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Festival Dispatch

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    Struggling with Sickness: Four Sundance Docs Examine a Wide Array of Personal Battles with Illness

    Illness is never a pleasant topic, and getting people to watch documentaries about people who are sick, either physically or mentally, can often be a tough sell. This year's Documentary Competition section at Sundance offers four vastly different films that explore similar human themes: "So Much So ...

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    PARK CITY '06 CRITIC'S DIARY:Newbies "Madeinusa," "Maximo," "Days" and "India" Surprise; Veterans Di

    Sundance is and always will be about American films. Case in point: the paltry attendance at the festival's press-and-industry international screenings. With so many films to see, journalists and industryites prioritize, just about always picking the low-budget thriller, Bruce Willis "indie" or star...

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    PARK CITY '06 CRITIC'S DIARY: Politically Charged "Fragments," Blackout"; Breakout Acting in "Half N

    Political filmmaking is an evergreen in Sundance's documentary competition, but two standout works complement each other powerfully in their emphasis on the local effects of national and international policies. Overseas, James Longley's mesmerizing "Iraq in Fragments" shakes off the oversaturated video vocabulary that has defined media coverage of the war-torn country and brings a cinematic beauty, both terrifying and ethereal, to the landscape. Broken into three sections that examine Iraq geographically, Longley focuses on the microcosmic experience, whether it be a young child, a radicalized adult or a wizened old man, to reflect larger tru...

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    PARK CITY '06 BUZZ DAILY: "Lion" Filmmakers Face Personal Cancer Struggle; Exhibition Challenges Tod

    In a striking blow of unbelievable news, Julia Reichert and her partner (in life and filmmaking) Steven Bognar were met with a dreaded telephone call when they stepped off the airplane in Salt Lake City last week en route to the Sundance Film Festival. The directors of "A Lion In The House," the competition doc about five children and their families dealing with cancer over nearly eight years, learned that Reichert herself had been diagnosed with lymphoma. After attending their first two Park City screenings last weekend, then introducing a third in Salt Lake City on Sunday, they decided to return home to Ohio where Reichert is now hospitaliz...

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    PARK CITY BIZ DAILY: IFC Gets Crossword Doc, Lionsgate's "Door", Sundance Channel @ 10, and More

    Does anyone remember "the old days" at Sundance, when the cool thing to do was arrive in Park City on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the festival? The second half of Sundance was when the fest really picked up. Some buzz had been generated from early screenings, and business seemed to intensify as the event headed into awards weekend. Not anymore. As the festival hit its halfway point this year, Main St. became much more manageable. Gone were the traffic jams of Saturday and Sunday, and while a number of films are in buyer's sights, the mega-deals of the first weekend have subsided. With many insiders leaving today, now Sundance feels much more ...

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    PARK CITY '06 BUZZ DAILY: Money, Money, Money...And A Drag Queen Dessert

    Some of the pillars of indie film, including producers Christine Vachon ("Boys Don't Cry"), Ted Hope ("American Splendor"), Michael London ("Sideways"), Effie Brown ("Real Women Have Curves"), and directors Alexander Payne ("Sideways"), and Todd Haynes ("Far From Heaven") joined Filmmaker Magazine e...

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    PARK CITY '06 CRITIC'S DIARY: Looking for Int'l Innovators: "Sleep" and "Battle" Break Ground

    Innovation. It's surprisingly rare at the Sundance Film Festival. Sure, risk exists, but sometimes it's like finding a needle in a snow bank. Worthy performances and a compelling story are hard enough to achieve, so perhaps it's too much to ask emerging filmmakers for something original and refreshi...

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    PARK CITY '06 CRITIC'S DIARY: "Sleep," "Wristcutters," "Illusionist" Refreshing Sci-fi/Fantasy; "Rat

    Fantasy and science fiction have broadened the scope of this week's Sundance premieres, in a welcome departure from the gritty personal realism that is the festival's stock in trade. Most radical of these is the surrealist amour fou of Michel Gondry's warmly received love story "The Science of Sleep...

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    PARK CITY '06 BUZZ DAILY: Park City Gets Political; ITVS, Cinetic, and Gen Art Parties Host Throwdow

    Some Sundance filmgoers exiting the Holiday Village Cinema in Park City Monday evening appeared glossy-eyed following the screening of Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's gripping competition doc "The Trials of Darryl Hunt." The film chronicles the story of North Carolinian Darryl Hunt, a black man who...

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    PARK CITY '06 BIZ DAILY: New Self-Distribution Initiative Unveiled; Park City Filmmakers Sign On for

    Independent filmmakers, some in Park City this week without the support of high-profile sales reps and high-priced publicists, will have a new outlet when looking for help in releasing their films without giving up their rights. Withoutabox has announced the launch of The Distribution Lab, a new pro...

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