Tag Archives: Lena Dunham

Sundance Day Three Recap and a Look at Day Four

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Posted by Larry Gleeson

Emma Thompson, Amy Poehler, Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Lena Dunham, and More
Participate in the Third Day of Sundance Film Festival 

PARK CITY, UT (January 22, 2022) – Sundance Film Festival welcomed audiences to an action-packed weekend with the third day of premiere screenings and conversations featuring some of the most notable visionaries in independent film, new media, and culture-at-large, including Emma Thompson, Karen Gillan, Amy Poehler, Aaron Paul, Lena Dunham, Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Scott Speedman, W. Kamau Bell, Nina Menkes, Riley Stearns, Daniel Hart, Saul Williams, Drum & Lace, Sophie Hyde, Katy Brand, Daryl McCormack, and more.

Emma Thompson discussed her very intimate, vulnerable role in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande; Lena Dunham discussed how female sexuality is depicted on screen with the Sharp Stick cast including Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Scott Speedman, and Taylour Paige; Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul highlighted their surprising dance skills in Dual; Director W. Kamau Bell shared insight on the power of celebrity magnetism, especially in the case of Bill Cosby; and Lucie Arnaz expressed her trust in having Amy Poehler direct the documentary on her parents in Lucy and Desi.

Each year, Sundance serves as a cultural launchpad, helping to expand audience horizons through film and the conversations that occur the minute that credits roll. Continuing to foster this spirit of discussion into 2022, Sundance Film Festival programs a series of panels across discipline and topics to keep the conversation going.

DAY THREE HIGHLIGHTS

  • FILM Q&As We Need to Talk About Cosby Panel
        • W. KAMAU BELL (Director) on the power of celebrity magnetism to muddle reality: “How we confuse a celebrity’s image with their reality. So, R. Kelly was selling an R- rated image, which is very different from what Bill Cosby was selling. We can look at white celebrities, too, and see that just because we like a celebrity a lot, doesn’t mean that that’s who they really are. That’s one of the ultimate lessons of this film, and it’s harder for Black folks because we don’t have as many powerful figures in the media who are celebrities. So, we really hyper-focus on the few that we have.”
        • RENEE GRAHAM (Journalist, Featured In The Film) on the protections Cosby had from the media:  “There were several journalists that had said, “yeah, I heard things but I didn’t want to lose access to people in the industry.” They didn’t want to be the one to bring down the icon. And Bill Cosby PREYED on that to continue getting away with it. I don’t think it was a coincidence that at the height of his powers, in the 1980s with The Cosby Show, that his criminality escalated because he had even more access, but he had even more protection from people.”
        • MAUREEN RYAN (Journalist, Featured In The Film) on the importance of media literacy in these cases: – “I get asked all the time, ‘how can you separate the art from the artist?’ The art is in service to the artist’s image. The image that they have constructed in many ways is the thing that allows them to operate in the way they do.”
        • LISE LOTTE-LUBLIN (Subject & Survivor) on the conflicting feelings about the “fatherly hero” she’d known all her life and the man himself: “As a survivor of this, I found out in 2014 the actual circumstances of what happened because I don’t have actual memory of the actual incident, but one of the things that was extremely overwhelming for me whas to fight all of those glorious feelings that i had with Bill Cosby as a child growing up. Loving his shows and repeating his comments and laughing at his jokes – there was a lot of happiness around that. And when I realized what he had done to me, versus what I grew up loving and feeling (adoring him), it was such a conflict in me.”
        • BARBARA BOWMAN (Subject & Survivor) on Cosby’s elaborate facade: “It’s so profound how he was able to perform in his private life the way he performed in his public life. I don’t know how he had time to do both… We’re touching on some important things about culture – people don’t want to shatter their illusion. They’ve grown up with an icon, they’ve grown up with a father figure – America’s favorite dad.”
    • BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power Panel
          • JOEY SOLOWAY (Subject – Creator of Transparent) on the objectification of women in cinema: “It’s a state of emergency,” and although there’s a lot of work ahead, they see Nina Menkes’ film as a step forward towards equality on and off screen, “we are making history whether we’re on the mountain or not.”
      • Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Panel | LINK TO STILLSSOPHIE HYDE (Director) and Katy Brand (Screenwriter) on working with Dame Emma Thompson: “I always had Emma in my mind as Nancy. I wrote it with her voice and style and cadence.” (Katy) “I could see Emma in the writing.” (Sophie)
          • EMMA THOMPSON on coming on board: “I was thrilled to read it and read it in thirty seconds flat and wrote back and said ‘You have to do this! We have to make this! We absolutely have to make it. RIGHT NOW! Get on with it, well come on!’ It’s all ready, it’s beautiful. It’s perfect, like nothing I’d done before.” “It was very freeing. It was a beautiful experience.”
          • EMMA THOMPSON and DARYL MCCORMACK (actor) on portraying intimacy and vulnerability: “Part of our vulnerability and the ability that that has – seeing these two people face their own vulnerability is what gave each other access to dig further.” [Daryl] “As soon as we actually look into one another’s eyes and exchange our experiences and our humanity all of that just goes. It goes in an instant because we’re humans.” [Emma]
        • Screenwriter Katy Brand, director Sophie Hyde and actors Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack attend a Q&A moderated by Festival Director Tabitha Jackon and Director of Programming Kim Yutani following the virtual premiere of Good Luck to You Leo Grande, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. © 2022 Sundance Institute.
          • Dual PanelRILEY STEARNS (Director) on the inception of this unique concept about duality using clones for a film: “The initial idea came about where an actor would act opposite themselves, but then I really wanted to confront what that means, existentially and really think about who this person is. Is this a better version of you? How does that make you feel? How does that make you go forward in life? And then from there came up with the “duel” concept – fighting to the death.”
            • KAREN GILLAN (Lead Actor) on doubling up on lines and playing against herself, again: “I’ve actually acted opposite myself in two other films prior to this! Because I’ve acted in a lot of sci-fi and time travel [genres], I’ve met past and future versions of myself before. So that was something I’m weirdly accustomed to.”
            • AARON PAUL (Actor) and KAREN GILLAN (Actor) on the film’s surprising dance sequence:  [Aaron] “First of all, I can’t tell you how terrified I was to do that dance… we had the same dance instructor.” [Karen] “She basically, whenever we were dancing would laugh at us so directly, like she didn’t even try to stop herself from laughing. She was pointing and going ‘it’s so funny when you concentrate so hard.’ We were trying, we were really trying!”[Aaron] She would just aggressively point and go HAHA”
            • RILEY STEARNS (Director) on shooting in Finland: “ We were the very first U.S. production to be shot there all the way through. We had the best experience there…The coolest thing about it is that it really makes it feel like a new world, like Dual exists in an alternate reality.”

  • Sharp Stick PanelLENA DUNHAM (Director/Actor) on her character Sara Jo: “I was asking a lot of questions at the time of how we depict female sexuality on screen and how it’s inexplicably linked to trauma. I was thinking about some of the trauma in my life, and some of it being medical trauma and what it would be like to have a character informed by this medical trauma. That really created this naïve and specific worldview in her and when she meets someone who cracks it open.”
    • SCOTT SPEEDMAN (Actor) on what it was like to work with Lena: “It was a very safe space, and it was such a joy that you just never heard no, you didn’t feel controlled and that’s rare for me. It kind of created this environment where you felt like you could step out and do whatever you wanted to really let it go.”
    • LENA on what it means to create your own family: “I am a woman who can’t have biological children and thought a lot about what it means to make your own family and design your own family and how it’s just as meaningful.”
    • TAYLOR PAIGE (Actor) on standards in society: “She has a white mother and a white sister and compares herself to white standards of beauty and doesn’t realize the social media world she aspires to white influencers are actually influenced by black influencers and black culture.”
    • LENA on how she came about the title of the film: “It came from doctors in the UK who say if they give you a shot or take your blood it’s going to be a sharp poke or sharp scratch. It’s a way to comfort you. That made its way into a monologue of Sara Joe’s about trying to predict pain before it comes to dull the effects of it. It’s aggressively poetic.”
    • LENA on the porn industry: “Porn can liberate people. It’s an industry that is just as complicated as Hollywood and as vast and probably more prolific. It’s very important to recognize the very healthy role it can play and the role that porn actors can play in shaping people’s identity.”


 

  • NEW FRONTIERSuga’ – A Live Virtual Dance PerformanceVALENCIA JAMES (Lead Artist/Performer) on her motivation to highlight the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the sugar industry: “This piece all started in the summer of 2020, so we were in lockdown and we all just witnessed the horrific murder of George Floyd, and at this time I found my coping mechanism was to seek a closer relationship with my ancestors.”
      • TERRI WRIGHT (Rehearsal Director) on the experience of doing live performances in virtual reality:  “That same feeling you might get from performing in a theater with a live audience… butterflies in your stomach, anxiety, wondering what people are seeing, wondering what they’re thinking in the moment, all of that is intact in there with this technology.”

 

  • SUNDANCE ASCAP MUSIC CAFÉ Sundance ASCAP Music Café Performers: Day 2 of the 2022 Sundance ASCAP Music Café showcased three unique sets from the honey-voiced singer-songwriter and actress Hayley Sales, soulful R&B guitar fusionist Jordan Hawkins, and EVAN + ZANE, a fascinating collaboration between award-winning actress Evan Rachel Wood and acclaimed guitarist Zane Carney.
      • Hayley Sales performed: “Let Me Fall Apart,” “Lose Me Forever,” Never Far,” “Never Let You Go,” and “World Can Wait.”
      • Jordan Hawkins performed: “Heart Won’t Stop,” “Risky,” “Slow Down,” and “We Have.”
      • EVAN + ZANE performed: “Smokey Taboo,” “Children of the Revolution,” “Song for Zula,” and “This Woman’s Work.”

TUNE IN / ATTEND TODAY | January 23 

  • CINEMA CAFÉEVA LONGORIA BASTÓN & AMY POEHLER | 1:30 PM ET// 11:30 AM MT // 10:30 AM PT
      • Eva Longoria Bastón (Director/Producer, La Guerra Civil) and Amy Poehler (Director, Lucy and Desi). Moderated by Mandalit del Barco (NPR)
  • A HIGHLIGHT OF FILM PREMIERES AND POST Q&As:Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. | 1:45 PM ET // 11:45 AM MT // 10:45 AM PT
      • Adamma Ebo (Director/Writer), Adanne Ebo (Producer), Regina Hall (Actor/Producer), Sterling K Brown (Actor/Producer)
    • Cha Cha Real Smooth | 4:45 PM ET // 2:45 PM MT // 1:45 PM PT
      • Cooper Raiff (Writer/Director/Actor/Producer), Dakota Johnson (Actor/Producer), Leslie Mann (Actor), Brad Garrett (Actor), Evan Assante (Actor), Vanessa Burghardt (Actor), Raul Castillo (Actor)
    • Aftershock | 5:45 PM ET // 3:45 PM MT // 2:45 PM PT
      • Paula Eiselt (Director/Producer), Tonya Lewis Lee (Director/Producer), Shawnee Benton-Gibson (Featured Subject Collaborator), Omari Maynard (Featured Subject Collaborator), Bruce McIntyre (Featured Subject Collaborator)
    • jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy | 8:00 PM ET // 6:00 PM MT // 5:00 PM PT
      • Clarence “”Coodie”” Simmons (Director/Producer/Writer/Cinematographer), Chike Ozah (Director/Producer)
    • Alice | 8:15 PM ET // 6:15 PM MT // 5:15 PM PT
      • Krystin Ver Linden (Writer/Director), Keke Palmer (Actor/Executive Producer), Peter Lawson (Producer), Common (Actor/Executive Producer)
    • TikTok, Boom | 8:45 PM ET // 6:45 PM MT // 5:45 PM PT
      • Shalini Kantayya (Director), Spencer X (Cast), Feroza Aziz (Cast), Deja Foxx (Cast)
    • Phoenix Rising | 8:45 PM ET // 7:45 PM MT // 6:45 PM PT
      • Evan Rachel Wood (Actress, Activist, Survivor), Amy Berg (Director), Miranda Yousef (Editor), Ira Wood (Actor, Evan’s brother), Shay Franco-Clausen (Phoenix Act Coalition Member, IGNITE Regional Director, Community Strategist, Survivor), Ashley Walters (Photographer, Survivor)
    • God’s Country | 11:00 PM ET // 9:00 PM MT // 8:00 PM PT
      • Julian Higgins (Director/Producer), Shaye Ogbonna (Writer), Thandiwe Newton (Role of Sandra)
    • My Old School | 11:15 PM ET // 9:15 PM MT // 8:15 PM PT

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The Festival takes place digitally via our enhanced online platform at Festival.Sundance.org, on the New Frontier Spaceship, a bespoke immersive platform allowing festival-goers to gather virtually, and in-person at seven Satellite Screens venues around the country during the Festival’s second weekend. Additional programming includes a daily talk show (“How to Fest: Daily”), and Satellite Screen conversations as well as partner offerings in the Festival Village. To note, all talks are available online via live stream or posted later on festival.sundance.org to view globally. Sign up for an account at festival.sundance.org to access online. All times are U.S. Mountain Time.  Tickets are on sale.

ABOUT SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Flee, CODA, Passing, Summer Of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Precious, The Cove, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth, Napoleon Dynamite, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Reservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape.

The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute. 2022 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, DIRECTV, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, WarnerMedia, XRM Media; Sustaining Sponsors – Aflac, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, IMDbPro, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety, Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from 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. Visit sundance.org/festival for more.

Ben Lublin and Lise-Lotte Lublin attend the Q&A of the virtual Premiere of We Need to Talk About Cosby, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. © 2022 Sundance Institute.

(Sundance Press Office)