The Sundance Film Festival announced another batch of titles this afternoon, including the debut of a new section called Spectrum: Documentary, which will debut the latest films from two filmmakers who've had very good luck in Park City, Morgan Spurlock and Stacy Peralta.
The sidebar of 7 films also features the extremely curious inclusion of Stephen Walker's Young@Heart, which was a big ticket pick-up for Fox Searchlight when it screened at the LA Film Festival earlier this year. The film has also already screened on British television. As such, it's one of the few films in the announced festival line-up that has absolutely no "premiere status" at this year's fest.
Now, I'm all for throwing much of the obsession with "premiere status" out the window, but one has to wonder what never-before-seen documentary film didn't get into Sundance so that Fox Searchlight could have the big Sundance laurel/brand to put on their trailers/posters for their "senior citizen choir does rock songs" effort? I'm just sayin...
Here's the line-up for Sundance's Spectrum: Documentary sidebar, with descriptions provided by the festival:
ANVIL! THE TRUE STORY OF ANVIL
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal," influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. World Premiere
THE BLACK LIST
Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists, providing a series of living portraits—a unique glimpse into the zeitgeist of black America—and redefining traditional notions of a "blacklist." World Premiere
Directed by Susan Koch
The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup. World Premiere
Directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller & Jeremy Newberger
David and Greg are "The Linguists," who document languages on the verge of extinction. In the rugged landscapes of Siberia, India, and Bolivia, their resolve is tested by institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. World Premiere
MADE IN AMERICA
Directed by Stacy Peralta
With a first-person look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, this film examines the conditions that have led to decades of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles. World Premiere
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores every nook and cranny of the Middle East on a quest to find the world's most wanted man. World Premiere
Directed by Stephen Walker
A choir of Massachusetts senior citizens delights audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash and Coldplay to Jimi Hendrix and Sonic Youth.
In addition to these titles, the festival announced today that Neil Young's film of the recent Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert tour - CSNY DEJA VU - would be the closing night film.
In addition, 3D technology comes to Park City in the form of a U2 concert film, titled, what else, U2 3D. That film, which is co-directed by Mark Pellington, marks one of two Pellington films in the Premieres section of the festival.
Further, the festival announced today that this year they will give craft awards to films competing in the World Dramatic and World Documentary Competitions. Says the festival:
In an effort to draw attention to international screenwriters, cinematographers, and editors, this year, the Festival expands the number of awards given to films screening in the World Cinema Competitions. In addition to the World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary and World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic, the international films in competition are now eligible for awards in directing, editing, screenwriting, and cinematography.
As noted in our commentary last week, neither the IDA nor Full Frame (nor, it should be mentioned, the Independent Spirit Awards) give any annual craft awards for documentary. Sundance has taken the lead on this point for several years and boldly continues to recognize artistic craft in documentary filmmaking and should be applauded for doing so.