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Highlighted Works from
Sundance Film Festivals in
Years Past
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place
annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest
i...
The Sundance Channel, a TV network which highlights
independent films and releases coverage of the
Sundance Film Festival,...
Top 10 Influential Sundance Films
“Every festival is accompanied by the rush
to proclaim new and important
trendsetters. M...
10. The Usual Suspects (1996)
CALL #: DVD 7492
SYNOPSIS: Police investigating an exploded
boat on a San Pedro pier discove...
9. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
CALL #: DVD 6611
SYNOPSIS: Eleven-year-old Dawn "Wienerdog"
Wiener is a junior high gee...
8. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
CALL #: DVD 4317
SYNOPSIS: The Friedman's seem to be a typical
family from affluent Grea...
7. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
CALL #: DVD 4726
SYNOPSIS: Former Vice President Al Gore
explains the facts of global warm...
6. Sherman’s March (1986)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 7040
SYNOPSIS: Ross McElwee's quest for true
romance takes him along General S...
5. Clerks (1994)
CALL #: DVD 3059
SYNOPSIS: A deadpan comedy about a day in
the life of two nowhere-bound convenience and
...
4. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18060
SYNOPSIS: Three student filmmakers set out
into the forest to fi...
3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
CALL #: DVD 0038
SYNOPSIS: They were strangers, together to
pull off the perfect jewel heist. The...
2. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 3899
SYNOPSIS: Eddie and Willie's inert lifestyle is
suddenly intruded ...
Top 10 Sundance Performances
“Over the years Sundance has developed
its own star system, launching the careers
of actors w...
8. Steve Buscemi in
Parting Glances (1986)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 10726
SYNOPSIS: As Michael and Robert, a gay
couple in New Yo...
7. Vincent Gallo in
Buffalo ’66 (1998)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18103
SYNOPSIS: Billy is released after five years in
prison. In ...
6. Danny Glover in
To Sleep With Anger (1990)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 6960
SYNOPSIS: A visitor from the Deep South
brings supers...
5. Lili Taylor in
I Shot Andy Warhol (1995)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 13352
SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story of Valerie
Solanas w...
3. James Spader in
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
CALL #: DVD 1656
SYNOPSIS: Erotic comedy about a long lost
college frie...
1. Julianne Moore in
Safe (1995)
CALL #: DVD 1832
SYNOPSIS: Drama about a suburban
housewife whose affluent environment tu...
Top 10 Sundance Provocations
and Controversies
“Real, enduring scandals are few and far
between at Sundance. But storms in...
5. Kurt and Courtney (1998)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 19039
SYNOPSIS: "Kurt & Courtney" delves into the
rock star couple's past an...
2. Poison (1991)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 11676
SYNOPSIS: Part horror film, part drama, part
expose, with an offbeat morality Poi...
1. Kids (1995)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 12331
SYNOPSIS: An amoral, HIV-positive skateboarder
sets out to deflower as many virgins...
Top 10 Sundance Documentaries
of the Decade
“The documentaries did justice to this downer of a
decade. You could put toget...
10. Biggie and Tupac (2002)
CALL #: DVD 2115
SYNOPSIS: Documentary on the deaths of
Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and the...
9. Control Room (2004)
CALL #: DVD 2510
SYNOPSIS: A chronicle providing a rare
window into international perception of the...
7. No End in Sight (2007)
CALL #: DVD 6135
SYNOPSIS: A comprehensive look at the Bush
Administration's conduct of the Iraq...
6. Grizzly Man (2005)
CALL #: DVD 3290
SYNOPSIS: A devastating and heartrending
take on grizzly bear activists Timothy
Tre...
4. The Weather Underground (2003)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 21268
SYNOPSIS: The remarkable story of The
Weather Underground, radic...
3. Iraq in Fragments (2006)
CALL #: DVD 6325
SYNOPSIS: Stories from modern day Iraq as
told by Iraqis living in a time of ...
2. The Order of Myths (2008)
CALL #: DVD 7457
SYNOPSIS: In 2007 Mobile, Alabama, Mardi
Gras is celebrated... and complicat...
1. The Unforeseen (2007)
CALL #: DVD 7926
SYNOPSIS: A documentary about the
development around Barton Springs in Austin,
T...
Top 10 Overlooked Sundance Films
“In theory the juries, critics and distributors are
there to ensure that the best movies ...
7. Sure Fire (1990)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18454
SYNOPSIS: Wes, a hard-driving, egocentric
entrepreneur, is determined to put h...
6. Trans (1998)
CALL #: DVD 0949
SYNOPSIS: The story of 15-year-old Ryan,
who dreams his days away in Florida's
juvenile d...
4. The Slaughter Rule (2002)
CALL #: DVD 1574
SYNOPSIS: A high school football player is
faced with losses, both on the fi...
2. Chameleon Street (1990)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 19369
SYNOPSIS: Dramatizes the true story of
William Douglas "Chameleon" Stre...
Top 10 Most Daring Experiments
At any given festival the so-called discoveries
tend to be flavors of the week more than ge...
10. Strange Culture (2007)
CALL #: DVD 7120
SYNOPSIS: A documentary in which actors
interpret the legally touchy subject o...
3. Clean, Shaven (1993)
CALL #: DVD 0908
SYNOPSIS: A harrowing story of a
schizophrenic man's desperate search for his
you...
2. Gerry (2002)
CALL #: DVD 4527
SYNOPSIS: A friendship between two
twenty-something men is tested to its very
limits when...
1. Decasia (2002)
CALL #: DVD 3499
SYNOPSIS: A meditation on the human
quest to transcend physicality, constructed
from de...
Top 10 World-Cinema Films of the
Decade
An American showcase first and foremost,
Sundance has nonetheless expanded its
glo...
9. Last Life in the Universe (2003)
CALL #: DVD 2667
SYNOPSIS: A suicidal, obsessivecompulsive Japanese librarian is force...
8. Up the Yangtze (2007)
CALL #: DVD 8562
SYNOPSIS: A "farewell cruise" takes a luxury
ship up the vast Yangtze River shor...
4. Bus 174 (2002)
CALL #: DVD 2210
SYNOPSIS: A powerful, award-winning
examination of the tragic series of events
that fol...
3. Bloody Sunday (2002)
CALL #: DVD 8504
SYNOPSIS: Recreation of the events of
"Bloody Sunday", Jan. 30, 1972, when Britis...
Top 10 Films That Rock
http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival
/top-ten/ten-films-that-rock/
8. Young@Heart (2008)
CALL #: DVD 8261
SYNOPSIS: A documentary on a chorus of senior
citizens from Massachusetts who cover...
7. Joe Strummer: The Future is
Unwritten (2007)
CALL #: DVD 8115
SYNOPSIS: Documentary follows the life of
musician and po...
6. American Hardcore (2006)
CALL #: DVD 7066
SYNOPSIS: Set against the conservative early
80s political landscape, this fi...
5. Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!
(2006)
CALL #: DVD 6034
SYNOPSIS: Based on concert footage of
October 2004 in Madison Squ...
1. DIG! (2004)
CALL #: DVD 3694
SYNOPSIS: Dig! plunges into the underbelly of
rock 'n' roll, unearthing an amazing true ta...
Top 10 Sundance Fiction Films of the
Decade
If the '90s were the boom years at Sundance,
the '00s were a more unsettled ti...
10. Smiley Face (2006)
CALL #: DVD 6726
SYNOPSIS: After a young actress
unknowingly eats her roommate's pot
cupcakes, her ...
9. The Savages (2007)
CALL #: DVD 7976
SYNOPSIS: A sister and brother face the
realities of familial responsibility as the...
8. The Sleepy Time Gal (2001)
CALL #: DVD 3775
SYNOPSIS: A young woman, played by
Martha Plimpton learns of her adoption a...
7. Half Nelson (2006)
CALL #: DVD 5259
SYNOPSIS: An inner-city junior high school
teacher with a drug habit forms an unlik...
6. In the Bedroom (2001)
CALL #: DVD 4303
SYNOPSIS: A New England couple's collegeaged son dates an older woman with two
s...
3. Old Joy (2006)
CALL #: DVD 6675
SYNOPSIS: Friends, Kurt and Mark, reunite
for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade
mou...
2. Donnie Darko (2001)
CALL #: DVD 3591
SYNOPSIS: A troubled teenager is plagued
by visions of a large bunny rabbit that
m...
1. Primer (2004)
CALL #: DVD 3952
SYNOPSIS: Four friends/fledgling
entrepreneurs, knowing that there's
something bigger an...
Top 10 Gay-Themed Films
Conceived in the heyday of queer theory and
AIDS activism, the New Queer Cinema of the
early '90s ...
10. The Blossoming of Maximo
Oliveros (2005)
CALL #: DVD 10315
SYNOPSIS: Maxi, a twelve-year-old Filipino
boy, crushes on ...
7. The Times of Harvey Milk
(1984)
CALL #: DVD 8794
SYNOPSIS: A documentary of the successful
career and assassination of ...
6. The Hours and Times (1991)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 8863
SYNOPSIS: A fictionalized account of what
may have happened when John...
5. Paris is Burning (1990)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 6773 or VIDEOTAPE
16149
SYNOPSIS: Story of the young men of Harlem
who origin...
4. Mysterious Skin (2004)
CALL #: DVD 3834
SYNOPSIS: A teenage hustler and a young
man obsessed with alien abductions cros...
3. Swoon (1992)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 8771
SYNOPSIS: A film noir "thriller" that presents
the true case of Nathan Leopold and ...
2. Edward II (1991)
CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 7661
SYNOPSIS: Edward II embraces the essential
dramatic themes of passion, murder, ...
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Sundance Films from our Collection

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Sundance Films from our Collection

  1. 1. Highlighted Works from Sundance Film Festivals in Years Past
  2. 2. The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both featurelength films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including NEXT, New Frontier, Spotlight, and Park City At Midnight. ~wikipedia.org
  3. 3. The Sundance Channel, a TV network which highlights independent films and releases coverage of the Sundance Film Festival, has an archive of ‘Top 10’ lists which cover some of the best films featured at the Sundance Film Festival over the years. Website: http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/ Check out some of those ‘Top 10’ films, which we have here at the Sinclair Wong Audiovisual Center!
  4. 4. Top 10 Influential Sundance Films “Every festival is accompanied by the rush to proclaim new and important trendsetters. Most of them fade from memory soon enough, but a handful of movies enter the cultural consciousness, and — for better or worse — go on to reshape the film landscape.” http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/mostinfluential-sundance-films/
  5. 5. 10. The Usual Suspects (1996) CALL #: DVD 7492 SYNOPSIS: Police investigating an exploded boat on a San Pedro pier discover 27 bodies and $91 million worth of drug money. The only survivors are a severely burned Hungarian terrorist and Roger Kint, a crippled con-man. Reluctantly, Kint is pressured into explaining what happened on the boat. His story begins six weeks earlier with five criminals being dragged in by New York police desperate for suspects in a truck hijacking, and ends with the possible identification of a criminal mastermind. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Bryan Singer's convoluted neonoir certainly didn't invent narrative gamesmanship, but with its big gotcha ending, it made twisty puzzle movies (PI, THE SIXTH SENSE, MEMENTO) fashionable for the next few
  6. 6. 9. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) CALL #: DVD 6611 SYNOPSIS: Eleven-year-old Dawn "Wienerdog" Wiener is a junior high geek who just wants to be popular. Teased by her classmates and tormented by the school bully, Dawn develops an improbable plan to seduce the star of a high-school garage band. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: This depiction of junior high as hell on earth introduced viewers to the pitiless universe of Todd Solondz, where some see candor and others cruelty. Thanks to Solondz and fellow mid-'90s festival alumni Neil LaBute and Terry Zwigoff, psychological violence soon became as popular as physical violence among American indies.
  7. 7. 8. Capturing the Friedmans (2003) CALL #: DVD 4317 SYNOPSIS: The Friedman's seem to be a typical family from affluent Great Neck, Long Island. One Thanksgiving, as the family gathers for a quiet holiday dinner, a police battering ram splinters the front door and officers rush inside. The police charge Arnold and his son Jesse with hundreds of shocking crimes. As police investigate, and the community reacts, the fabric of the family begins to disintegrate, revealing questions about justice, family and finally the truth. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Andrew Jarecki's riveting portrait of a Long Island family with dark secrets and a penchant for self-documentation must have tipped off countless filmmakers to the potential of home movies (their own and others') as source material.
  8. 8. 7. An Inconvenient Truth (2006) CALL #: DVD 4726 SYNOPSIS: Former Vice President Al Gore explains the facts of global warming, presents arguments that the dangers of global warning have reached the level of crisis, and addresses the efforts of certain interests to discredit the anti-global warming cause. Between lecture segments, Gore discusses his personal commitment to the environment, sharing anecdotes from his experiences. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: The rare eco-activist doc to reach a wide audience (and presumably make a realworld difference), Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore's documentary lecture also paved the way for a continuing wave of celebrity-endorsed and -narrated eco-activist docs.
  9. 9. 6. Sherman’s March (1986) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 7040 SYNOPSIS: Ross McElwee's quest for true romance takes him along General Sherman's Civil War march with laughable results. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Ross McElwee's journey through Civil War history and his own romantic past is expansive and digressive (it's subtitled A MEDITATION TO THE POSSIBILITY OF ROMANTIC LOVE IN THE SOUTH DURING AN ERA OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROLIFERATION). An instant benchmark for the tricky form of the autobiographical documentary, it has rarely been equaled, though many have tried.
  10. 10. 5. Clerks (1994) CALL #: DVD 3059 SYNOPSIS: A deadpan comedy about a day in the life of two nowhere-bound convenience and video store clerks and the two eccentric drug dealers who constantly loiter outside the stores. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: The myth of the credit-card indie is a powerful one. Before CLERKS there was Richard Linklater's SLACKER, made on a comparable shoestring, and after it, there was TARNATION, cobbled together on iMovie for $200. But it was Kevin Smith's potty-mouthed gabfest, with its crude, no-frills aesthetic, that did the most to promote the idea that anyone could make a movie.
  11. 11. 4. The Blair Witch Project (1999) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18060 SYNOPSIS: Three student filmmakers set out into the forest to film a documentary on a legend known as The Blair Witch. As they become lost in the woods, an unseen evil begins to stalk and harass them. They soon realize that what they are filming is not a legend, but their own descent into a horrifying encounter with the supernatural. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's landmark stunt is a scary and suggestive experiment in first-person verité and offscreen space. It took a while to incubate, but the shaky-camcorder perspective has become as ubiquitous as video cameras in recent years, in movies like CLOVERFIELD, RES, REDACTED, and DIARY OF THE DEAD.
  12. 12. 3. Reservoir Dogs (1992) CALL #: DVD 0038 SYNOPSIS: They were strangers, together to pull off the perfect jewel heist. Their simple robbery turns into a bloody ambush when they realize one of them is a police informant. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Not least because the hallmarks of a Quentin Tarantino film are so readily identifiable — stylized ultra-violence, retro soundtrack, characters who love pop-culture references and the sound of their own voices — this iconic debut spawned a litter of copycat productions, almost all of which matched QT's self-regard but not his talent.
  13. 13. 2. Stranger Than Paradise (1984) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 3899 SYNOPSIS: Eddie and Willie's inert lifestyle is suddenly intruded upon by Willie's Hungarian cousin. At first she's a drag, but the cousin has a few surprises for her American friends. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Jim Jarmusch's breakthrough film had already won a prize at Cannes and played the New York Film Festival by the time it got to Park City, and the movie itself is too eccentric to have inspired many outright imitators. But its quirky characters, ironic tone, and selfconscious hipness add up to a working definition of indie as we know it.
  14. 14. Top 10 Sundance Performances “Over the years Sundance has developed its own star system, launching the careers of actors who in turn become regulars (Steve Buscemi, Parker Posey, Sam Rockwell, Ryan Gosling, Vera Farmiga, Zooey Deschanel, et al). Here are 10 of the greatest performances in festival history.” http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/bestsundance-performances/
  15. 15. 8. Steve Buscemi in Parting Glances (1986) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 10726 SYNOPSIS: As Michael and Robert, a gay couple in New York, prepare for Robert's departure for a two-year work assignment in Africa, Michael must face Robert's true motives for leaving while dealing with their circle of eccentric friends, including Nick, who is living with AIDS. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Bill Sherwood's only feature (he died in 1990), one of the first AIDS dramas, gave Sundance stalwart Buscemi his first big role, and he steals the film with his nimble, moving, utterly unsentimental turn as an HIVpositive downtown rocker.
  16. 16. 7. Vincent Gallo in Buffalo ’66 (1998) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18103 SYNOPSIS: Billy is released after five years in prison. In the next moment, he kidnaps teenage student Layla and visits his parents with her, pretending she is his girlfriend and they will soon marry (and forcing her to say the same). (IMDB) THEY SAID: Gallo co-wrote, directed, and composed and performed the score for his singular directorial debut. Crucially, he also appears in almost every scene. No one else could have played the hectoring, paranoid, fully self-absorbed Billy Brown, and no one else could have turned his narcissism into such a riveting and even touching spectacle.
  17. 17. 6. Danny Glover in To Sleep With Anger (1990) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 6960 SYNOPSIS: A visitor from the Deep South brings superstition into a divided black household in central Los Angeles, which percolates a pungent, stimulating brew. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Gifted with a richly fascinating character by writer-director Charles Burnett — a mysterious, possibly diabolical Southern gentleman who wreaks havoc on the California family he's visiting — Glover delivers the performance of his career, a marvel of sly ease and wicked humor.
  18. 18. 5. Lili Taylor in I Shot Andy Warhol (1995) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 13352 SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story of Valerie Solanas who was a 60s radical preaching hatred toward men in her "Scum" manifesto. She wrote a screenplay for a film that she wanted Andy Warhol to produce, but he continued to ignore her. So she shot him. This is Valerie's story. (IMDB) THEY SAID: As would-be assassin Valerie Solanas, the always surprising Taylor is noteperfect, both weirdly adorable and a little scary, playing up the comedy of the sorethumb outsider but also tapping into her desperate need to belong.
  19. 19. 3. James Spader in Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) CALL #: DVD 1656 SYNOPSIS: Erotic comedy about a long lost college friend who drifts back into town and into the lives of a self-involved philanderer, his angelic wife, and her saucy sister. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Capping his terrific '80s run of Brat Pack villains and sleazeballs, Spader brings both pathos and wit to his portrayal of an emotionally blocked voyeur who compensates for his impotence with his trusty camcorder and a passive-aggressive interview technique. (It's not hard to imagine Spader's kinky lawyer in 2002's s&m office romance SECRETARY as his SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE character, all grown up.)
  20. 20. 1. Julianne Moore in Safe (1995) CALL #: DVD 1832 SYNOPSIS: Drama about a suburban housewife whose affluent environment turns against her, causing environmentally-induced disease. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: In Todd Haynes's harrowing existential horror movie, one of the very best American films of the past few decades, Moore plays a blank-slate Southern California housewife who becomes allergic to her own life. In a performance of exquisite restraint, she does the seemingly impossible: she tunnels into the inner existence of a woman who may not have one.
  21. 21. Top 10 Sundance Provocations and Controversies “Real, enduring scandals are few and far between at Sundance. But storms in teacups are abundant in such a hothouse atmosphere — and, for most attendees, part of the fun of the festival experience. Here are 10 films that made news beyond Park City, or at least dominated conversations on the festival shuttle buses for a few days.” http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/ten-provocations-andcontroversies/
  22. 22. 5. Kurt and Courtney (1998) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 19039 SYNOPSIS: "Kurt & Courtney" delves into the rock star couple's past and uncovers secrets concerning the untimely death of Kurt Cobain. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Nick Broomfield's documentary on Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, in which various less-than-reliable subjects tenuously implicate the widow in the death of the grunge martyr, was one of the most anticipated films at Sundance '08. But the festival, under pressure from Love, who threatened to sue over music rights, pulled it at the last minute. An unofficial screening was held for a select group of invitees.
  23. 23. 2. Poison (1991) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 11676 SYNOPSIS: Part horror film, part drama, part expose, with an offbeat morality Poison examines ́ the motives behind a seven-year-old boy's murder of his father, relates the story of a scientist who isolates the sex drive in liquid form, and graphically explores the sexually obsessive relationship between two prison inmates.(UH Voyager) THEY SAID: The National Endowment for the Arts grant that was a tiny fraction of its small budget made Todd Haynes's film a lightning rod in the raging culture wars of the early '90s. Homophobic right-wingers (including Senator Jesse Helms and conservative minister Donald Wildmon) called for the resignation of NEA head John Frohnmayer, who briefly stood his ground before stepping down in 1992.
  24. 24. 1. Kids (1995) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 12331 SYNOPSIS: An amoral, HIV-positive skateboarder sets out to deflower as many virgins as possible while a local girl who contracted his disease tries to save his next target from her same fate. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Directed by veteran photographer Larry Clark and written by newcomer Harmony Korine, here was an in-your-face portrayal of the one thing guaranteed to freak out the right wing even more than gay sex: adolescent sex. The controversy only picked up after Sundance. Politicians (including Elizabeth Dole) weighed in with dutiful condemnations. Critics dropped disapproving phrases like "jail bait" and "kiddie porn." The film was slapped with an NC-17 rating. Unable to release it through Disney subsidiary Miramax, the Weinstien brothers bought the film back from their corporate bosses and formed an independent company for the express purpose of releasing KIDS.
  25. 25. Top 10 Sundance Documentaries of the Decade “The documentaries did justice to this downer of a decade. You could put together a reasonably good outline of the Iraq occupation or the war on terror or the environmental crisis or the financial bubble just by surveying the festival's nonfiction offerings. The good news? Many of the decade's best Sundance docs filled the gaps left by mainstream journalism; all of them told important stories with sophistication and intelligence.” http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/bestdocumentaries/
  26. 26. 10. Biggie and Tupac (2002) CALL #: DVD 2115 SYNOPSIS: Documentary on the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and the East Coast/West Coast, hip-hop/rap rivalry that culminated in late 1996 and early 1997. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Nick Broomfield investigates the murders of the titular rappers (and hip-hop's East Coast-West Coast rivalry) in his patented mode, somewhere between stalking and performance art. Along the way he scores an unforgettable prison-yard interview with Death Row honcho Suge Knight and finds a surprisingly heartfelt tone — embodied by Biggie's redoubtable mom, Voletta Wallace, who welcomes the filmmaker into her home and offers him interviewing tips.
  27. 27. 9. Control Room (2004) CALL #: DVD 2510 SYNOPSIS: A chronicle providing a rare window into international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab World's most popular news outlet. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Covering Al-Jazeera's coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Jehane Noujaim offers a mirror-image view of Operation Iraqi Freedom and debunks the myth of journalistic objectivity, an illusion that all but evaporates during wartime.
  28. 28. 7. No End in Sight (2007) CALL #: DVD 6135 SYNOPSIS: A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Charles Ferguson's scrupulous overview of the Iraq-war debacle runs through a litany of horrors so relentless it borders on farce. The facts speak for themselves in this sober yet enraging documentary, which traces the fateful decisions to a small circle of hawks acting on behalf of a president who was a clueless outsider in his own administration.
  29. 29. 6. Grizzly Man (2005) CALL #: DVD 3290 SYNOPSIS: A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Werner Herzog found perhaps his ultimate subject in Timothy Treadwell, the bear-loving zoologist who was eaten by a grizzly and left behind ample documentation of his fatal obsession.
  30. 30. 4. The Weather Underground (2003) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 21268 SYNOPSIS: The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Sam Green and Bill Siegel's engrossing portrait of the Weathermen, the antiwar militants who sought to overthrow the U.S. government, powerfully captures the circumstances that bred a revolutionary mindset as well as the factors that led to its demise.
  31. 31. 3. Iraq in Fragments (2006) CALL #: DVD 6325 SYNOPSIS: Stories from modern day Iraq as told by Iraqis living in a time of war, occupation and ethnic tension. (IMDB) THEY SAID: James Longley's three-part chronicle of life after the fall of Saddam, assembled from two years of guerrilla reporting, is the most memorable of the decade's endless stream of Iraq docs — not just for its street-level vantage but also for its poetic stylization, its refusal to portray a war zone in the numbing verite language of news reports.
  32. 32. 2. The Order of Myths (2008) CALL #: DVD 7457 SYNOPSIS: In 2007 Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras is celebrated... and complicated. Following a cast of characters, parades, and parties across an enduring color line, we see that beneath the surface of pageantry lies something else altogether. (IMDB) THEY SAID : Margaret Brown's wry, keenly observant exploration of the still segregated Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama, expands almost imperceptibly into a rich and complicated story about race and class and the curious power of tradition. More than contemplating the history of racism in America, the film does something altogether trickier: it shows why it persists.
  33. 33. 1. The Unforeseen (2007) CALL #: DVD 7926 SYNOPSIS: A documentary about the development around Barton Springs in Austin, Texas, and nature's unexpected response to being threatened by human interference. (IMDB) THEY SAID: While most issue-based docs tend to simplify the issues, Laura Dunn's mesmerizing account of the long-running battle between growth and preservation in Austin, Texas, never stops looking for shades of gray. This beautiful, meditative film embraces a philosophical perspective so vast you might call it cosmic.
  34. 34. Top 10 Overlooked Sundance Films “In theory the juries, critics and distributors are there to ensure that the best movies at any given festival make their way into the marketplace. But films inevitably get lost in the shuffle, and besides, there's no accounting for taste. Here are 10 movies I'd install in the Sundance canon that were unfairly dismissed or ignored or that simply slipped into obscurity.” http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/most-overlookedsundance-films/
  35. 35. 7. Sure Fire (1990) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 18454 SYNOPSIS: Wes, a hard-driving, egocentric entrepreneur, is determined to put his corner of Utah on the map-- regardless of the cost to himself, his family and his friends. On a hunting trip with his son, Wes realizes that he's losing control of things and takes charge in a swift, stunning moment of violence. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: A Utah land developer becomes consumed by his get-rich scheme in this bleak, troubling drama, a typically uncompromising depiction of the curdled American dream from longtime indie agitator Jon Jost.
  36. 36. 6. Trans (1998) CALL #: DVD 0949 SYNOPSIS: The story of 15-year-old Ryan, who dreams his days away in Florida's juvenile detention system. Ryan escapes when a riot between inmates and guards erupts. He hitches a ride back home where he reckons with police, hostile thugs, fraternal ties and the desire to find his estranged mother. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : After breaking out of a juvenile detention center, a teenager goes on the lam in the strip-mall dead zone of southwest Florida. With its woozy rhythms and tranceinducing sound design, Julian Goldberger's impressive debut worms its way into the fractured psyche of its protagonist.
  37. 37. 4. The Slaughter Rule (2002) CALL #: DVD 1574 SYNOPSIS: A high school football player is faced with losses, both on the field and off. Roy is a defeated hero whose only chance of saving his dignity is "the slaughter rule", a forced end to the game before the point of humiliation. Roy becomes lost in a world with rules, but a renegade coach and a new romance give him the strength for one last play. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Anchored by David Morse and Ryan Gosling's rock-solid performances, Alex and Andrew Smith's feature debut is a highplains tone poem about the bonds and frictions between sons and father figures. Shot in majestic CinemaScope by Eric Edwards, it barely sneaked into theaters.
  38. 38. 2. Chameleon Street (1990) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 19369 SYNOPSIS: Dramatizes the true story of William Douglas "Chameleon" Street, a quickwitted, self-tutored young man from Detroit who barely managed to earn a high school diploma, yet in the 70's pulled off a series of high-profile hoaxes. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : Actor-writer-director Wendell B. Harris Jr. won the Grand Jury prize (from a jury that included Steven Soderbergh) for this sharply funny, furiously inventive take on an actual Detroit con artist whose adopted personas include Time reporter, French Yale student and surgeon. Despite raves, this breathtakingly bold film got only the tiniest of releases and became a cult footnote (it finally came out on DVD in 2008). Harris has not directed since.
  39. 39. Top 10 Most Daring Experiments At any given festival the so-called discoveries tend to be flavors of the week more than genuine groundbreakers. Still, Sundance has seen its share of bold aesthetic innovations, and the Frontier section, an often neglected showcase for experimental filmmakers, has grown in recent years. These 10 works, most of them tucked away at the fringes of the festival, tried to do something new. http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/most-daringexperiments/
  40. 40. 10. Strange Culture (2007) CALL #: DVD 7120 SYNOPSIS: A documentary in which actors interpret the legally touchy subject of artist Steve Kurtz, who is being held as a suspected terrorist because of his work. (IMDB) THEY SAID : In recounting the bioterrorism case of artist and FBI target Steve Kurtz, Lynn Hershman Leeson uses a fluid blend of reenactments and deconstructions that coalesce into an intelligent, indignant response to Patriot Act America.
  41. 41. 3. Clean, Shaven (1993) CALL #: DVD 0908 SYNOPSIS: A harrowing story of a schizophrenic man's desperate search for his young daughter. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : With its auditory hallucinations and visual abstractions, Lodge Kerrigan's remarkable debut forces the viewer to share the head space of a tormented schizophrenic (PULP FICTION's Peter Greene, in a great performance). A mix of clinical detail and raw poetry, this radical film demolishes the notion that movies are not suited to expressing inner life.
  42. 42. 2. Gerry (2002) CALL #: DVD 4527 SYNOPSIS: A friendship between two twenty-something men is tested to its very limits when they go on a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Gus Van Sant emerged from his years in the studio wasteland with this wilderness hike, a road to nowhere that led the director out of a creative dead end. A movie with Hollywood stars (Matt Damon, Casey Affleck) that borrows heavily from the likes of Chantal Akerman, Andy Warhol, and Bela Tarr, it was met with bewilderment and walkouts at its Sundance premiere but kicked off a remarkable career reinvention.
  43. 43. 1. Decasia (2002) CALL #: DVD 3499 SYNOPSIS: A meditation on the human quest to transcend physicality, constructed from decaying archival footage and set to an original symphonic score. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Bill Morrison's found-footage piece, assembled entirely from degraded archival clips, is a beautiful, ambivalent essay on the looming extinction of celluloid: an implict call for film preservation and a Zen-like meditation on the state of decay.
  44. 44. Top 10 World-Cinema Films of the Decade An American showcase first and foremost, Sundance has nonetheless expanded its global reach over time and especially in recent years, expanding the world cinema section and splitting it off into competitive categories. These were my favorite non-American films that received their U.S. premieres at Sundance this past decade. http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/best-world-cinema/
  45. 45. 9. Last Life in the Universe (2003) CALL #: DVD 2667 SYNOPSIS: A suicidal, obsessivecompulsive Japanese librarian is forced to hide out with a pot-smoking Thai woman at her shabby beachside home. (IMDB) THEY SAID: This pan-Asian love story — from Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, collaborating with Japanese hearthrob Tadanobu Asano and Hong Kong-based cinematographer Chris Doyle — is hushed and delicate, but no less resonant for that. Fitting that the original Thai title translates as TINY ENORMOUS LOVE STORY.
  46. 46. 8. Up the Yangtze (2007) CALL #: DVD 8562 SYNOPSIS: A "farewell cruise" takes a luxury ship up the vast Yangtze River shortly before completion of the massive Three Gorges Dam. The passengers glimpse a rapidly changing countryside, while the local people struggle to adapt as their lives are irrevocably altered. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: In this intimate yet cinematic debut, Canadian documentarian Yung Chang follows a cruise ship along the world's thirdlongest river, whose banks are about to be flooded for the Three Gorges Dam project. Against this glaring symbol of the new China, Chang picks out the young local workers trained to interact with Western tourists, showing how individual lives have been affected by the abstract forces of modernization.
  47. 47. 4. Bus 174 (2002) CALL #: DVD 2210 SYNOPSIS: A powerful, award-winning examination of the tragic series of events that followed a desperate bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro in 2000 that turned deadly when a SWAT team took evasive action against the drug-addled hijacker. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : Jose Padilha's gripping documentary about a hostage situation that played out live on Brazilian TV in 2000 goes far beyond the incident to piece together the biography of the hijacker, placing a violent tragedy within the context of a wider social disaster.
  48. 48. 3. Bloody Sunday (2002) CALL #: DVD 8504 SYNOPSIS: Recreation of the events of "Bloody Sunday", Jan. 30, 1972, when British troops fired on unarmed protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland. By the end of the day, 13 civilians were dead and 14 more wounded in the tumult and tragedy of Norther Ireland's darkest day. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : At the time still a relative newcomer to fiction, former documentarian Paul Greengrass applied what we now know as his trademark style — raw, hectic, immediate — to the 1972 Derry massacre, the single worst day of the Northern Ireland conflict, and in the process launched perhaps the most intriguing Hollywood career of recent years.
  49. 49. Top 10 Films That Rock http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival /top-ten/ten-films-that-rock/
  50. 50. 8. Young@Heart (2008) CALL #: DVD 8261 SYNOPSIS: A documentary on a chorus of senior citizens from Massachusetts who cover songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth, and other unexpected musicians. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Directors Stephen Walker and Sally George follow a chorus group of senior citizens led by their younger, middle-aged director, Bob Cilman. Sounds boring right? Did I mention this chorus group only sings rock songs? Everything from Jimi Hendrix to Sonic Youth to The Clash to James Brown, these folks can actually rock in their own sort of way. But what's truly moving about this film is the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the chorus members, most of which who would otherwise be confined to their nursing homes. You will laugh and you will probably cry, too - I did - as you watch the chorus on their personal and collective journeys.
  51. 51. 7. Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (2007) CALL #: DVD 8115 SYNOPSIS: Documentary follows the life of musician and political activist Joe Strummer. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID : Narrated by Strummer, via old interviews and tapes from his radio show, it celebrates the life of one of punk rock's most influential songwriters. Supplemented with interviews with his friends and some famous fans, it depicts Strummer as a brilliant, yet emotional, legend of all things rock. While the film includes plenty of Clash recordings and live performances, it also opens a window into Strummer's troubled personal life through home videos. Overall, it's a solid piece of work on a man who should never be forgotten.
  52. 52. 6. American Hardcore (2006) CALL #: DVD 7066 SYNOPSIS: Set against the conservative early 80s political landscape, this film chronicles the homegrown hardcore scene that was a swift kick in the head to corporate rock and mainstream complacency, as disaffected teens adopted the same collective credo--harder, faster, louder. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Any self -proclaimed member of the ''counter culture'' should be required to watch this film. While hardcore punk may be dead, the ''Do-It-Yourself'' philosophy created by these musicians has forever changed the face of the music industry. Watch the movie, learn a couple guitar chords, and go start a band.
  53. 53. 5. Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That! (2006) CALL #: DVD 6034 SYNOPSIS: Based on concert footage of October 2004 in Madison Square Garden shot by fans at the concert and edited into a unit. The Beastie Boys handed cameras (mostly high-8) to 50 excited fans, who were told "Do whatever you want, just keep shooting." (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: …this project is one-of-a-kind. After some solid editing by Neal Usatin, the finished product is undeniably ass-kicking. I didn't think I was in to the Beastie Boys anymore, but after watching this, within moments, I was blasting Ill Communication in my room. Sorry, mom.
  54. 54. 1. DIG! (2004) CALL #: DVD 3694 SYNOPSIS: Dig! plunges into the underbelly of rock 'n' roll, unearthing an amazing true tale of success, self destruction, friendship, and the ultimate rivalry between two up-and-coming bands: Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: While the Warhols enjoyed moderate success, the more-talented (in my opinion) Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by their self-sabotaging mastermind Antone Newcombe, provide the real entertainment via on-stage fist fights, heavy drug usage and starving-artist lifestyle required to fulfill all the typical rock band clich's…It's like having an orgasm during a ten-car pileup on the freeway. Definitely a rare, must-see experience.
  55. 55. Top 10 Sundance Fiction Films of the Decade If the '90s were the boom years at Sundance, the '00s were a more unsettled time, swinging between optimism and pessimism, bumper crops and aesthetic droughts, as uncertainty increased about the future of distribution, criticism, and film itself. Amid all this volatility, plenty of great work was produced — upholding the best traditions of independent film and maybe even inventing some new ones. http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/best-fiction-films/
  56. 56. 10. Smiley Face (2006) CALL #: DVD 6726 SYNOPSIS: After a young actress unknowingly eats her roommate's pot cupcakes, her day becomes a series of misadventures. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Based on a script by Dylan Haggerty and featuring a very funny Anna Faris, Gregg Araki's delightfully strange pot odyssey is presumably the only stoner movie in history to revolve around a first-edition copy of The Communist Manifesto and, with a rousing scene in a sausage factory, pay tribute to JeanLuc Godard and Jane Fonda's 1972 agitprop farce TOUT VA BIEN.
  57. 57. 9. The Savages (2007) CALL #: DVD 7976 SYNOPSIS: A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Tamara Jenkins's sharp, unsentimental tragicomedy, in which two combative siblings (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) must care for a semiestranged father with dementia, deftly sidesteps the cliches of the dysfunctionalfamily movie that has long been a Sundance staple.
  58. 58. 8. The Sleepy Time Gal (2001) CALL #: DVD 3775 SYNOPSIS: A young woman, played by Martha Plimpton learns of her adoption and eventually quits her law firm job in NYC and goes on a journey to find her birth mother played by Jaqueline Bissett. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Christopher Munch's portrait of a middle-aged woman with cancer (Jacqueline Bisset) doesn't tailor its protagonist's eccentricities to the usual shape of an illness melodrama. This tender, limpid film is, in the end, less about its willful heroine's preparation for death than about the fullness and complexity of her singular life.
  59. 59. 7. Half Nelson (2006) CALL #: DVD 5259 SYNOPSIS: An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Built around a knockout performance by Ryan Gosling as a crackaddicted junior-high teacher, this sly classroom drama both honors and subverts its familiar genre, and smuggles in some dialectical theory and a political point of view to boot. The filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden more than lived up to the promise of this debut with 2008's SUGAR.
  60. 60. 6. In the Bedroom (2001) CALL #: DVD 4303 SYNOPSIS: A New England couple's collegeaged son dates an older woman with two small children and an unwelcome exhusband. Then something terrible occurs in this wrenching, emotional drama. (IMDB) THEY SAID : The standout among the decade's Sundance actor-turned-directors, Todd Field made his debut with this adaptation of an Andre Dubus story: a stark, patient study of grief and a vigilante film that resists the customary satisfactions of revenge.
  61. 61. 3. Old Joy (2006) CALL #: DVD 6675 SYNOPSIS: Friends, Kurt and Mark, reunite for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade mountain range east of Portland, Oregon. For Mark, the weekend outing offers a respite from the pressure of his imminent fatherhood; for Kurt, a long series of carefree adventures. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: In Kelly Reichardt's subdued but endlessly suggestive road movie, two old friends search for a remote hot spring, and perhaps for something more elusive. In this open-ended elegy, a lament for lost ideals and forgotten selves, the passing landscape, seen from a moving car, comes to stand for the irretrievable past.
  62. 62. 2. Donnie Darko (2001) CALL #: DVD 3591 SYNOPSIS: A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Set on the eve of the '88 BushDukakis contest and starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the brooding Donnie, Richard Kelly's debut combines wormhole metaphysics and apocalyptic teen angst to sensational effect. With a soundtrack that brings to mind a beloved mix tape, this was one of the defining cult movies of the aughts and remains the last word on growing up in the Reaganite '80s.
  63. 63. 1. Primer (2004) CALL #: DVD 3952 SYNOPSIS: Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention. (IMDB) THEY SAID: A couple of white-collar drones tinkering away in a suburban garage accidentally invent a time machine — before long, reality is spinning off its axis. Both a satire and an embodiment of DIY resourcefulness, Shane Carruth's ingenious feedback loop of a movie matches braintwisting paradoxes with coolly composed visuals and science-nerd banter. Winner of the 2004 Grand Prize.
  64. 64. Top 10 Gay-Themed Films Conceived in the heyday of queer theory and AIDS activism, the New Queer Cinema of the early '90s was a galvanizing but short-lived movement. Still, its edge rubbed off on Sundance, which has since had a welcome mat out for provocation and transgression. http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/top-ten/best-gaythemed-films/
  65. 65. 10. The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2005) CALL #: DVD 10315 SYNOPSIS: Maxi, a twelve-year-old Filipino boy, crushes on a policeman who is investigating Maxi's family of thieves.(UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Effeminate and precocious, the 12-year-old Filipino boy of the title can't help standing out in his gritty Manila slum. But the tough guys around him are surprisingly unflappable, as is director Aureaus Solito, who handles his pubescent protagonist's sexual awakening with composure and sensitivity.
  66. 66. 7. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) CALL #: DVD 8794 SYNOPSIS: A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor. (IMDB) THEY SAID: A quarter century before Gus van Sant and Sean Penn brought him to life, Rob Epstein's documentary made very clear the symbolic importance and the practical lessons of the slain San Francisco activist.
  67. 67. 6. The Hours and Times (1991) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 8863 SYNOPSIS: A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963. (IMDB) THEY SAID: Beatles manager Brian Epstein took John Lennon to Barcelona for a long weekend in the spring of 1963. With consummate delicacy and grace, Christopher Munch's speculative chamber piece suggests what might have happened.
  68. 68. 5. Paris is Burning (1990) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 6773 or VIDEOTAPE 16149 SYNOPSIS: Story of the young men of Harlem who originated 'voguing' and turned these stylized dance competitions into glittering expressions of fierce personal pride. A story of street-wise urban survival, gay self-affirmation, and the pursuit of a desperate dream. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Jennie Livingston's documentary about the Harlem drag-costume balls is a vivid chronicle of a consistently surprising subculture, where black and Latino gay men reinvent themselves in the images of mainstream pop culture. It won the documentary competition, the same year that POISON topped the dramatic category.
  69. 69. 4. Mysterious Skin (2004) CALL #: DVD 3834 SYNOPSIS: A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth. (IMDB) THEY SAID: With his outlaw road movie THE LIVING END Gregg Araki became the bad boy of the New Queer Cinema. This coming-of-age heartbreaker was an artistic maturation no one saw coming. With newfound sincerity and the fearless directness that had long been his hallmark, Araki tells a story of child abuse that avoids easy moralizing and sensationalism.
  70. 70. 3. Swoon (1992) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 8771 SYNOPSIS: A film noir "thriller" that presents the true case of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, brilliant young men from good Jewish families, who were convicted for murdering a 13-year-old boy. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: Tom Kalin's coolly cerebral, boldly stylized take on the '20s child-murdering gay lovers Leopold and Loeb is as original as truecrime case studies get. Shot in beautiful blackand-white, the film won Ellen Kuras the first of her three Sundance cinematography prizes and, coming just a year after POISON, confirmed Christine Vachon as a producing force for the ages.
  71. 71. 2. Edward II (1991) CALL #: VIDEOTAPE 7661 SYNOPSIS: Edward II embraces the essential dramatic themes of passion, murder, and unrequited love. Steven Waddington plays the monarch as a man whose destiny hangs on his overpowering passion and lack of responsibility to the British throne. He rebuffs his wife, Isabella, lavishing affection on the handsome Gaveston --a choice that ultimately seals his fate. (UH Voyager) THEY SAID: One of the great cine-iconoclasts of all time, Derek Jarman, who died in 1994, paid a visit to Park City the year the New Queer Cinema was christened, and brought with him one of his best movies, a Christopher Marlowe adaptation bristling with the clear-eyed fury that characterized much of his late work.

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