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DAILY NEWS: Cannes Taps Class of 2002 as Sundance Looks Back on 20 Years

DAILY NEWS: Cannes Taps Class of 2002 as Sundance Looks Back on 20 Years

DAILY NEWS: Cannes Taps Class of 2002 as Sundance Looks Back on 20 Years

with articles by Eugene Hernandez and Matthew Ross/indieWIRE

>> Cannes 2002 Unveils All-Star Competition Section; Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings, Shorts Also Announced

(indieWIRE: 04.25.02) — Roman Polanski, Abbas Kiarostami, Mike Leigh, and David Cronenberg are just a few of the world cinema superstars with films in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The main line-up, along with the Un Certain Regard, shorts, and special screening programs were announced today for the event, which kicks off May 15 with Woody Allen‘s “Hollywood Ending” and closes May 26 with Claude Lelouch‘s “And Now… Ladies and Gentlemen,” both of which will be screening out of competition.

Unlike last year, in which well-known directors screened their work in Un
Certain Regard, the 2002 selection committee has grouped all the stars in
the competition section, which will screen 22 films. Along with Polanski
(“The Pianist“), Kiarostami (“10“), Leigh (“All or Nothing“), and Cronenberg (“Spider“), the program will screen new works from previous Palm d’Or winners Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who return this year with “The Son,” the ageless Manoel de Oliveira (“The Principle of Indecision“), Oliver Assayas (“Demonlover“), Ken Loach (“Sweet Sixteen“), Michael Winterbottom (“24 Hour Party People“), Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark“), and Aki Kaurismaki (“Man Without a Past“), and Gaspar Noe (“Irreversible“), among others.

U.S. directors will again make a respectable showing this year with three
films in competition and several others spread throughout the various
programs. Competition selections include Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “Punch-Drunk Love,” starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, Alexander Payne‘s “About Schmidt,” starring Jack Nicholson and Hope Davis, and Michael Moore‘s documentary “Bowling for Columbine.” Barbet Schroeder‘s “Murder by Numbers” and Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook‘s “Spirit” will screen out of competition, and special screenings have been announced for U.S. documentaries: “Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein‘s “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and Rosanna
‘s “Searching for Debra Winger.”

Only one U.S. film — Peter Sollett‘s debut feature “Long Way Home” —
was selected for the Un Certain Regard sidebar, which will screen 21 films
from 17 countries, including eight by first-time feature filmmakers. The
line-up includes works from a number of Middle Eastern, Asian, and African
countries not exactly known for their thriving film scenes, including
Tajikistan, Syria, and Mauritania.

This year’s competition jury will be headed by previous Palme d’Or winner
David Lynch, who last year shared best director honors (with Joel Coen)
for “Mulholland Drive.” Other jury members include directors Bille August, Raoul Ruiz, Regis Wargnier, and Walter Salles , and actresses Christine Hakim, Sharon Stone, and Michelle Yeoh. The selection committees viewed 2,281 films (939 features and 1342 shorts) films this year, a 27 percent increase from 2001. The Director’s Fortnight line-up will be announced next week, and the
Critics Week program is expected to be unveiled this week. [Matthew Ross]


>> Sundance Celebrates 20 Years at NYC Gala

(indieWIRE: 04.25.02) — “Welcome to my audition for a bit part in the next
Sundance film,” joked former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday night,
celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Sundance Institute. After quietly
making his way into Cipriani 42nd Street, he was met by Robert Redford and
Glenn Close before drawing a crowd of well-wishers and then taking the stage
to a standing ovation.

Situated in the gorgeous former Bowery Savings Bank building across the
street from Grand Central Station, Cipriani was packed with (alongside
Clinton) a collection of movie stars, industry types, filmmakers, and others
who gathered in Manhattan on Tuesday to celebrate (and raise about $1
million for) The Sundance Institute. It was an event marked by both humor
and some well-thought comments about independent film.

Attendees networked and schmoozed at a cocktail party, followed by dinner
and a program of speakers, clips, and performances. Members of the Techtonic
Theater Group
were among the participants, offering a portion of “The
Laramie Project
” which began at the Sundance Theater Lab and was later
developed into a film at the Sundance Institute (it aired on HBO recently
after opening this year’s Sundance Film Festival). Perhaps unbeknownst to
members of the film community, Sundance’s theater activities attract more
than 100,000 attendees each year.

“It’s hard to imagine independent film without Sundance,” offered Stanley
during his turn at the dais. It was a comment that underscored the
impact that the organization has had as specialty and/or art films have
flourished since the fateful moment when Soderbergh‘s “sex, lies and
” screened in Park City in 1989.

“How can I not feel enormously gratified?” Sundance president and founder
Robert Redford asked rhetorically when he made his brief remarks on stage
later. He then introduced Hume Cronyn, who offered a poem about the need for
artists to feel that they might fail, in order that they could flourish. It
was a subtext that ran through the speeches of other participants as well.

Sundance executive director Ken Brecher, trying to pinpoint the definition
of “independence” as it relates to film at this moment in time, relayed the
idea that an independent work is often imperfect — this is its strength, he

“The reward for the audience is not perfection,” Brecher told the audience,
“But discovery.” He continued, “We too as a society are imperfect.”

The earnestness of the evening was balanced by a lighthearted musical number
delivered by Broadway songstress Karen Mason. She adapted new lyrics for the
evening: “Don’t be sad, or despair,” she sang, “‘Cause your budget’s as thin
as the air.” As the chorus arrived, she belted, “Everything coming up
Sundance!” [Eugene Hernandez]

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