Mostly I've been just motoring along, not too sad about having missed Sundance this year until it occurred to me what a jump start it gave me on this current Oscar race -- not too mention my own rooting interests at the film bitch awards. Whoa unto us who cannot afford a week in the snowy Utah mountains. I'm dying to see Vera Farmiga's directorial debut but otherwise I have poured over precious few Sundance articles. There was too much Oscar noise this week to give it much thought. But here's what Sundance went for with a passion.
The Sundance 2011 Awards broke down like so...
Grand Prize Dramatic Like Crazy
Grand Prize Documentary How To Die in Oregon
World Cinema Dramatic Happy, Happy
World Cinema Documentary Hell and Back Again
The big breakout of the festival was Like Crazy, a cross-Atlantic romantic drama starring Actress winner Felicity Jones (the new Carey Mulligan they're saying... but isn't that just because Carey was a breakout at the same festival in a romantic drama?). It sold to Paramount for $4 million. If the past couple of festival years are any indication this does mean that Felicity Jones will be in the Oscar discussion a year from now. To be uncharitable and frank, I'm completely weirded out by this because a) she didn't register at all in Chéri despite a key role and b) I thought she was less than say "good" in The Tempest (2010) and all she had to do there was affectively portray falling in love as well as conveying being the sheltered child of a bossy mother. If Felicity Jones is a revelation here after that than Julie Taymor is an even worse director than I previously thought! Also weirding me out is the prospect of lil' Anton Yelchin as a romantic lead. Anton Yelchin. Isn't he that brainy little kid from Huff? Didn't he just look like a 12 year old playing at Chekov in Star Trek (2009)? My god they grow up so fast. ♪ sunrise sunset sunrise sunset ♫
Directing, Dramatic Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene
Directing, Documentary Jon Foy for Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of Toynbee Tiles
Directing, World Cinema Paddy Considine for Tyrannosaur
Directing, Documentary World Cinema James Marsh for Project Nim
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award Another Happy Day
World Cinema Screenwriting Restoration
Special Jury Prize (Acting) Felicity Jones for Like Crazy
Special Jury Prize (Dramatic) Another Earth
Special Jury Prize (Documentary) Being Elmo
World Cinema Special Jury Prize (Documentary) Position Among the Stars
World Cinema Special Jury Prize (Dramatic) The Acting in Tyrannosaur
Other than Vera Farmiga's film -- which I'm interested in mostly because I'm crazy for crazy-eyed Farmiga -- the one I'm most personally curious about is Martha Marcy May Marlene which won for Best Director. Fox Searchlight bought it and they do get behind their films. The film is about a young girl (Elizabeth Olsen. Yes, younger sister to the Olsen Twins) trying to adjust to life after fleeing a religious cult. She moves in with her sister (Sarah Paulson -yay) and her sister's fiance (Hugh Dancy - double yay!). John Hawke is the cult leader (triple yay... for Hawkes's involvement not dangerous cult leaders). Olsen won strong reviews and the film sounds like intriguing.
Also looking forward to seeing Tyrannosaur. It's about the relationship between a rage filled man (Peter Mullan) and an abused woman (Olivia Colman) but one of our favorite character actors Paddy Considine is directing and if the world cinema jury felt the need to honor both its acting and its directing, maybe it's special and not just gritty miserabilism.
Documentary Editing If a Tree Falls
World Cinema Documentary Editing The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
Excellence in Cinematography, Dramatic Pariah
Excellence in Cinematography, Documentary The Redemption of General Butt Naked
World Cinema Cinematography All Your Dead Ones
World Cinema Cinematography, Documentary Hell and Back Again
Alfred P Sloane Prize Another Earth directed by Mike Cahill
Sundance NHK International Filmmakers Award Cherien Davis
Jury Prize Short Filmmaking Brick novax Pt 1 & 2
Shorts Jury Honorable Mention: Choke by Michelle Latimer; Diarchy by Ferdinando Cito Filmomarioes; The External World by David O'Reilly; The Legend of Beaver Dam by Jerome Sable; Out of Reach by Jakub Stozek; Protoparticles by Chema García Ibarra
Focus Features, who won The Kids Are All Right bidding war last year, also bought a lesbian film this year. Pariah, which won for cinematography, is about an African American teenager (played by Adepero Oduye) who is coming out of the closet in Brooklyn.
World Cinema Kinyarwanda
World Documentary Senna
The Best of "NEXT" Audience Award to.get.her
Last year at Sundance the Dramatic Audience Award, Dramatic went to HappyThankYouMorePlease which was the writer/director debut of sitcom star Josh Radnor and surprise: it felt not unlike a sitcom. But the year before they chose Precious so you never know. This year's winner Circumstance is about an Iranian family struggling with rebellious teenagers.
Anything from Sundance 2011 interesting you from what you've read here or elsewhere?