By The Daily Buzz davidpoland@sbcglobal.net

The Daily Buzz from Sundance (Day 10)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

We have a special episode today, in which we begin by meeting and discussing filmmaking opportunities for women with Iyabo Boyd and Senain Kheshgi. We then moved on to discuss the film Last Race with director Michael Dweck. We finish by speaking with part of the hilarious and talented team behind the episodic Halfway There, including director Rick Rosenthal, writer Nick Morton, and actors Matthew Lillard and Sara Shahi.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ever needed funding for a project that you were super assionate about but didn’t know how to go about it? Well, on today’s episode we have Elise McCave from Kickstarter to discuss how to crowdfund for your passion projects and more. We also have the director of Kusama, Heather Lenz to speak about her film. We move on to discuss the film Game Changers with Louie Psihoyos, Joseph Pace, and James Wilks. We finish with the team behind Science Fair, Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster, Kashfia, Robbie, and Dr. McCalla.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Today’s episode will be covering the films Roll with Me, Zion, and Nancy as well as have a discussion with a few AAPI directors about their respective films. We begin by speaking with two diverse AAPI directors, Bing Liu and Cecilia Hsu. We then discuss Roll with Me with Lisa Frances, Jorja Fox, and Gabriel Cordell. Next, we speak with director of Zion, Floyd Russ, and one of the short film’s producers. We finish with director Christina Choe discusses her psychological drama called Nancy.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Today we have Chloe Zhao, director of The Rider, on planning a film with budget restrictions. Co-directors of Genesis 2.0, Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev, talk about filming in the heart of Siberia. And we welcome female shorts directors, Anna Margaret Hollyman, of Maude, and Emily Anne Hoffman, of Nevada.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Our Hot Topics Roundtable features Sean Means, longtime movie critic at the Salt Lake Tribune and Maria Smith, executive creative director of M&C Saatchi LA. We’re joined by Slamdance co-founder Dan Mirvish, also director of Slamdance closing-night film Bernard and Huey, from a long-neglected Jules Feiffer script. Director Charlie Bims and actress Julie Sokolowski joins us to talk about their Slamdance feature Human Affairs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Today’s episode starts with a hot-topics roundtable discussion with Joshua Rothkopf, Jim Brunzell And Andrew Fish. Our second panel covers Akicita: The Battle for Standing Rock, with documentarians Gingger Shankar and Cody Lucich, as well as a figure who was onsite at Standing Rock. We conclude with Quiet Heroes‘ Jared Ruga and Amanda Stoddard.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Episode 4 covers a variety of interesting and pertinent topics for any audience members invested in furthering their own film careers. We start off by speaking with Carrie Lozano and Simon Tilburry of the IDA, International Documentary Association. They mention that their organization has many grants and a membership that has helped many independent film makers over time. We then speak with the director of Fake Tattoos, Pascal Plante and end with the director and cast of Funny Story ft Michael Gallagher, Matthew Glave, Jana Wintimitz, Emily Bett Rickards.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Day Three ranges across film genres and guests. We start off with the Russo brothers who are here at the Sundance film festival to receive the Founders Award from Slamdance, along with Peter Baxter from Slamdance. We move on to speak with Rainbow Experiment director Christina Kallas and Isaiah Blake, a part of the cast. Closing the podcast: the We the Animals feature team.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day 2 of Sundance 2018 is up and running, and filled to the brim with snow! Today’s episode starts with City Weekly’s Scott Renshaw, a juror for Slamdance film competitions. We also have Anote Tong and Matthieu Rytz of the film Anote’s Ark discussing the literal sinking of the island of Kiribati and raising awareness around climate change, and ends with a moving feature film White Rabbit with director Daryl Wein and cast Vivian Bang and Nana Ghana.

Friday, January 19, 2018

It’s officially Day One of Sundance 2018, and the first episode for The Daily Buzz is packed with amazing films. This episode begins with a heartwarming tribute to the late Irene Cho, the founder of Daily Buzz; moves on to a fascinating account of the lives and training of service dogs in Pick of the Litter, made by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy; and ends with a packed panel with Nick Offerman, Kersey Clemons and Brett Haley for Hearts Beat Loud.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin