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Festivals

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    PARK CITY '08 DISPATCH | Immigration and Water Make a Sundance Splash

    Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck returned this week to the very same podium at the Sundance Film Festival's Racquet Club Theater where two years ago they first introduced their acclaimed "Half Nelson." Boden and Fleck's latest film, "Sugar," which had its world premiere Monday at the venue, is the noble immigrant story of Miguel Santos, played by Algenis Perez Soto, an aspiring Dominican baseball player who hopes to succeed in the major leagues in the U.S. At 19, he receives a break, winning a place in the minor leagues with a team in Iowa. But, after initial success, his pitching begins to falter and he starts to question his life's ambi...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Surprisingly Ordinary : Clark Gregg's "Choke"

    Comedy perfection. That's the reasonable expectation for "Choke," based on the great novel by rebel author Chuck Palahniuk and starring Sam Rockwell as a sex addict dealing with the illness of his mother, a role tailored to his manic strengths. But after a fantastically funny opening at a sex addict...

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    AFP: Festival film takes on water profiteers

    Documentary film "Flow," premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this week, condemns water profiteering, calling for a UN resolution to make access to clean drinking water a human right. The film by French-born director Irena Salina blasts Paris-based Suez and Vivendi Environment for commercializin...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | True Grit: Trygve Allister Diesen's "Red"

    A scene of tranquil beauty and everyday leisure turns unsettlingly violent at the start of director Trygve Allister Diesen's engaging pulp drama "Red." Avery Allan Ludlow (Brian Cox) is a widower living alone in a rural Oregon town. A regular fishing trip becomes a crime scene after a group of teens...

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    PARK CITY '08 NOTEBOOK | International Films Shine At Sundance: "Abu Raed"; "Absurdistan"; "Mermaid

    Movies made outside the United States can illuminate the individuality of distant cultures for American audiences--while simultaneously highlighting the similarities to our particular surroundings. In both its narrative and documentary components, the international entries of the Sundance Film Festi...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Bittersweet Dreams: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's "Sugar"

    No one-hit wonders, "Half Nelson" writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have created another stunning, subtle achievement with "Sugar," a deeply resonant story about a Dominican baseball talent recruited for America's minor leagues. If "Half Nelson" showed off the duo's skillful attention to ch...

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    PARK CITY '08 DISPATCH | Buying Heats Up At Sundance; 3 Films Quickly Nabbed As Insiders Ponder The

    Way back in October, sellers began speculating that with the looming Writer's Guild strike, this year's Sundance Film Festival would see booming business. For months, buyers, sellers, and journalists set the stage: narrative films would catch fire as the strike continued and docs would face tough times in the wake of a bad year at the box office. At Sundance Film Festival industry parties on Monday, a number of buyers and sellers alike seemed genuinely surprised that Sundance '08 hasn't followed the approved script and a narrower roster of narrative films than expected were in play by the festival's midpoint. But, late Monday, many seemed con...

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    PARK CITY '08 NOTEBOOK | Docs Shine at Sundance; "Teen," "Polanski," and "Myths" Among Hyped Titles

    The buying frenzy that has engulfed a number of nonfiction films at Sundance 2008 is all the more remarkable for the fact that 'A,' everyone was predicting a hands-off approach to docs after a lackluster 2007 for theatrical documentary and 'B,' not a single narrative film -- as of this writing early on Tuesday -- had landed a distribution deal. While it's a well-worn idiom that the Documentary Competition lineup at Sundance is usually superior to the Dramatic Competition, that gulf feels especially profound this year. In fact, a number of industry insiders have been saying that many of the nonfiction titles in the Slamdance lineup are superio...

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    PARK CITY '08 2:25 a.m. | Pix Most LIkely to Click: "Hamlet 2," "Teen," "Henry Poole"

    Buzz from the annual Cinetic party... Cinetic's John Sloss, "American Teen" director Nanette Burstein, A&E Indie Film's Molly Thompson and others huddled upstairs at Zoom on Monday night. A deal for the doc, being brokered by Cinetic and CAA, is expected on Tuesday. Meanwhile, attendees buzzed about...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Pretty Vacant: Rawson Marshall Thurber's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"

    Special performance awards are common at the Sundance Film Festival and here's an idea for this year's jury: Best Undressing - Sienna Miller in "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh." As Jane, the arty beauty at the core of a confused love triangle between her thug boyfriend Cleveland (Peter Sarsgaard) and their new friend Art (Jon Foster), Miller flashes a toothy smile, freckly cheeks and strawberry blonde hair. She's the type of woman men die to have, the key plot point in writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," premiering in dramatic competition at Sundance. "Pittsburgh" is an off-target, surprisingly weightless ada...

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