The 2016 Sundance Film Festival officially opened on Thursday. (Go here for the movies we’re most excited about seeing.) The fest has long hosted an eclectic mix of cinema, snow, and stars. Put on your cashmere beanie and designer boots as we ski down memory lane in this look back at the annual party in Park City, Utah.
Want to compose tweets with your mind alone? It’s going to be possible — and sooner than you’d think. A new film by renowned documentarian Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn) explores our quickly evolving interconnected lives. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World premieres Monday at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. And the new trailer (above) offers more hints at what’s in store, including the idea that artificial intelligence could already be spontaneously evolving on the Internet undetected.
About a third of the way into Digging for Fire —the new comedy making its debut this week at the Sundance Film Festival — Chris Messina (Argo and The Mindy Project) drunkenly tears off his clothing, bares himself the camera, jumps in a pool, and then makes out with a barely dressed Anna Kendrick. It’s a quick, silly moment that, for obvious reasons, sparked the first few questions at the Q&A that followed Monday-morning’s screening of this latest film from writer-director Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas). But it’s also an important scene, in that it helps explain the appeal of working with the prolific 33-year-old indie filmmaker, who’s gone from making small movies in Chicago bedrooms to working with big-name talents like Olivia Wilde, Lena Dunham and Jason Sudeikis, among others.
It’s a sweltering Monday afternoon in midtown Manhattan, and Mya Taylor would maybe like to be elsewhere. The 24-year-old actress has spent much of the day (and, indeed, the last few months) answering questions about Tangerine, the micro-budget indie film that became a critical hit as soon as it premiered at January’s Sundance Film Festival. In the movie, which opens in limited release on Friday, Taylor and her co-star, Katana Kiki Rodriguez, play transgender prostitutes named Alexandra and Sin-Dee Rella, respectively. As the movie opens, Sin-Dee has just gotten out of jail after a serving a month for covering up a crime committed by her pimp-slash-boyfriend Chester (The Wire’s James Ransone).
Bitcoin, ecstasy and the rap group Odd Future sound more like a list of prompts for conversations at Coachella than the inspiration for one of the hottest titles at Sundance, but it’s exactly that strange millennial brew that led Rick Famuyiwa to write and direct the festival hit Dope. Famuyiwa, who directed such modest hits as Brown Sugar and Our Family Wedding, hails from the Inglewood section of Los Angeles, and when he saw his old neighborhood featured in videos by the R&B/hip-hop collective Odd Future (which boasts two members from Inglewood), inspiration struck. “It was interesting to see their interpretation of the same neighborhood I grew up in, 15-20 years later, with a completely different voice,” Famuyiwa told Yahoo Movies.
When Sean Baker decided to make a movie about a pair of transgendered prostitutes, he knew he wouldn’t have the budget to buy a fancy camera. In the new film Tangerine — which is making its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — Baker tracks a hectic Christmas Eve in the unofficial red-light district of Los Angeles, a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard not far from his home. Considering the movie’s deeply uncommercial premise and very limited budget, Baker knew he would have to get extra creative to make the film happen at all.
Margot Robbie burned a hole in our memories last winter when she went toe-to-toe and skin-to-skin with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. A post-apocalyptic tale directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance), the film allows Robbie to entirely subvert the incredible first impression she made last year.
When the historical drama Selma hit theaters last month, much of the coverage of the acclaimed film noted that its depiction of the legal abuse endured by African-Americans 50 years ago could not have been more timely. The new Welcome to Leith — which premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival — can be considered a kind of an inadvertent, bizarro companion piece to Selma, one that shows how the very same constitutional freedoms that Martin Luther King, Jr. and a generation of activists worked hard to preserve can also be used to promote and defend hatred. Directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker (2013’s Flex is Kings)probe deep into the tiny town of Leith, North Dakota (population: 23), an area that was put on the map, literally and figuratively, by a few undesirable new residents.
Sarah Silverman went into Sunday night’s premiere of her new movie, I Smile Back, with very little clue of what to expect. She hadn’t yet seen the final cut of the film, and because Smile — one of the more anticipated debuts at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — was her first full-on dramatic role, the 44-year-old comedic actress and stand-up had no idea if she was any good in it or not. “Before the screening I was like, ‘I don’t know how to tell if people will like it,’” Silverman told Yahoo Movies. There was the occasional bit of laughter during the premiere, but the theater was largely silent as the audience watched in shock as Silverman’s character, Laney — a well-to-do housewife and mother of two — goes into a downward spiral of heavy boozing, drug addiction, and instantly regretted midday motel room affairs.
Instead, it’s a light-on-dialogue character portrait of very human Biblical figures, both portrayed in subtle tones by Ewan McGregor. Garcia (Albert Nobbs and HBO’s In Treatment) zooms in on Yeshua (as he’s called here) wandering the desert, meditating for 40 days and 40 nights on the nature of his divine mission. McGregor spoke with Yahoo Movies about the film after it screened on Monday.
If you’ve been inside a frat house or teenage boy’s bedroom at any point during the last 35 years, the poster for director Douglas Tirola’s new Sundance documentary about the National Lampoon, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, should look more than a little familiar. “Before we shot the first frame of the movie, I had the idea and hope that Rick would do our poster,” Tirola said. What began as a magazine started by Harvard classmates Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard in 1970 would eventually become a comedy behemoth of books, stage shows and movies, pushing the culture forward (via a mix of cutting satire and fart jokes) in a very uncertain decade.
Director Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck will premiere at Sundance this weekend, offering up a new vision of the late star.