challenges. Art of Nonfiction is made possible by funding support from Cinereach. Generous additional support is provided by Genuine Article Pictures and Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman.

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño)

Sky Hopinka was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is currently based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His video work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture, and the play between the known and the unknowable. His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Talent Forum

For the first time, this year’s Festival will include a Forum for exciting talent from the Institute’s signature artist development Labs and programs to present new work to industry attendees, alongside a special artist-only program of keynotes, screenings, gatherings, and seminars. From Tuesday, January 29, through Thursday, January 31, the Sundance Institute Talent Forum will feature some of the most promising storytellers from across the Institute’s various disciplines ready for the next step with their careers or projects. This new, highly curated, invitation-only program aims to create a signature experience for artists and industry alike.

Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., Writer/Director (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. is a filmmaker whose short film Shinaab played at the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and AFI Fest. His follow-up short, Shinaab: Part II, premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and will screen at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. He was supported at the 2018 Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs and has been awarded grants and fellowships from Cinereach, the McKnight Foundation and the Time Warner Foundation.

Blake Pickens, Producer (Chickasaw)

Blake Pickens is an Emmy Award-winning Chickasaw filmmaker. Pickens began his career writing satire for National Lampoon. He was selected for the Sundance Institute Indigenous Producers Fellowship and the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellowship. His film The Land premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by IFC Films. His commercials have won multiple Grands Prix at Cannes Lions, and he also won an MTV VMA for his work on the music video for John Legend’s “Surefire.”

Merata Mita Fellowship

On Monday, January 28, Sundance Institute will announce the recipient of an annual fellowship named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita, New Zealand’s first Indigenous female filmmaker. In addition to being a global advocate for Indigenous voices, Merata was a trusted creative advisor and artistic director at the Native Lab, and a dear friend to the Institute. Each year Sundance Institute identifies a Native or Indigenous filmmaker from a global pool of nominees to award a cash grant and provide a year-long continuum of support with activities including a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, access to strategic and creative services offered by Sundance Institute artist programs, and mentorship opportunities. The Merata Mita Fellowship is supported by the Consulate General of Canada, Indigenous Media Initiatives, Anonymous, Fenton Bailey and Billy Luther, and Sarah Luther.

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Robert Redford: A Brief Statement About Big Things

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Tonight, for the first time I can remember, I feel out of place in the country I was born into and the citizenship I’ve loved my whole life. For weeks I’ve watched with sadness as our civil servants have failed us, turning toward bigotry, mean-spiritedness, and mockery as the now-normal tools of the trade.

How can we expect the next generation to step up and serve, to be interested in public life, and to aspire to get involved when all we show them is how to spar, attack, and destroy each other?

It’s hard to blame young people for calling us out, and pointing to our conflicts between the values we declare, and those we stand behind only when it’s convenient to partisanship. Many people are rightly calling it a damn mess.

But I want to encourage you to dig deep for hope and civility right now—to try to make connections with people you disagree with, to be better than our politicians.

We don’t have to share the same motivations to want the same outcomes. Let’s focus on each other, and strengthening our communities, and reflecting on what’s happening. Let’s live in justice and respect and let others fight it out now to the bitter ends.

This is our country too. Every woman, man, and child in it, our American future.

We’ve got work to do.

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Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Pahokee, photo by Patrick Bresnan


For the 2019 Festival, slated to run January 24th through February 3rd, 2019, 112 feature-length films were selected from a record high of 14,259 submissions including 4,018 feature-length films, representing 33 countries and 45 first-time filmmakers. Of the feature film submissions, 1,767 were from the U.S. and 2,251 were international; 31% were directed by one or more women; 38% were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 11% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQIA. 24 films are supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs. In addition, 102 of the Festival’s feature films, or 91% of the lineup, will be world premieres.

The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film, held each January in and around Park City, Utah. Presenting dramatic and documentary feature-length films from emerging and established artists, innovative short films, filmmaker forums and panels, live music performances, cutting-edge media installations, and engaging community programs, the Festival is known for bringing together the most original storytellers of our time.

Robert Redford, pictured below, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, recently said this about storytellers,

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“Society relies on storytellers.

The choices they make, and the risks they take, define our collective experience.

This year’s Festival is full of storytellers who offer challenges, questions and entertainment.

In telling their stories, they make difficult decisions in the pursuit of truth and art; culture reaps the reward.”



Supported by the non-profit Sundance Institute, the Sundance Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex, lies, and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Trouble the Water, and Central Station and, through its New Frontier initiative, has brought the cinematic works of media artists including Isaac Julian, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Matthew Barney.

In 2018, the Festival drew 124,900 attendees from 49 U.S. states and 26 other countries, generated $191.6 million in economic activity for the state of Utah and supported 3,323 local jobs.

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 23 – February 2, 2020.

Stay tuned for this year’s program! Until then….

I’ll see you at the movies!

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Netflix snags NOLA-shot ‘Mudbound’ in $12.5 million deal: report

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Mike Scott,

Mudbound, the New Orleans-shot race drama that debuted this month at the Sundance Film Festival to sweeping acclaim, has been picked up by Netflix. The online streaming service paid $12.5 million for distribution rights to director Dee Rees’ film, the biggest deal to come out of this year’s fest, according to Variety and other industry publications.

With Mudbound being hailed as an instant contender for next year’s Oscars, Netflix will reportedly release the film simultaneously online and in theaters, following it with an award-season campaign. It is unclear how soon Netflix plans to release the film.


Based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel of the same name, “Mudbound” tracks the complicated relationship between two families — one white, the other black — living in rural Mississippi just after World War II. Carey Mulligan plays a refined Memphis woman who relocates with her new husband (Jason Clarke) and their two young daughters to the Delta. Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige play the heads of a black family that farms cotton on a leased part of Mulligan and Clarke’s land.

Also starring are Garret Hedlund and New Orleans native Jason Mitchell.



Posted by Larry Gleeson



Ceremony Caps Snowy Festival; Top Prizes Go To Dina, I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.,  Last Men in Aleppo, The Nile Hilton Incident 

Chasing Coral, Crown Heights, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language) and Gook Win Audience Awards


Park City, Utah — After 10 days, 119 feature films and three feet of snow, an evening of humor and humanity marked the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s Awards Ceremony, with host Jessica Williams emceeing and jurors presenting 27 prizes for feature filmmaking in Park City, Utah. Honorees, named in total below, range from sharp comedies to provocative and timely documentaries and represent new achievements in global independent storytelling. Human stories prevailed across categories, with Grand Jury Prizes awarded to Dina (U.S. Documentary), Last Men in Aleppo (World Documentary), I don’t feel at home in this world anymore. (U.S. Dramatic) and The Nile Hilton Incident (World Dramatic). Chasing Coral, showcased in the Festival’s environmental program The New Climate, won an Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary category.

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival (Photo via twitter)

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “This has been one of the wildest, wackiest and most rewarding Festivals in recent memory. From a new government to the independently organized Women’s March on Main, to power outages, a cyberattack and snow at record levels, the work of our artists rose above it all and challenged and changed us these last 10 days. I am most proud that, through it all, we have formed a community that is bound tighter by the art we make and the ideas we support.”

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute (Photo via Sundance Institute)

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, added, “Let’s take the amazing energy we feel here at the Festival when we share stories with one another, and work together on behalf of the arts for the future we want to see.”

The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the 2017 Festival, where 119 feature-length and 68 short films — selected from 13,782 submissions — were showcased in Park City, Salt Lake City and Sundance, Utah, alongside new episodic work, panels, music and New Frontier. The ceremony was live-streamed; video is available at

This year’s jurors, invited in recognition of their accomplishments in the arts, technical craft and visionary storytelling, deliberated extensively before presenting awards from the stage; this year’s jurors were Diego Buñuel, Julie Goldman, Robert Greene, Susan Lacy, Larry Wilmore, Gael García Bernal, Peter Dinklage, Jody Hill, Jacqueline Lyanga, Jeannine Oppewall, Nai An, Sonia Braga, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Carl Spence, Marina Stavenhagen and Lynette Wallworth. Festival audiences voted for the Audience Awards in each of the U.S. and World Competitions and NEXT.

Feature film award winners in previous years include: Weiner, Sand Storm, The Birth of a Nation, Whiplash, Fruitvale Station, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Searching for Sugarman, The Square, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Cartel Land, The Wolf Pack, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Dope, Dear White People, The Cove and Man on Wire.


The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Larry Wilmore to:
Dina / U.S.A. (Directors: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini) — An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story.

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Peter Dinklage to:
I don’t feel at home in this world anymore. / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Macon Blair) — When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Lynette Wallworth to:
Last Men in Aleppo / Denmark, Syria (Director: Feras Fayyad) — After five years of war in Syria, Aleppo’s remaining residents prepare themselves for a siege. Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, have remained in the city to help their fellow citizens—and experience daily life, death, struggle and triumph in a city under fire.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Sonia Braga to:
The Nile Hilton Incident / Sweden, Germany, Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Tarik Saleh) — In Cairo, weeks before the 2011 revolution, Police Detective Noredin is working in the infamous Kasr el-Nil Police Station when he is handed the case of a murdered singer. He soon realizes that the investigation concerns the power elite, close to the President’s inner circle. Cast: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Mohamed Yousry, Yasser Ali Maher, Ahmed Selim, Hania Amar.

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura was presented by Barbara Kopple to:
Chasing Coral / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura was presented by Taylor Sheridan to:
Crown Heights / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Ruskin) — When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Adapted from This American Life, this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice. Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Barbara Kopple to:
Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Piscatella) — When the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong, teenager Joshua Wong decides to save his city. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Taylor Sheridan to:
Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language) / Mexico, Netherlands (Director: Ernesto Contreras, Screenwriter: Carlos Contreras) — The last two speakers of a millennia-old language haven’t spoken in 50 years, when a young linguist tries to bring them together. Yet hidden in the past, in the heart of the jungle, lies a secret concerning the fate of the Zikril language. Cast: Fernando Álvarez Rebeil, Eligio Meléndez, Manuel Poncelis, Fátima Molina, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Hoze Meléndez.

The Audience Award: NEXT, Presented by Adobe was presented by Bridget Everett to:
Gook / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Chon) — Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women’s shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend their store—and contemplate the meaning of family, their personal dreams and the future. Cast: Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Curtiss Cook Jr., Sang Chon, Ben Munoz.

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Susan Lacy to:
Peter Nicks for his film The Force / U.S.A. (Director: Peter Nicks) — This cinema verité look at the long-troubled Oakland Police Department goes deep inside their struggles to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson and an explosive scandal.

The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Jody Hill to:
Eliza Hittman for her film Beach Rats / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online. Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Marina Stavenhagen to:
Pascale Lamche, for her film WINNIE / France (Director: Pascale Lamche) — While her husband served a life sentence, paradoxically kept safe and morally uncontaminated, Winnie Mandela rode the raw violence of apartheid, fighting on the front line and underground. This is the untold story of the mysterious forces that combined to take her down, labeling him a saint, her, a sinner.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Athina Tsangari to:
Francis Lee, for his film God’s Own Country / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Francis Lee) — Springtime in Yorkshire: isolated young sheep farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path. Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones.

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Gael Garcia Bernal to:
Matt Spicer and David Branson Smith, for their film Ingrid Goes West / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Spicer, Screenwriters: Matt Spicer, David Branson Smith) — A young woman becomes obsessed with an Instagram “influencer” and moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking was presented by Julie Goldman to:
STEP / U.S.A. (Director: Amanda Lipitz) —  With dreams of becoming the first in their families to attend college, a group of seniors from an inner-city Baltimore girls high school strives to make their step dance team a success against a backdrop of social unrest in a troubled city.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling was presented by Robert Greene to:
Strong Island / U.S.A., Denmark (Director: Yance Ford) — Examining the violent death of the filmmaker’s brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free, this documentary interrogates murderous fear and racialized perception, and re-imagines the wreckage in catastrophe’s wake, challenging us to change.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing was presented by Diego Buñuel to:
Editors Kim Roberts and Emiliano Battista for Unrest / U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Brea) — When Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea is struck down at 28 by a fever that leaves her bedridden, doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” Determined to live, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story—and four other families’ stories—fighting a disease medicine forgot.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: The Orwell Award was presented by Diego Buñuel to:
ICARUS / U.S.A. (Director: Bryan Fogel) — When Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller involving dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic Gold—exposing the biggest scandal in sports history.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography was presented by Gael Garcia Bernal to:
Director of Photography Daniel Landin for The Yellow Birds / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: David Lowery, R.F.I. Porto) — Two young men enlist in the army and are deployed to fight in the Iraq War. After an unthinkable tragedy, the returning soldier struggles to balance his promise of silence with the truth and a mourning mother’s search for peace. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Patric, Toni Collette, Jennifer Aniston.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance was presented by Jacqueline Lyanga to:
Chanté Adams, in Roxanne Roxanne / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Larnell) — The most feared battle MC in early-’80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend. Cast: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips, Shenell Edmonds.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Director was presented by Jeannine Oppewall to:
Maggie Betts, for her film Novitiate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maggie Betts) — In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church. Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography was presented by Marina Stavenhagen to:
Cinematographer Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva for Machines / India, Germany, Finland (Director: Rahul Jain) — This intimate, observant portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision was presented by Carl Spence to:
Motherland / U.S.A., Philippines (Director: Ramona S. Diaz) —  Taking us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital, the viewer is dropped like an unseen outsider into the hospital’s stream of activity. At first, the people are strangers. As the film continues, it’s absorbingly intimate, rendering the women at the heart of the story increasingly familiar.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling was presented by Lynette Wallworth to:
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World / Canada (Directors: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana) — This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture. Cast: Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Steven Tyler, Iggy Pop.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematography was presented by Athina Tsangari to:
Cinematographer Manu Dacosse for Axolotl Overkill / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Helene Hegemann) — Mifti, age 16, lives in Berlin with a cast of characters including her half-siblings; their rich, self-involved father; and her junkie friend Ophelia. As she mourns her recently deceased mother, she begins to develop an obsession with Alice, an enigmatic, and much older, white-collar criminal. Cast: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Arly Jover, Mavie Hörbiger, Laura Tonke, Hans Löw, Bernhard Schütz.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision was presented by Sonia Braga to:
Free and Easy / Hong Kong (Director: Jun Geng, Screenwriters: Jun Geng, Yuhua Feng, Bing Liu) — When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results. Cast: Xu Gang, Zhang Zhiyong, Xue Baohe, Gu Benbin, Zhang Xun, Yuan Liguo.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenplay was presented by Nai An to:
Screenwriter Kirsten Tan for Pop Aye / Singapore, Thailand (Director and screenwriter: Kirsten Tan) — On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand in search of the farm where they grew up together. Cast: Thaneth Warakulnukroh, Penpak Sirikul, Bong.

The following awards were presented at separate ceremonies at the Festival:

Jury prizes and honorable mentions in short filmmaking were presented at a ceremony in Park City on January 24. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: And so we put goldfish in the pool. / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa). The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Lucia, Before and After / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anu Valia). The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: And The Whole Sky Fit In The Dead Cow’s Eye / Chile, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Francisca Alegría). The Short Film Jury Award: Non-Fiction was presented to: Alone / U.S.A. (Director: Garrett Bradley). The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Broken – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck / Germany (Directors: Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Screenwriters: Alexander Lahl, Max Mönch). A Short Film Special Jury Award for Cinematography was presented to: Dadyaa — The Woodpeckers of Rotha / Nepal, France (Directors and screenwriters: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet, Cinematographer: Chintan Rajbhandari),
and a Short Film Special Jury Award for Editing was presented to: Laps / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Wells, editor Blair McClendon).

The Short Film jurors were costume designer and wardrobe stylist Shirley Kurata, comedian, actor and writer Patton Oswalt and filmmaker David Lowery. The Short Film program is presented by YouTube.

The winning directors and projects of the 2017 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Awards, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world on the basis of their next screenplay, are:
Yalda (Iran) / Massoud Bakhshi

Mignonnes (France) / Maimouna Doucoure

The Hanged (Brazil) / Fernando Coimbra

Untitled Rock Opera (Poland) / Agnieszka Smoczynska

The Sundance Institute / NHK Award was presented to: I Came By (United Kingdom) / Babak Anvari

The 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, presented to an outstanding feature film about science or technology, was presented to Marjorie Prime, written and directed by Michael Almereyda. The filmmaker received a $20,000 cash award from Sundance Institute with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Anish Savjani and Neil Kopp (producers, I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.) and Joslyn Barnes (producer, Strong Island) received the 2017 Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Awards. The award recognizes bold vision and a commitment to continuing work as a creative producer in the independent space, and grants money (via the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program) to emerging producers of films at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Manchester by the Sea, Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2017 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, AT&T, DIRECTV, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – American Airlines, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Creators League Studio, Daydream, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, The Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, Jaunt, Kickstarter, Oculus and the University of Utah Health. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Sponsor seal at their venues at the Festival.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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(Source: Press release courtesy of

More distribution deals struck at Sundance ’17

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From the Salt Lake Tribune Staff

Another space of distribution deals have been made this week at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival:

• Fox Searchlight bought worldwide distribution rights to “Patti Cake$,” director Geremy Jasper’s crowd-pleasing tale of a white New Jersey girl (Danielle McDonald) who pursues his dreams of being a rap star. It played in the U.S. Dramatic competition.

• Fox Searchlight also picked up worldwide distribution rights to Amanda Lipitz’s documentary “Step,” which follows the progress of a step team at an inner-city Baltimore school. Fox Searchlight also acquired the remake rights. The movie played in the U.S. Documentary competition.

• Sony Pictures Classics has bought worldwide rights to the comedy “Brigsby Bear,” which played in the U.S. Dramatic competition. Directed by Dave McCary and filmed in Utah, the movie stars Kyle Mooney (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a young man whose life is upended, and he discovers the children’s TV show he watched his entire life was made for an audience of one.

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Roadside Attractions and FilmNation teamed up to secure North American rights to “Beatriz at Dinner,” starring Salma Hayek as a holistic therapist who encounters a businessman (John Lithgow) at a dinner party. The movie, which played in the Premieres section, was directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White.

• Amazon picked up the true-life drama “Crown Heights,” starring Lakeith Stansfield as a Brooklyn man wrongfully imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. The movie was directed by Matt Ruskin.

• Amazon also has picked up worldwide theatrical rights to “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s documentary (in the U.S. Documentary competition) about a citizen-journalist group risking life and limb to get out information about the Islamic State’s atrocities in Syria. The movie was produced by A&E Indie Films, and A&E will retain the TV rights.

• IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to “78/52,” director Alexandre O. Phillippe’s documentary (which played in the Midnight section) that dissects the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

• RLJ Entertainment landed U.S. rights to the Midnight title “Bushwick.” The movie, directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott and starring Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista, is set in a near-future in which a secessionist Texas militia invades Brooklyn.