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Jan 31, 2011
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Sundance surprise: Plenty of worthy pictures, but will any of them be hits?

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Another Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, and by most accounts it was a banner year with better movie and more sales than in recent editions. At Saturday night’s awards ceremony, where love story “Like Crazy” picked up the jury prize for best film drama and Iranian lesbian tale “Circumstance” was the audience pick for best drama, veteran critic Todd McCarthy echoed what many festivalgoers were saying almost from the start of the event. The Hollywood Reporter’s chief film critic said, “this is one of the best Sundances I’ve ever been to.”

But what’s next? Critics, audiences and box office will be the judges. “We have to see what happens,” Sundance founder Robert Redford told Reuters on Saturday ahead of the awards. “We can get very excited, but no one’s going to know until the year plays out.”

Jan 30, 2011

“Like Crazy” wins top drama film award at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – Love story “Like Crazy” and assisted suicide documentary “How to Die in Oregon” won the top awards at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, putting both on the list of must-see independent movies for 2011.

“Like Crazy,” directed by Drake Doremus, picked up the jury prize for best drama with its tale of an American woman and British man who fall in love for the first time but move away from each other, testing their relationship.

Jan 27, 2011

A Minute With: director Miguel Arteta at Sundance

By Bob Tourtellotte

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters Life!) – Like other directors, Miguel Arteta borrowed money to make his first movie, 1997′s “Star Maps, which shown at the Sundance Film Festival and launched a career that included independent hits, “The Good Girl” and “Chuck and Buck.”

After the success of 2002′s “Good Girl,” which starred Jennifer Aniston, Arteta moved on to directing television for several years and worked on shows such as “Six Feet Under,” “The Office” and “Ugly Betty.” He returned to indie movies in 2009 with “Youth in Revolt,” starring Michael Cera.

Jan 27, 2011
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Sundance’s unheralded short film and grant winners

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The Sundance Film Festival reaches its climax on Saturday when winners of best feature films and their directors, writers, cinematographers and sometimes actors are announced. And make no mistake, those winners will go on to claim movie glory both outside and inside Hollywood.

Don’t believe us? Take one quick look at last year. What was the Sundance 2010 jury prize winner for best dramatic film? “Winter’s Bone.” What is a 2010 best film Oscar nominee? “Winter’s Bone.” What was the Sundance 2010 jury prize winner for best documentary? “Restrepo.” What is a 2010 best documentary Oscar nominee? “Restrepo.”

Jan 27, 2011

Olsen twins’ kid sister a Sundance sensation

PARK CITY (Reuters) – She may not be as famous as her twin siblings, but after the Sundance Film Festival wraps up this week, the paparazzi may give up on Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and focus their cameras on their little sister.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Olsen has lit up the top annual showcase for independent movies with two films including the suspenseful drama “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which was acquired this week by major indie studio Fox Searchlight.

Jan 25, 2011

Mood brightens for indie film at Sundance 2011

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – The Sundance Film Festival reached its halfway mark on Tuesday with the outlook brightening for independent moviemakers, numerous business deals closing and audiences buzzing about this year’s movies.

The change in 2011 is striking compared to recent years when investor money pulled out of the market and companies shuttered amid the global recession. But this year, new players and an optimistic mood have led to a string of deals on titles including “My Idiot Brother,” “Like Crazy” and “Margin Call.”

Jan 25, 2011

Chaz Bono “a regular Joe” says film director

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – It may be hard to imagine, but the makers of new documentary “Becoming Chaz” want people to know that the little Chastity Bono they remember on Sonny and Cher’s 1970s TV show — the one who is now a man named Chaz — is more like you than you think.

In fact, Chaz Bono is just “a regular Joe,” says Randy Barbato, who along with his filmmaking partner Fenton Bailey produced and directed the movie documenting Chastity’s recent sex change and transformation into Chaz.

Jan 24, 2011

Kevin Smith faces protests as unleashes “Indie 2.0″

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – Film director Kevin Smith has unveiled a plan to self-release his new “Red State” at the Sundance Film Festival, after facing down protesters that brought him publicity money can’t buy.

Invoking the name of movie kingpin Harvey Weinstein and the hockey stick of Wayne Gretzky, Smith said that after 17 years of making movies, he could not think of anything worse than creating a film and turning it over to a studio to market.

Jan 23, 2011

Oprah and OWN give documentaries a lift at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – Media mogul Oprah Winfrey vowed to bring documentary movies into homes across the United States on her new OWN television network in an effort she likened to her hugely successful book club.

At a Saturday launch party at the Sundance Film Festival, which has long championed documentary movies, Winfrey told a delighted crowd that outspoken celebrity Rosie O’Donnell will be OWN’s “curator” of non-fiction films. O’Donnell will host specials in which the films’ makers and subjects are featured when the OWN Documentary Film Club launches this spring.

Jan 23, 2011
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50 Cent at Sundance: A work in progess

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(Note: strong language in quote, paragraph 2)

He’s not the first music star to try a crossover in entertainment to movies. Not even close. But at least Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is smart enough to know he can’t just jump into making films and be instantly an Oscar winner. So, on Saturday at a news conference at the Sundance Film Festival, the rapper whose albums include “Get rich or Die Tryin’” was quick to admit that as an actor and filmmaker, “I”m a work in progress.”

As a rapper, he’s known as 50 Cent, and his early work and life were as remarkable for their violence as they were his music. But as an actor, 50 prefers to use his name, Curtis Jackson. He has been acting for around six years, starting with an action movie titled after his album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” but more recently he has tried to stretch his talents. Three years ago, he came to Sundance and after seeing some of the films here, he told his producing partner, Randall Emmett, “we have to do the same shit they’re doing.” (something makes us think the Sundance organizers don’t consider their films that way, but we knew what Jackson meant).

    • About Bob

      "It's pronounced tour-tell-ot. :-) I am a native of Oklahoma in the U.S. and have lived and worked in Washington, D.C., New York City and Los Angeles. I left Oklahoma and moved to New York in the early 1990s where I set up shop in the East Village (Manhattan), went to school at NYU and joined Reuters. In LA, I have covered the entertainment industry for 17 years, have been Reuters chief movie writer for more than a decade and am currently the entertainment editor."
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