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January 22, 2010 8:09 AM
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34 Sundance Competition and NEXT Filmmakers in Their Own Words

A scene from Debra Granik's "Winter's Bone" [Image courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]

The following is a series of interviews with directors whose films are screening at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic, U.S. Competition, and NEXT sections of the festival. The festival runs from Jan 21-31, 2010.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

Sundance ‘10 | “Blue Valentine” Director Cianfrance On the Film’s 11 Year Road
"I implemented a rigorous process during the preparation and making of the film - everything from writing a manifesto which laid out separate rules to filming each of the two threads of the film to living with the actors in their characters’ home during a hiatus in our production. The goal of this process was to make a film that allowed for surprises and captured fleeting moments with the performers."

Sundance ‘10 | Drake Doremus Talks “Douchebag”
"I think the biggest challenge was not having a locked script that I was going out to execute. It’s freeing in a way to just go get great stuff but it all has to fit into the story I am telling and it was scary at times knowing I was going out without a safety net."

Sundance ‘10 | “The Dry Land” Director Ryan Williams Focuses on Authenticity
"After I wrote my script, I asked many soldiers to read it and comment on the authenticity of it. They helped me tremendously in making even the small details feel true to a soldier’s life."

Sundance ‘10 | Josh Radnor Steps Behind the Camera for “happythankyoumoreplease”
"P.T. Anderson gives me a lot of courage to go wherever my imagination takes me – I mean, come on: frogs falling from the sky!"

Sundance ‘10 | Kevin Asch Talks “Holy Rollers”
"There was always uncertainty while developing the material but we endlessly researched every point. The film is very nonjudgmental in its approach to the closed culture. We were very explicit to everybody involved about our desire to not exploit the Hassidic community."

Sundance ‘10 | Zeina Durra Explores Cultural Identity in “Imperialists”
"There are two main things that affect you when you’re related to the Middle East and living outside of it. The first is the threat of being suspected of being some sort of extremist, and thus facing rendition, harassment, the second is the ongoing political instability over there and being affected by war in countries where you have family and friends and the destruction of places you know and love."

Sundance ‘10 | Poyser Brings Sibling Rivalry in “Lovers of Hate”
"Austin has a very unique, supportive and vibrant film community (I don’t call it an “industry” because that suggests people are making money at it) that I’ve been lucky enough to be part of for pretty much my entire adult life."

Sundance ‘10 | Director Tanya Hamilton’s “Night Catches Us” Cuts Close to Home
"I hope the experience of this film offers viewers a peek into a world underrepresented on screen—a vision of the American Black Panther Party that I knew and isn’t often shown."

Sundance ‘10 | Diane Bell’s “Obselidia” Makes Sure Nothing Goes Out of Style
"There are so many challenges every day (and on a microbudget movie much of these have to do with money, or lack thereof), but the biggest one definitely was about faith – having faith in myself and in my instincts, despite not having experience as a film-maker, and keeping faith when the going got tough, as of course it does."

Sundance ‘10 | “Skateland” Director Anthony Burns on Cutting Up His Film Baby
"We hired the super talented Robert Hoffman to cut our baby into pieces and when he was done blood splatter drenched every inch of the room."

Sundance ‘10 | Eric Mendelsohn Shoots in Color for “3 Backyards”
"I also had this idea to get microscopic with the camera (intense tight shots of bugs and leaves and such) and to contrast that against high angle shots- wides from overhead, ‘aerial’ shots when the location allowed."

Sundance ‘10 | “Welcome to the Rileys” Director Jake Scott’s Filmmaking Blood Runs in the Family
"I was appalled at the bizarre ‘currency’ of casting and what a certain actor ‘means,’ especially when we were a smaller project. To me, these were the right actors for the roles and that was that."

Sundance ‘10 | “Winter’s Bone” Director Debra Granik Keeps It Real
"I’m fascinated by other people’s lives, especially when their circumstances differ a lot from my own. My first camera job was filming workplace safety videos, which involved months of watching and videotaping people doing their jobs."

For interviews from the U.S. Documentary Competition filmmakers and the NEXT filmmakers, visit the next two pages.

U.S. Documentary Competition

Sundance ‘10 | “Bhutto” Producer Duane Baughman on His Portrait of the Fallen Leader
"I had been approached about the possibility of my firm helping Benazir Bhutto regain power, but we obviously never got that far. I knew the minute Benazir was assassinated that the best hope for democracy and stability in Pakistan was gone."

Sundance ‘10 | Alex Gibney Talks Scandal with Doc Competition Film “CASINO JACK”
"... try telling Congressional representatives or Senators that you would like to talk about the Abramoff scandal. It’s like bringing a flashlight into a dark New York City bathroom - there’s a sudden, desperate skittering sound followed by a deafening silence."

Sundance ‘10 | Chico Colvard Examines His Troubled Past in “Family Affair”
"I believe that “Family Affair” is a story that will resonate with anyone who’s found themselves making accommodations for a parent that was abusive, neglectful or simply unavailable when they were a child."

Sundance ‘10 | Doc Legend Leon Gast Eyes a Paparazzo Superstar
"I asked him about all the stories I’d heard and read: Jackie Kennedy and the false arrest, a raft of court cases, Marlon Brando knocking out five of his teeth, Richard Burton and his bodyguard breaking his ribs, Brigitte Bardot and her friends chasing him into the Mediterranean—and all the other abuses he had to endure during his career as the self-proclaimed “Paparazzo Superstar."

Sundance ‘10 | Grady & Ewing’s Pro-Life/Choice Corner “12th & Delaware”
"Most people believe that the pro-life movement uses its resources and energy into pressing for more legal restrictions to eventually overturn Roe V. Wade. But the real action for pro-lifers is one-on-one contact with women that takes place day in and day out in thousands of unassuming pregnancy centers that sit quietly on corners like 12th & Delaware."

Sundance ‘10 | Amir Bar-Lev Deconstructs the Hero Myth in “Tillman Story”
"It’s been talked about so much it’s already a little cliché, but I do think there’s some truth to this notion that documentary films have picked up where conventional journalism has failed over the past years."

For interviews from the NEXT filmmakers, visit the next page.

NEXT

Sundance ‘10 | “Bass Ackwards” Director Linas Phillips on His non-Road Movie Road Movie
"Bass Ackwards” is a story that most everyone can relate to. It’s about someone re-finding their way."

Sundance ‘10 | Sultan Sharrief’s “Stand” - A 4 Year Project
"We worked with over 500 hundred community volunteers, media outlets, local business, and community organizations. People donated food, time, services, locations, and even a casket (unused)."

Sundance ‘10 | Katie Aselton’s Hubby Convinced Her to Make a Movie About Open Relationships
"I am an actor and this project came about by my wanting to work. I was so frustrated my phone wasn’t ringing with amazing job offers and after months (maybe years) of complaining, my husband, Mark Duplass, told me to shut up and just make my own movie."

Sundance ‘10 | Adam Bowers Mines His Love Life, Reaches “New Low”
"We had a lighting kit the first week of the shoot because an old professor lied about needing equipment from the school so we could use it. But, he got in trouble and we had to give it back, so we had to scramble and figure out how else to light our shots."

Sundance ‘10 | “One Too Many Mornings”: Going Rogue and Growing Up
"This took an incredibly long time. The instant you start using dolly track and lights, but with a crew of sometimes three people - the time it takes increases exponentially. We ended up spending just under 2 years shooting this film."

Sundance ‘10 | Rookie Director Eyad Zahra’s “The Taqwacores”: “A Muslim Film”
"In dealing with “The Taqwacores”, we realized that we were dealing with the depiction of two communities that would scrutinize the hell out of us… punks and Muslims."

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