As Sundance rolls on, we’ve got the best of Day 4, all for your consumption.
10:00PM: Ten Photos From The Westboro/Kevin Smith Protest: Check out some photos from the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest of Kevin Smith’s “Red State.” Videos of the protest – and Smith’s thirty minute rant on stage after the screening – will be up on indieWIRE tomorrow. [Peter Knegt]
9:25PM: Fox Searchlight Takes Homework: Capping off a busy day for sales at Sundance, Fox Searchlight took the rights to Gavin Wiesen’s directorial debut “Homework,” which is screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section of the festival. Full story here.
8:43PM: Kevin Smith to Self-Distribute “Red State” Smith announces he will distribute the horror take on the Westboro Baptist Church and the Branch Davidians, “Red State.” Smith rambles on about how terrible the indie world is, citing the fact that most indies are distributed with an ad/marketing budget five times that of the film’s production budget. [A full report later from indieWIRE]
7:00PM: Weinstein Co. Nabs “My Idiot Brother”: Harvey Weinstein moved aggressively (a reported $6 to 7 million, which seems high) to acquire (in another night of heavy negotiating on the part of UTA’s dogged Rena Ronson) Jesse Peretz’s “My Idiot Brother.” Read full story here.
5:30PM: Westboro Baptist Church pickets Kevin Smith’s “Red Church” Oh my! indieWIRE is here for the World Premiere of “Red State”…and so is the Westboro Baptist Church. The “God Hates Fags” zealots were met by a large group of high schoolers singing songs, giving free hugs, and chanting their love for “the gays.”
4:30PM: Jarecki debuts his “Reagan” doc Wanting to make a corrective to the recent push to canonize Reagan as the exemplar of American ideals, Eugene Jarecki debuted his measured and detailed study of the trajectory of the much-loved-and-hated President’s political ideology. His doc, a HBO production, debuted to a crowd that respected the film’s take on its subject, but pushed Jarecki to justify many of his decisions: Were there no people of color in Reagan’s life? Why did the film not explore more closely the connection of Reaganomics to the recent financial crisis?, etc. Jarecki was able to field even the most difficult of questions in what became a case study of crafting a film out of an incredibly complex, often contradictory life. [Bryce J. Renninger]
3:30PM: Kohn Takes On “Terri” “Although a small scale production and incredibly low key,” Kohn writes, “‘Terri’ may allow Jacobs’s work to reach a larger audience through Reilly’s star power (and possibly some fans of Bratton’s role on “The Office”). However, distributor ATO Films lacks the resources that a specialty division such as Fox Searchlight could provide for this effective, bittersweet tale.” See the full review here
3:15PM: Vera Farmiga Debuts Her First Directorial Outing: A humble and visibly timid Vera Farmiga took to the stage at the Eccles Theater this afternoon following the world premiere of her directorial debut, “Higher Ground,” an episodic but generally strong first feature that features a great lead performance from the Oscar-nominated actress.
In the drama, Farmiga stars as Corinne, a woman thrust into a small fundamentalist community after coming out of a horrifying accident alive. Once embedded in the group, Corinne begins to question the conservative values, which leads her on her own spiritual quest for personal fulfillment.
“The story spoke to me as a daughter, a mother, a wife and as a person on a spiritual journey,” Farmiga said during the Q&A. “We’re all searching for clarity, wanting to be the best we can be without really knowing all the answers.”
Farmiga, whose character is pregnant for some of the film, was expecting herself during the run of the shoot.
“When we started I was in the second trimester,” she said. “My husband will tell you, hormonally I was out of control. I was tired and it was tough, but it informed the performance.”
Tearing up, Farmiga said she hopes her newborn daughter will be inspired by the film her mother has directed. “I want her to learn. I want her to be fearless. And I want her to be unapologetic.” [Nigel M. Smith]
1:45PM: Follow indieWIRE on Twitter: Just a reminder to follow the @indiewire team at Sundance for updates throughout the days and nights: @BrooksId @theknife @peterknegt @erickohn @feelingsoblahg and @nigelmfs.
1:30PM: Azazel Jacobs “Terri” Premieres: Poignant, unexpected and quietly profound, Azazel Jacobs’s “Terri” premiered in Sundance last night and marked a significant aesthetic evolution for the director, who was previously at Sundance with “Momma’s Man.” Following its titular character – an overweight teenager played by remarkable newcomer Jacob Wysocki – the film is considerably more conventional than Jacobs’s previous work. As Terri struggles at home (his primary caregiver is a pill-popping uncle) and at school (kids taunt him with names like “double d”), his life takes a turn when assistant principal Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly, great as always) decides to take him on. Though the basic plot mirrors many mainstream student-teacher coming of age dramas, in Jacobs’s hands “Terri” becomes a strange and subtle sibling to that genre.
Check out video from the full Q&A here. [Peter Knegt]
1:10PM: Chaz Bono Hits Up The Queer Brunch: A Sundance tradition, the Queer Brunch went down this morning, with hundreds of queers and queer-friendlies heading to Grub Steak House for cocktails, coffee and croissants. Chaz Bono – the subject of Sundance doc “Becoming Chaz” – was in attendance, and gladly posed for a photo on his way out. [Peter Knegt]
10:45AM: Sundance Alum Drake Doremus (“Douchebag”) Film Goes to Paramount for $4 Million Doremus’s new film “Like Crazy,” a narrative competition title, goes to Paramount, in a deal with Indian Paintbrush. See the full story here.
10:15AM: Kohn Takes on “General Butt Naked” Eric Kohn reviews “The Redemption of General Butt Naked,” which he thinks may be a bit too morally ambiguous and one-sided. See the full review here.
10:05AM: Kohn on “Bellweather” Eric Kohn takes a look at “Bellweather,” which he calls a “phenomenal showcase for newcomer Evan Glodell. See his review here.
10:00AM: A Quick Deal for “Margin Call” Amidst much buzz, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate take “Margin Call” in one of the first big Sundance buys. More here.
8:30AM: Check out the indieWIRE interviews from the competition titles that are screening at today’s Sundance.
Meet The 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” Directors (U.S. Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “On The Ice” Director Andrew Okpeaha Macle (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Higher Ground” Director Vera Farmiga (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Hell and Back Again” Director Danfung Dennis (World Cinema Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Homework” Director Gavin Wiesen (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Project Nim” Director James Marsh (World Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Another Happy Day” Director Sam Levinson (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “BEING ELMO: A Puppeteer’s Journey” Director Constance Marks (U.S. Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “An African Election” Director Jarreth Merz (World Cinema Documentary Competiton)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Page One” Director Andrew Rossi (U.S. Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Family Portrait in Black and White” Director Julia Ivanova (World Cinema Documentary Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Little Birds” Director Elgin James (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Crime After Crime” Director Yoav Potash (U.S. Documentary Competition)