Sundance Film Festival
Sundance London (May 31 – June 3), the Sundance Film Festivals London spinoff, will present 12 movies from this years Park City festival including Jennifer Foxs The Tale and Debra Graniks Winers Bone follow-up Leave No Trace. The event will open with the UK premiere of Foxs hit, starring Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki, and will close four days later with Graniks drama, which is also heading to Cannes.
In a conscious move, seven out of the twelve films showing at the festival are directed by women. The selection “champions female voices and highlights some of the broad and excellent women-led work direct from Sundance Utah,” said the festival.
Among guests and filmmakers attending the weekend will be Toni Collette, star of gala film Hereditary, while the festival will also feature the UK premiere of Desiree Akhavans The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, winner of the US Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic in January; Skate Kitchen, the tale of female skateboarders and the narrative debut of Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle; and Augustine Frizzels debut, comedy Never Goin Back.
Aubrey Plaza stars alongside Emile Hirsch and Jermaine Clement in Jim Hoskings (The Greasy Strangler) comedy, An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn and the festival will also have the UK premiere of Idris Elbas directorial debut, Yardie.
The festivals documentary features comprise Amy Adrions Half The Picture, which turns a critical eye on the dismal number of female directors working in Hollywood, and Generation Wealth, Lauren Greenfields follow-up to the well-received Queen Of Versailles. There will also be a surprise movie screening. Last years was Patti Cake$.
There will be panels with directors Fox, Granik and Akhavan while another about the intersection between fiction and non-fiction will comprise Fox, Greenfield and Moselle. UK funders will also take part in a talk. The lineup is curated by the Sundance Institute and UK cinema chain Picturehouse, which hosts the event.
Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute, said, “The work of independent storytellers can challenge and possibly change culture, illuminating our worlds imperfections and possibilities. The program were bringing to London this year is full of artfully told stories that provoke thought, drive empathy and allow the audience to connect, in deeply personal ways, to the universal human experience.”
Clare Binns, Joint Managing Director Picturehouse Cinemas, added, “We are thrilled to host our third Sundance Film Festival: London at Picturehouse Central, celebrating the best independent cinema direct from Sundance Utah. In the current cinematic climate, we are proud to announce a broad and diverse programme which in this 2018 Sundance London takes pride in championing female voices and encouraging an inclusive industry landscape. Join us for an exciting offering of films, talks and special guest appearances as we continue to explore whats next for our local and international film industry.”
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.