Paul Rachman's "American Hardcore" has already scored a nice amount of press with a New York Times piece at the end of last month. Rachman's film, which recalls the "hardcore" punk phenomenon that swept segments of major cities around the U.S. and Canada in the '80s, is screening in the Sundance Film Festival's Park City at Midnight section. Through interviews and amazing footage, "American Hardcore" charts the roots of hardcore in the U.S., which in part, grew out of a reaction against the rise of Reagan conservatism and a backlash to American suburbia. The pillars of American punk, including Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Ian McKay (Minor Threat), H.R. (Bad Brains) and others recall the era throughout the film.
"It was the manifestation of youth... kids gone wild," said McKay, who later fronted Washington, D.C. band Fugazi. "For being losers, we were creating something better," said singer Moby about the time period. Moby sang for a time with punk band Flipper.
In creating the film, Rachman told the audience at the world premiere at the Holiday Village Cinema Friday afternoon that his idea in tackling the project reflected the ideals of the time. "We had to approach this from the gut and the hip, just like the bands -- we decided not to care how we recorded it and where we recorded it, we just did it." The film is based on Steven Bush's book of the same name, and took over four years to shoot.
Whoever eventually distributes the film won't have to contend with music rights (there's plenty of "classic" punk tracks throughout the film) because music from that era was mostly shunned by major record labels and the bands themselves, for the most part, retained ownership of the material. "We cleared all the music," said Rachman. "The subjects were just happy that someone wanted to at least legitimize their piece of history."
"Stephanie Daley" Draws a Crowd of Buyers
The world premiere of writer/director Hilary Brougher's Sundance dramatic competition feature "Stephanie Daley" brought quite a crowd to the Racquet Club in Park City Saturday evening. The queue for ticket holders was long, and the holding area for people with Red Passes (typically buyers and some press) had acquisition execs and some company heads from nearly every indie/specialty distributor in the U.S. Red Pass holders entered the large screening space first, and probably not surprisingly, the venue became quite a schmooze fest as the rest of the crowd made its way inside.
Sundance Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore introduced the film and Brougher, who did further introductions, including members of her cast. The film's headlining star/executive producer Tilda Swinton was absent (currently working on a film in New York) but fellow stars Amber Tamblyn ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") and several others joined the screening. The film is the story of a psychologist (Swinton) hired by a prosecutor to evaluate Stephanie Daley's (Tamblyn) competency hearing in which high school girl Stephanie is accused of killing her baby shortly after giving birth during a school ski trip. An informal poll among attendees after the screening was somewhat mixed, with near universal praise for the performances.
"I tried to build a film around cycles," said Brougher about the film. "The story started with Stephanie's story. By the ending, (I was trying to) take the two women to a place where they are really beginning their journey."
Email Laughs at the Expense of a Jerk
Some unknown Los Angeles entertainment attorney was the brunt of an email joke among a group of industry friends at Sundance Saturday. Apparently the "high powered" lawyer turned to Craigslist fishing for some "hot" companionship at Sundance and was conducting interviews. Now, we certainly don't begrudge someone a good time by any means, but well - this guy's just a jerk. However, perhaps he deserves some credit for honesty.
The following are excerpts from the ad being circulated Saturday to much laughter:
"I am a high-powered LA entertainment lawyer who just had a huge fight with my boyfriend and now I am NOT letting him go with me to Sundance. He is a 23 year old A model. I am leaving from LA for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Saturday morning. Since "DJ" won't be going with me I need someone to take his place."
"If you are a hot (and I mean sizzling HOT) guy, with a personality, under 30 years old and want to have the experience of a lifetime, it may be your lucky day.I have a reputation to uphold and that is having a beautiful boy on my arm that can carry on a conversation the whole time I am there. Responses with no picture will be ignored. Please don't waste my time."
"If this sounds harsh and shallow... let's face it... this IS Hollywood!"
Some of the Many Saturday Parties...
Main Street was a complete zoo as to expected Saturday. There was a huge crowd outside the Village at the Lift for some soiree, and people determined to walk along the street to actually get somewhere abandoned the sidewalk to dash around cars in order to make their way along the street.
Basically, if you were going to a party on Main St. Saturday night, the rule was patience. Patience waiting outside, and once inside, patience with getting the room. IFC Films' party for "The Night Listener" at the VW Lounge was packed with a crowd waiting to get inside. The after-screening party for "Stephanie Daley" was at the small Levi's Lounge. indieWIRE waited to get inside along with dozens of others, but were left waiting for an unknown reason since a quick look in the window saw only about 20 people inside. One nice departure from the norm here, however, was that the woman working the door was very polite about not letting the crowd in, and not yelling and disparaging, which is too often the case.
Nevertheless, iW took off and went to the "Somebodies" party (directed b y Hadjii, screening in the dramatic competition) at the Leaf Lounge on lower Main. There was a wait to get in, but once inside, there was room to maneuver and no riots at the bar trying to get a drink - Good Job "Somebodies," the party was positively humane.
All Tomorrow's Parties (a quick rundown to Monday's soirees and events at Sundance):
Monday has three of Sundance's most anticipated parties going back-to-back...
9:30pm - 12:30am: Film sales company Cinetic Media will host their annual party at Zoom. Invitations are typically very coveted, and last year, invitees began queuing up to get in an hour before the official start-time. Word so far is that access this year will be tighter.
9pm? - ?: Gen Art and MySpace.com will be holding their big bash at the Legacy Lodge at the Park City Mountain Resort. The party typically draws a young and fashionable crowd of coolios, but this year's blowout is all-the-more a lure because the Beastie Boys will be playing a set.
8pm - Midnight: ITVS 15th anniversary party at the Riverhorse Cafe
2pm - 4pm: Participant Productions celebrating the premieres of their two films, "The World According to Sesame Street" and "An Inconvenient Truth" at Laser Pacific House.
4pm - 6pm: Sundance Documentary Fund 10th anniversary reception at the Filmmaker Lodge on Main Street
7:00pm - 9pm: Film Independent party at Leaf Lounge on Main Street
8pm - 10pm: "God Grew Tired of Us" premiere party, including a live performance by Salt Lake City Lost Boys and Girl's Choir at the Art is In Gallery on Main Street
11pm - 1am: "'Tis Autumn" party at Bandits' Grill and Bar
And there's always Harry O's...