Sundance 2016 Talking Movies


Sundance 2016

Tom Brook looks back at the internationally respected showcase for independent cinema - the Sundance Film Festival.


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Hello and welcome to the Sundance Film Festival, here in Park city

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Utah. I am Tom Brookes. In today's programme we will be looking back at

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the highlights of this 11 day film extravaganza. We report on the first

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major depiction of President Obama as a younger man on his first date

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with the future first Lady. It is not a date until you save his. A

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documentary which tells a strange story of North Korea's Kim Jong

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Il's kidnapping of a director and his actress ex-wife. Also the tragic

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tale of the Florida TV reporter who killed herself on the air. And from

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Afghanistan, a documentary of sorts in which the country is revealed

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through the eyes of children. All that and more in this special

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Sundance Film Festival edition of Talking Movies. Over the past ten

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days, the Sundance Film Festival, cofounded by Robert Redford more

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than 30 years ago has been taking place here in Park city. A large

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contingent of filmmakers made it to Sundance Film Festival this year.

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All in all, some 120 film features were shown and they encountered a

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variety of responses. Up in the mountains, a 45 Minute Drive from

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salt lake city -- Salt Lake City is the festival which is home to a

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veritable feast of movies, featuring films from 27 different countries.

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Everything from a documentary portrait of the late musician and

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composer Frank Zappa to an electrifying slave revolt drama the

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Birth of a Nation which set a record for sales. The films covered a lot

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of subjects, Oley Help cover the cult which originated in California.

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Many members lost faith in their leader. They were so blissed out and

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hide without drugs. Daniel Radcliffe and fellow actor Paul Dano starting

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Swiss Army Man which wasn't well-received. Was it a challenge

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playing a corpse? Physically, obviously there's a lot of things to

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do in the film that I had to work out ways of doing which felt really

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natural in keeping with the character. And also, it is still

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weirdly emotional even though he is dead. I was trying to work out how

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to communicate that all being dead. Also from India the team who created

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one of the first overt Indian sex comedies. I don't really drink.

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Nonsense. Everybody drinks. We have a billion people back home and no

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one talks about sex and I think this is a deep-rooted problem in India. I

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think most Indians are like this. And I really hope that this film

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helps further, to make it easy for the next filmmaker to come out and

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do something like this. They put her into the back of the van I didn't

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know if I was going to see her again. One well-received picture was

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Jim the James Foley Story which told the story of a journalist but by

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Islamic State in 2015. It was put together by a childhood friend of

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James Foley. As a filmmaker, Sundance Film Festival is amazing.

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But this film is bittersweet. It is a film that I never would want to

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make. Why don't you let me take you? Films like Sex come out Lies

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and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs have been hits in the past. Last

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year, Brooklyn, a best picture contender this year in the Oscars

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race debuted at Sundance Film Festival. This year, there could be

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future award favourites. The directors who find their films have

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been selected can be in for a heady experience. This woman made Kiki

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which explores the culture of LGBT youths who explore dance. I wanted

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the film to be seen by many people in many different audiences and I

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think that Sundance Film Festival can be the gateway for that. I don't

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see it as a commercial film but I know I wanted a big audience. For

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all the people who consider Sundance Film Festival a wondrous place to

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be, there are many challenges, mainly the struggles that filmmakers

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have in trying to make sure their films have an afterlife once they

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leave. It used to be that Sundance films would wind up in art-house

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cinemas but now streaming services have changed the length gate. And

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the first half of the festival, Internet streaming services were the

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most commonplace bidders. Companies like Netflix and iTunes have

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dramatically changed the marketplace for independent film and they have

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been the epicenter of independent film. These companies have had a

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huge influence in the way that movies get out there in the world.

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The festival has a big impact locally in Park city where hordes of

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people descend on this winter ski resort. It increases business and

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drives business. It is paper restaurants and makes the community

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vibrant. I think it is a big positive. There were themes that

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Sundance this year, four pictures on gun violence, and films touching on

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race. A range of movies which festival-goers anchored in reality.

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Even among the fictional offerings, many of this year's Sundance stories

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dealt with real issues and events. I need you to go and prevent the

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assassination of John F. Kennedy. One of the more intriguing stories

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that Sundance this year could be found in the documentary the Lovers

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and the Despots which sheds light on how Kim Jong Il allegedly kidnapped

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a director and his actress ex-wife. The purpose of this abduction was

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apparently to enable the North Korean leader to have his own

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personal filmmaking team. BBC Culture editor Anderson reports. If

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you made this up it would be too far-fetched. This actress went

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missing in Hong Kong and shortly after her husband, a director went

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missing as well. Years later they appeared making movies in North

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Korea. They claimed they had been kidnapped and brought to North Korea

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where they were forced by Kim Jong Il to make films for the regime. It

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is an incredible tale, told by two British documentary makers. The

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actress who was the protagonist in our story, she was quite protective

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and there was a little bit of controversy about the story, whether

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they were willing or not. We had to be careful. The other main problem

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we encountered was, we have the actress telling her story, but there

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are two other main characters, the director had died a few years

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earlier and Kim Jong Il was still alive when we first started making

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the film but he has since died. Kim Jong Il was mad about movies. His

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personal film collection was said to be comprised of more than 15,000

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tapes. He had people in Embassies picking up prints of films from

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around the world to deliver and translate to him. He had this huge

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scope of knowing what movies were like and he loved them. But he also

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saw what was being produced in North Korea and he wasn't satisfied with

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it. The whole crazy story was presented as true in the Sundance

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documentary but many in South Korea don't believe the actress. They

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claimed A2 went over willingly to the north where Kim Jong Il lavish

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them with budgets and resources to make movies that would be

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unfavorable in the South. But the documentary features tapes, the

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first ever recording of Kim Jong Il's voice. The filmmakers save A2

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were kidnapped. She recorded him secretly in the meeting to try to

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get him to confess to prove their story was true. She knew that South

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Koreans wouldn't believe it because it is a crazy story. It's kind of

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makes you tune into the words that are being said and it does leave a

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bit more to the imagination in terms of what is going on in the room. In

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South Korea, the director's films had run massively over budget but

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once he was in the North, money was no object. When Kim Jong Il is your

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patron, you can do pretty much anything on a movie set. Budgets

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were not a factor and there is an anecdote about him saying that he

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had an idea for a film with the crescendo of the steam train blowing

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up and he asked Kim Jong Il if you would be able to do that and he said

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yes -- if he would. The movie went down well with audiences at its

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Sundance premiere but the critical reaction has been mixed. Many felt

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that the relatively straightforward style of filmmaking which mixes

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archival footage and talking head interviews was disappointingly

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mismatched with such a jaw-dropping story. We are used to the story but

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hopefully there are people out there who have not seen or heard about it.

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Maybe somewhere. And that is the exciting thing. To imagine myself

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watching this for the first time, I think it is a really crazy story.

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Conflict on Afghanistan has been represented in several different

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documentaries but nothing is quite like the Land of

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which showed here at Sundance. It looks at the country through the

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children and was shot over a period of seven years. It is a mixture of

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dream and reality. to marry to add favour to the union.

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First of all, we wanted to Afghanistan today. I wanted to tell

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the imagination of the kids and that is how we ended up in a more

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fictional storyline embedded in a story about reality today in

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Afghanistan. Who was pro- train the children? Were they real children or

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actors? The kids in the minefield who were digging up the mines were

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real people, they do this day in and day out. Their parents ask them to

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do it to make money. They sell it for scrap metal. They sell the

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explosives. The board's dream was based on many

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with different groups of children that I met and I wanted to

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wanted to go one step beyond and really go into the world

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children. The film is striking to look at. You shot it your self.

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texture of the film -- we shot it in. We wanted to have these really

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timeless shots use different techniques to try to

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explain and to visualise the dramatic landscapes. How would you

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describe the genre of the film? Is it a documentary or a fictional

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film? I think it is still a documentary because what we are

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showing, for me, is not invented. Everything that we show is related

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to the country itself. But we characters to interpret things. What

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does your film tell us about Afghanistan that we don't already

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know from news media? Because it is not as if we are short of images

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about Afghanistan? No, that is true. I showed the film a while ago to a

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UN conference about the future in Afghanistan, so they were all

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experts on Afghanistan and they said this was the first film that they

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saw which was so focused on local people and not only focused on the

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war and Nato and the Americans fighting. But really going deeper

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into daily life. In 1974, a Florida television

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reporter created shockwaves which it picked up a gun and killed herself

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on the air. That harrowing incident has inspired two films that were

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shown at Sundance this year. On a fiction film and the other a

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documentary. It is a documentary called Cate Plays Christine that we

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focus on in this report. I am hoping to find the tape. In this film the

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focus is on a TV journalist who killed herself on the air in 1974.

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We know she was a serious journalist, Berry tired of how the

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movement towards blood and cost news and she also did the biggest blood

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and guts news thing possible. -- Berry tired of the movement towards

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blood and guts news. Anything that you archived offer.

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Kate Plays Christine stars a rising actress as herself, as she prepares

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to play the role of Christine. She travels to Florida, where Christine

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worked and eventually died to find answers. There are a lot of opinions

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about her and stories. No one has had any particular insight. I don't

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know exactly why she did what she did and I will never know. There's a

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great impulse, human impulse, to explain tragedy and we certainly

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buttered up against that quite a bit in talking to people. Another

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Sundance film about Christine this year it is Christine, a drama

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starring Rebecca Hall. Both films have been breakout hits at the

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Sundance Film Festival this year, earning rave reviews. Rather than

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competing against each other the film is actually completely the

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other, with Christine being a heartfelt dramatisation and Kate

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Plays Christine a more subversive deconstruction of the story. The

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challenge of promoting both of these films at Sundance has been about

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making them. How do you present the story in a way that is empathetic

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and not exploitative? It is not fetishising some very dark story,

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that we will all now turn to movie and is about great, it is actually

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about intimately regarding someone who is struggling to survive. And

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who doesn't begin by society's standards and who is on a consistent

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emotional rollercoaster that she can't handle and she hasn't got the

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tools to deal with life. I think that's actually what this film is

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about, is looking at someone like that and feeling for them and

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understanding them. I have decided to kill myself. I will blow my

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brains out right on this programme a week from today. Christine

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Chubbuck's suicide is believed to have inspired this film, also

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featuring a suicidal news anchor. The actions may be even more

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relevant to today's media landscape. The fact that she has suicide speech

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was reeling against blood and guts television is something that has

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become even more prevalent today than it was 40 years ago. And also

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the fact that she decided to enter a life on television in such a public

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way, I think our desire as a culture to make parts of our lives public is

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so much more prominent now. Everyday we are confronted with images and we

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have to think about whether we look at them or not. If you look on CNN

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you see the shooting or something and you've always got... People are

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always questioning whether they should click on that link or not.

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These people have opinions about what might have driven her to do it.

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The story raises powerful questions and deserves to be recognised. It is

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a shame that she is only getting the recognition now in death that she

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might have preferred to have while living.

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A film inspired by President Obama and his wife was a big talking point

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at Sundance this year. It is additional account of the

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President's Cup is the dates to win the first Lady. All the action takes

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place on a single day in Chicago in 1989.

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The world premiere of the film. The actor arrives looking remarkably

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like young President Obama. Also there is the actress who presents

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some resemblance to the first Lady. He was playing the young President

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Obama act at 27 and present him as thoughtful. He was just coming to

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the realisation that he could do something big in politics. Other

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than that he was not a nerd is a big reader, an avid reader. The film's

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focus is on his first date with his wife to be, Michelle. They both

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worked in the same law office. She was a working attorney, his

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supervisor. The film will open at the Walkabout town chatting. You

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think I'm cute? I didn't say that. They talk about her father with MS,

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they talk about why does she love what she is doing? Does she love

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it? He challenges her and she challenges him about his father. So

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it is real-life conversations. How difficult was it for you to get this

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right? I worked from a straight on impersonation first and foremost. I

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get this sort of the down and make sure I can do that and then I bring

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it back and by the time I get on set I would try to drop at all. So the

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register -- residue was still there, so you still have some mannerisms.

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Many critics at Sundance have been impressed by this film, as have

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festival-goers. I really enjoyed it. It was a love story and I was

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expecting more of a pickle pit of some sort and it was really... I

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thought it was beautifully done. -- political pitch. I loved it. It was

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so direct and to see where they met, I had no idea. I didn't know the

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background story. To see Chicago, I loved the meeting they had. But how

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accurate is it? The film very closely adheres to the real Aya

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graphical details of their lives. As far as what they talk about, it's

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all conjecture. But is the timing right? President Obama is near the

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end of his term. My baby -- might be the more interested on coaxing on

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Hillary Clinton or politics of the moment? -- focusing on. It is truly

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a love story and you see two powerful minds walk and talk all

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day. I love it because it is before cellphones so they have to talk to

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each other. It is a film that is favourable to the Obamas, it puts

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them in a flattering light. But the director says there was no

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interference from the White House. No meddling. I've heard from

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reliable horses that the couple are aware of the movie and beyond that I

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don't know anything. It's a picture that will probably play better to

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Democrats and Republicans. Had it been released earlier in his term it

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might have been seen as propaganda. But instead most who see it it

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humanises them. As one leading entertainment trade paper put it,

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it's a disarmingly dramatic Walkabout. OK, it's not a date.

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Fine. Until you say it is. Well, that brings this special Sundance

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addition of Talking Movies to a close. We hope you have enjoyed the

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programme. Remember, you can always contact us online and you can find

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us on Facebook. From me and the rest of the production team here in

:22:47.:22:52.

Utah, goodbye, as we leave you with a Michael Jackson video that is

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partly featured in a new documentary all about him, directed by Spike Lee

:22:56.:22:58.

and shown here at Sundance. On Friday, Shetland recorded the

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strongest wind here for 16 years. Gusts of 105 mph,

:23:32.:23:34.

particularly damaging winds across the Northern Isles on Friday but

:23:35.:23:38.

very windy for the north of Northern Ireland, north-east England, gusty

:23:39.:23:41.

winds and the Scottish capital.

:23:42.:23:46.

Tom Brook looks back at the internationally respected showcase for independent cinema - the Sundance Film Festival.


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