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NYC Film Festivals

Sundance at BAM Gets Local for '07

Reece Thompson in Rocket Science, one of 16 Sundance '07 features in this year's Sundance at BAM program (Photo: Picturehouse)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

The second year of Sundance at BAM is locked for May 31-June 10, with 16 dramatic and documentary features and 27 shorts from the 2007 Sundance Film Festival featured in the program. A few of my '07 favorites are here, including the Documentary Jury Prize winner Manda Bala, Jeffrey Blitz's brilliant narrative debut Rocket Science, the new York premiere of David Gordon Green's Snow Angels and the excellent shorts Death to the Tinman, Motodrom, Salt Kiss and God Provides. A few unusual choices that make geographic sense -- the New Yorker-directed, current ND/NF selections Padre Nuestro and The Great World of Sound; the utterly awful NYC shutterbug/buddy flick Delirious -- are showcased as well.

Tamara Jenkins' The Savages, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, opens the series May 31, while a documentary panel including Barbara Kopple, Raoul Peck and Nick Broomfield closes the series June 10 along with screenings of their respective films Shut Up & Sing, Lumumba and Soldier Girls. This afternoon I caught up with BAMcinematek curator Florence Almozini, who programmed the series with Sundance's John Cooper, to get in a few quick questions about this year's crop of films.

STV: Nice work on the program -- were there any specific thematic or conceptual links you wanted to emphasize in the selections, either something you noticed at Sundance as a whole or just with these films in particular?

FA: We did not work with a specific theme in mind, although we try to keep a balance between fictions and docs, as well as different styles to have diversity in the program. Each film was selected for its own merit, value and because we felt enthusiastic about it.

The shorts selections are outstanding. There is a lot more emphasis on these this year than in last year's program; what was behind the decision to increase their presence?

Last year was a bit of a trial run and from there, we saw what we liked to do and how we wanted to proceed in the future. The short program last year was a big success and we thought it would be a good idea to develop that concept further. It is a great way to have a lot of young filmmakers and artists here, all together. It brings a lot to our Brooklyn audience. Also, many of these filmmakers live in Brooklyn (more than half) so it make perfect sense to show all these shorts and have them here. Finally, for a programmer, it is such a great opportunity to be working with all these new talents and start to develop a relationship with them.

I'm surprised to see ND/NF selections like Padre Nuestro, Great World of Sound and War/Dance on the program rather than NYC premieres like Starting Out in the Evening, Never Forever or My Kid Could Paint That, just for starters. What was the motivation and/or possible programming difficulties there?

We ran into that same issue last year and decided against it at the time. But ultimately, we thought that it was more important to the program to keep the films we really loved than to eliminate them because they were not a New York premiere. Also, we felt that each of these three titles had a specific reason to be included, like War/Dance will have a special screening for high schoolers part of the Education & Humanities Program. Padre Nuestro is such a Brooklyn film (as well as a Grand Jury Prize winner!) that we had to keep it and The Great World of Sound is one of the most remarkable features that I have seen in along time.

Also, it takes a lot of work, effort and persistence (and discussion) to get each film, so we really feel strongly about them and wanted to keep them in.

Do you have any specific favorites or referrals in the program?

Well, even if I feel the complete program is great as a whole, I do have some favorites because they suit my personal taste. I already mentioned The Great World of Sound, which I find amazing; (there's also) Snow Angels by David Gordon Green (also a producer on The Great World of Sound) and the Joe Strummer doc.

Follow the jump for the complete program, and visit The Reeler's From NYC to Park City section from January for interviews with a number of the festival's New York filmmakers.

DRAMATIC FEATURES

DELIRIOUS, Director: Tom DiCillo – New York Premiere
FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND, Director/Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo (Special Jury Prize for Acting) – New York Premiere
THE GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, Director: Craig Zobel, Screenwriters: George Smith and Craig Zobel
ON THE ROAD WITH JUDAS, Director/Screenwriter: JJ Lask – New York Premiere
PADRE NUESTRO, Director/Screenwriter: Christopher Zalla (Grand Jury Prize Winner: Dramatic)
ROCKET SCIENCE, Director/Screenwriter: Jeffrey Blitz (Directing Award: Dramatic) – New York Premiere
THE SAVAGES, Director/Screenwriter: Tamara Jenkins (Opening Night Film) – New York Premiere
SNOW ANGELS, Director/Screenwriter: David Gordon Green – New York Premiere
SWEET MUD (Israel), Director/Screenwriter: Dror Shaul (World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic) – New York Premiere

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

BANISHED, Director/Producer: Marco Williams – New York Premiere
CHASING GHOSTS, Director: Lincoln Ruchti
JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN (Ireland/UK), Director: Julien Temple – New York Premiere
MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET), Director: Jason Kohn (Grand Jury Prize Winner: Documentary and Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary) –
New York Premiere
THE UNFORESEEN, Director: Laura Dunn – New York Premiere
WAR/DANCE, Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine (Directing Award: Documentary)
X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC, Director/Screenwriter: W.T. Morgan

SHORT FILMS

Fueled by artistic expression and freed from the conventions of feature-length film, shorts have the ability to transcend boundaries of traditional storytelling. The Sundance Film Festival’s shorts programs have become a prime source for discovering filmmaking’s newest voices. This selection of animation, dramas, documentaries, and comedies from the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, bring the best of the year’s shorts to BAM. The 27 short films screening as part of “Sundance Shorts Sunday” are:

DEATH TO THE TINMAN
, Director: Ray Tintori (Honorable Mention: Short Filmmaking)
DESTINY MANIFESTO, Director: Martha Colburn
DUCT TAPE AND COVER, Director: Yong-Jin (Gene) Park
EVERYTHING WILL BE OK, Director: Don Hertzfeldt (Jury Prize: Short Filmmaking)
FAMILY REUNION (Gódir Gestir – Iceland), Director: Isold Uggadottir
THE FENCE (El Cerco – Spain), Directors: Ricardo Iscar, Nacho Martin
GOD PROVIDES, Directors: Brian Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
GOLDEN AGE, Director: Aaron Augenblick
HAPPINESS, Director: Sophie Barthes
HARD TO SWALLOW (UK), Director: Mat Kirkby
HIGH FALLS, Director: Andrew Zuckerman
HOW SHE SLEPT AT NIGHT, Director: Lilli Carre
I JUST WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY, Director: Jay Rosenblatt
KING, Director: Caran Hartsfield
MEN UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER BETTER (Mardha Hamdigar Ra Behtar Mifahmand – Iran), Director: Marjan Alizadeh (Honorable Mention: Short Filmmaking)
MOTODROM (Germany), Director: Joerg Wagner (Honorable Mention: Short Filmmaking)
MOVE ME, Director: Jonathan Pulley
ONE RAT SHORT, Director: Alex Weil
PEACE TALK (Sweden), Director: Jenifer Malmqvist
PHANTOM CANYON, Director: Stacey Steers
POP FOUL, Director: Moon Molson
SALT KISS (Brazil), Director: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa
SCAREDYCAT, Director: Andy Blubaugh
t.o.m. (UK), Directors: Tom Brown, Daniel Gray (Honorable Mention: Short Filmmaking)
THE TUBE WITH A HAT (Romania), Director: Radu Jude (Jury Prize: International Short
Filmmaking)
WINDOWBREAKER, Director: Tze Chun
ZARIN, Director: Shirin Neshat

# # #

Posted at March 22, 2007 3:29 PM

Comments (1)

When is the deadline for submitting films to the bam sundance/N.Y. festival?

Is There a category for trailers/coming attractions?

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