Sundance Film Festival 2014: celebrating 30 years of cinematic independence
Since founding father and Hollywood icon Robert Redford created this event to showcase independent American film three decades ago, Sundance has evolved into one of the most influential star-makers on the film festival circuit. With global visibility and a gold standard reputation, a win at this event is a game-changing feather in any filmmaker’s cap.
Two of the biggest feathers (US Grand Jury & Audience Award Dramatic) went to Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s debut feature about a ruthless music instructor and his drummer pupil Andrew who plagued by fears of mediocrity will pursue perfection at any cost. JK Simmons and Miles Teller (playing the role of Andrew) deliver searing performances. Whiplash has since been acquired by Sony Pictures Classic is scheduled for release later this year.
Staying with music Michael Rossato-Bennett’s groundbreaking US Alzheimer’s documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory deservedly won Audience Award: US Documentary. It explores how music and songs can stimulate a patient’s brain to awaken emotions and memories helping to transform quality of life in their disappearing world.
God Help the Girl is a coming of age tale about a trio of Glaswegians who unite to form a band, this marked an impressive writing and directorial feature debut for Stuart Murdoch (frontman for Scottish band Belle and Sebastian) and received the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance, Murdoch may have taken nearly a decade to achieve his indie pop musical but it would seem his efforts are being richly rewarded.
Taking home the converted Short Film Grand Jury Prize was Of Gods and Dogs, which tells the story of a young free Syrian solider who confesses to killing a innocent man and vows vengeance on the God that made him commit the crime. This subtitled Arabic short was made by Abounaddara, an anonymous collective of Syrian filmmakers working towards changing the record on how Syrian society is portrayed in cinema.
Closer to home running for a third time from the 25th-27th April 2014 is Sundance London, a festival set to feature top independent films straight from the Sundance festival, alongside live music, special events and panel discussions.
For further information and to book tickets for Sundance London visit here.
For all the winners, footage of the awards ceremony and further Sundance information visit here.
US Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Whiplash
US Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Rich Hall
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic:
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: Return to Homs
Audience Award: US Dramatic: Whiplash
Audience Award: US Documentary: Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory
Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Difret
Audience Award: World Cinema: Documentary: The Green Prince
Audience Award: Best of NEXT: Imperial Dreams
Directing Award: US Dramatic: Fishing Without Nets Cutter Hodierne
Directing Award: US Documentary: The Case Against 8 Ben Cotner & Ryan White
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic: 52 Tuesdays Sophie Hyde
Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary: 20,000 Days on Earth Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard