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Sundance: Evolution of a Festival

Updated January 27, 2010

As park of Movie City: Park City, FilmInFocus’ Nick Dawson looks at ten years that have shaped the Sundance Film Festival.

1978: The First Year
1981: A Move to Park City
1985: A New Partnership Fosters Fresh Talent
1989: Soderbergh's Sex Spells Success
1991: Emergence of the Sundance Generation
1994: Low Budget, High Demand
1996: A Record-Breaking Year
1999: The Year of the Witch
2004: A Classic Sundance Year
2010: New Beginnings, New Directions


Since its humble beginnings in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival has grown to become the most important American film festival and one of the unmissable events of the international fest calendar (along with Berlin, Cannes and Venice). It has been the launchpad for the careers of numerous filmmakers – from the Coen brothers and Jim Jarmusch through to Brick’s Rian Johnson and Sin Nombre’s Cary Fukunaga – and has been the single biggest factor in the creation of a vibrant American independent film scene in the United States. Now, with the 2010 edition of Sundance in full swing, we look back at ten pivotal years in the exponential growth of Park City’s pride and joy.




Focus at Sundance

Updated January 26, 2010

Over the last decade, Focus Features had developed a special relationship with the Sundance Film Festival.

The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries




Ben Stiller: From Slapstick to Satire

Updated January 22, 2010

For Ben Stiller, Greenberg is only the last in a parade of remarkable characters. Click through his slide show.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Reality Bites (1994)
Slide 3: Flirting with Disaster (1996)
Slide 4: There's Something about Mary (1998)
Slide 5: Permanent Midnight (1998)
Slide 6: Mystery Men (1999)
Slide 7: Meet the Parents (2000)
Slide 8: Zoolander (2001)
Slide 9: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story  (2004)
Slide 10: Tropic Thunder (2008)
Slide 1: Introduction

Slide 1: Introduction

In Greenberg, Ben Stiller plays a character that may surprise people. While the film is a comedy, Stiller is neither zany, nor silly, nor slapstick, nor satirical. He is a lost soul who has moved to Los Angeles to find himself in a comedy of very human proportions. As an introduction to his performance, we wanted to review the unique ways that Stiller has used his different persona to create original comic characters.




Ben Stiller, From Slapstick to Satire

Updated January 22, 2010

For Ben Stiller, Greenberg is only the last in a parade of remarkable characters. Click through his slide show.

Ben Stiller, From Slapstick to Satire
Ben Stiller, From Slapstick to Satire

© administrator

Ben Stiller, From Slapstick to Satire




Ray Pride's Park City

Updated January 21, 2010

A regular Sundance Film Festival attendee captures the celebrated cinema event from angles that many never get to see.

Slide 1: Ray Pride's Park City
Slide 2: 2007 - Back Scratching
Slide 3: 2007 - Autism every day
Slide 4: 2007 - Cart Blanche
Slide 5: 2007 - George Romero
Slide 6: 2007 - Children's Cemetery
Slide 7: 2007 - Castoff Catalogue
Slide 8: 2007 - Interview Chair Filmmakers Lodge
Slide 9: 2007 - Sky Above Shuttle
Slide 10: 2008 - Grids
Slide 11: 2008 - Greta Gerwig
Slide 12: 2008 - Three Style Recording
Slide 13: 2008 - Mickey Cottrell
Slide 14: 2008 - Marina Zenovich makes a deal
Slide 15: 2008 - Shuttle Approach
Slide 16: 2008 - Late Night Explainers Yarrow Bar
Slide 17: 2008 - Eug
Slide 18: 2008 - Swanberg Seeks Party
Slide 19: 2009 - Main Street Inauguration Day
Slide 20: 2009 - Carr on Main Street
Slide 21: 2009 - Dude, Dudess
Slide 22: 2009 - Eccles
Slide 23: 2009 - Starry Pierce Bronson
Slide 24: 2009 - Papa Spike
Slide 25: 2009 - Nick Fraser, David Wilson
Slide 26: 2009 - Soderbergh Flip
Slide 27: 2009 - Volunterry
Slide 1: Ray Pride's Park City

Slide 1: Ray Pride's Park City

Every January, Utah’s prime ski town, Park City, is transformed into Indie Film City, USA, when a rush of filmmakers, producers, agents, distributors, journalists and other film industry folk descend on the poor village for the Sundance Film Festival. If you regularly attend the fest, you no doubt would have bumped into Chicago film journalist Ray Pride, who has returned to Park City year after year to interview filmmakers, watch movies, and meet up with old friends. In the last few years, Ray has taken to documenting his yearly sojourn by capturing the wintry scene in photos. Click through to see the festival from the eyes of a real insider.




Mary Zophres Shows Up and Suits Up

Updated January 08, 2010

Go behind the scenes with Mary Zophres, the costume designer of A Serious Man, and click through a slideshow of her work.

Slide 1: Mary Zophres, Suited Up
Slide 2: A Serious Man - Making the 60s Square
Slide 3: A Serious Man - Clothes Make the Swinging Man
Slide 4: Fargo - Before Its Time
Slide 5: The Big Lebowski - "Terminally Relaxed"
Slide 6: O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Dressing Down
Slide 7: The Man Who Wasn't There - Putting Color in Black and White
Slide 8: Catch Me If You Can - A World of Costume Changes
Slide 1: Mary Zophres, Suited Up

Slide 1: Mary Zophres, Suited Up

It only took one day on set for Mary Zophres to realize what she wanted to do in film. “I started off a costume production assistant on Born on the Fourth of July,” explains Zophres. “On the first day, there was a big pile of clothes, and the designer asked me to divide them into the 50s, 60s or 70s. I was so happy that day; because I had been a thrift store rat my whole life, I knew exactly what I was doing. From that day, it was very clear that not only did I want to become a costume designer but I was cut out for it.” Working her way up the ranks, Zophres eventually came under the wing of costume designer Richard Hornung, who’d worked with the Coen brothers on several films. In 1996, when Hornung was unable to do Fargo, he pushed his protégé to the front of the line. From then on, Zophres has been costuming the Coen brothers’ films. “Ninety percent of the reason that I love my job so much is that I have been so fortunate to work with the Coen brothers. They have assembled an amazing group of people to work with but they are also such an amazing couple of people to work for.” Click through the following slides and let Mary explain her work on a range of films.




Roger Deakins: Sticking to the Script

Updated January 07, 2010

The Coen brothers' favored cinematographer talks about the films he’s brought to screen.

Slide 1: Roger Deakins, Director of Photography
Slide 2: A Serious Man - A Skewed Focus
Slide 3: Sid and Nancy - First Shots
Slide 4: The Man Who Wasn’t There - Modern B&W
Slide 5: The Hudsucker Proxy - Just Bold Enough
Slide 6: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - An Old West Mood
Slide 7: Barton Fink - New Approaches
Slide 8: Barton Fink - Lighting the Hallway
Slide 9: Fargo - Fighting the Elements
Slide 10: WALL-E - Bring Animation to Light
Slide 1: Roger Deakins, Director of Photography

Slide 1: Roger Deakins, Director of Photography

Think of a film shot by Roger Deakins and a few things will come to mind—beautifully framed shots, sensitive lens work, and, most of all, a visual language that’s in perfect harmony with not only the film’s narrative but also its deepest themes. From his earliest work in the mid-1970s, Deakins has become one of today’s top directors of photography not by creating a signature style but by evocatively shooting in sync with story and character. “It’s always about the script,” Deakins says when asked how he chooses his projects. “I think, ‘Is this something I want to go and see in the cinema myself? Is it something that moves me? Are the characters interesting, do they have something to say to me? Do they change? Do they develop during the film?’ I read a script and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, that affects me in some way.’ But I will never read a script and think, ‘Oh, that will be visually interesting.’”

Born in England and with an early career that included the study of photography and documentary work in Africa, Deakins early on shot Michael Radford’s Orwell adaptation, 1984; Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy; and Mike Figgis’ Stormy Monday. In 1991 he shot the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink, beginning a relationship that has lasted through all their subsequent films, including the Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and No Country for Old Men, all of which he received Oscar nominations for. Among his many other credits are The Shawshank Redemption, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Reader, and Kundun. We caught up with Deakins by phone and he gave us his thoughts on eight of his films, including A Serious Man and four others by the Coens.




Slideshow Test

Updated January 06, 2010







Jess Gonchor: Production Design in Action

Updated January 06, 2010

The designer of the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man shows us how he works.

Slide 1: Jess Gonchor, Production Designer
Slide 2: A Serious Man
Slide 3: A Serious Man
Slide 4: Burn After Reading
Slide 5: No Country For Old Men
Slide 6: Away We Go
Slide 7: Production Design as storytelling
Slide 1: Jess Gonchor, Production Designer

Slide 1: Jess Gonchor, Production Designer

Jess Gonchor’s first love was theater. Growing up not far from New York City, he could come down to work on off-off-Broadway theater. Then, as he recounts, “one day I worked on a film for the BBC and I saw all these lights coming in, all these big sets coming in. I was like, ‘Wow, what is this? I got to try this. This looks like I could maybe make a living out of it.’ Soon after that, I drove out to Los Angeles to work in film. It really helped me working in the theater, because there you only have $.50 to do something, and you have to make it work. So once I had a little bit of a budget I could really do something.”