Talking Movies travels to the winter ski resort of Park City in Utah to cover the Sundance Film Festival - one of the world's foremost showcases for independent cinema.
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the Sundance Film Festival,
draws to a close this weekend.
hello and welcome to our look back
at this year's Sundance film
Festival. Highlights from this 11
day independent film extravaganza.
Sundance belonged to women this year
with numerous films about them and
buy them. The meat to an times up
movement were major talking points.
-- me too. Also, the festival
premiere of a live which told the
history of the famous quartet and
more. And the Festival film Our New
President looks at how Russian
YouTube and TV channels covered deep
residential collection. Also, the
intense month long protest over the
Dakota access pipeline bully
examined in a documentary. All but
an more in this special Sundance
addition of Talking Movies.
An activist spirit was evident this
year. People came together to
protest sexual harassment and
assault of women in the film
industry. The -- me too movement
prompted much discussion. There was
an anniversary rally of the women's
This is the year when we said
to rich, powerful men but you can
break our hearts but you can not
break hours a rates.
A women's right
lawyer fired up the crowd. So did
Jane Fonda. Sexual harassment had
been a problem in the world of
independent film as it has been
There is no part of the
film industry that is not affected
by it. Everything has been very
under the rug for many years. I
guess we are going to be seeing how
widespread the problem is in the
Sundance is the first
major film festival to take place
since the Harvey Weinstein story
broke. Some alleged assaults took
place at the festival. To address
the concerns, the Festival's code of
conduct had been updated.
Separately, as Steve -- safe space
environment had been set up for
women to discuss their concerns.
There was solidarity and support
from Star Wars.
There has been a
tectonic shift. Appeals like people
have really been listening to women
and everybody is saying things have
to change. There has been a lot of
hurt, a lot of suffering, a lot of
the silences, and I really don't
people are going to stand for it
Carey Mulligan thought
there was a need to bring a code of
conduct into operation on film sets,
as has been the case with the play
she appeared in.
We all had to look
through the code of conduct, it
tells you what is expected in the
workplace, it tells you what to do
if someone steps outside of the code
of conduct. I think really solid
action plans like that will move us
Robert Redford's the
Sundance founder, struck a positive
note the press conference.
pretty encouraged right now as this
period of change is, it is bringing
forth more opportunity for women,
and more opportunity for women in
film to have their own voices heard.
Not to be forgotten whether films at
Sundance. There were more than 120
full-length features this year.
noticed the African-American male
experience was really prevalent.
Especially in our US traffic
competition. We observed also a lot
of really interesting, complex,
powerful women on screen, both in
the documentaries, and in the
Moving away from
films getting a lot of attention at
Sundance work virtual reality
installations, with one work which
enabled participants to have the
sensation of touching physical
objects by giving them by breaking
feedback. There was a virtual
reality world that could shed by
several people simultaneously. These
VR projects are ingenious but do
they belong at a film festival?
put someone inside of the goggles.
The person remembers it as something
that has happened to them. That is
why film-makers are showing interest
in PR and these converging
technologies around storytelling
cars it gives us more stalls -- more
tools to tell stories with.
let's move on and look at some other
Sundance films in greater detail.
Our New President was one of the
opening day attractions, it is a
compilation of Russian video
material, TV broadcast and YouTube
channels and looks at how it
portrayed the 20 16th US
presidential election. The film had
been put together by direct to Maxim
We wanted to try to
weave together a film made entirely
out of this information. When we
were initially gathering material,
we wanted every single statement in
the film to be false and the fact
that we could source Russian
television and make a film like
that, but basically doesn't have a
single true statement in it, that
tells something that is horrifying
and really worrying about the state
of media today in general.
The material collected denigrates
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and
places Donald Trump in a flattering
Trump is described as
behaving like a petition Lord and
been very, post and Obama is seen as
indecent and man spreading his legs.
There is lots of kind of racial
connotations about Obama as well.
Sundance audiences responded well to
It was fantastic because
you really get a sense of what an
organisation that wants due
propaganda can achieve. It is an
incredibly powerful film. It shows
the crazy landscape they are in now,
in terms of media and the gander. We
are in a society where news media is
not being trusted anymore. This puts
us in a precarious as ocean and this
film shows us what happens when it
is at this extreme. I am really
hoping that people see this and
realise what is at stake.
ongoing talk of Russian meddling in
the US election gave Our New
President a lot of currency at
Sundance. It earned positive reviews
but there were some do tractors who
felt the documentary lacks context
The film Burden based on a true
story tells of a white supremacist,
a member of the two clubs and who
underwent a transformation. He
leaves the clan only to be taken in
by an African-American minister. It
is a Sundance film with fine
I'm a Klansman.
is set in South Carolina in the
1990s. Mike Burden is a Klansman, he
espouses their racist beliefs, but
things change when he meets Judy.
ended up falling in love with the
single mother named Judy that made
him have to face the decision to
stay in love or stay in the clan.
Then he also meets the Reverend
played by Forest Whitaker who shows
him an immense amount of hospitality
and warmth and takes him in and
becomes a redemption story and a
story about love and acceptance and
accepting who you are in the midst
of a very sort of kind of chaotic
minister who takes him under his
wing has a history of organising
against the clan. He extends himself
to Mike Burden because he believes
he has two practice what he
Mike is a test for the
Reverend, a test of all the things
he has ever believed in. We get a
chance to see him go through that,
we get a chance to see him say, to
his son, if I don't do this, I will
never be able to switch again. If I
don't try to commit, try to find a
solution and believe that love is
the answer, I will never be able to
live by what I believe, I will never
be able to believe -- be the example
in my community. To the world.
story of a black minister saving a
white supremacist isn't fiction, it
is based on a true story.
about it in a blurb in a newspaper
20 years ago. I got in my car and I
drove down to South Carolina. It is
a wild redemptions Rory. It is
insane and crazy but it is the fact
that extremes can change, the
validity change and so when I read
this will be, I'm besieged what the
story could be, I realised that if
we can understand these people, we
can gain empathy for them, and
empathy is the beginning of change.
You get to see a man really
transition in front of your eyes
because of being introduced to a
better future and a better
understanding of how life and love
The kind of racism found in
South Carolina in the 1990s hasn't
disappeared. Groups that espoused
isolationism and hatred have done an
under the things that arise
The movie has a lot of
relevancy. To try to see if there is
a solution, what is the path for us
to be able to come together as a
With Burden at Sundance, the
main audience for reward wasn't the
film itself but the acting,
particularly Arik Headland, who
really shines in his role. His
performance in Burden augurs well
for his future. Among the women
profiled this year are Jane Fonda,
Rocco Joan Jett and Roos against
Berg. At age 84, Rhys has become
something of a pop icon. She is
referred to as the notorious
Abhijit. The candidate white for --
right for profiling.
word for grandmother.
documentary, a more intimate life is
Do you have fake sugar?
There should be some someplace.
only is Ruth Bader Ginsberg the
doting grandmother, but she has a
tremendous legal legacy.
you not want to make a documentary
about Ruth Bader Ginsberg? She has
become in recent years this mega
celebrity free, like a rock star. A
lot of people that are her biggest
fans are really know her history,
don't know everything that she has
accomplished, don't understand the
obstacles she was up against when
she was a young lawyer, when women
might presuppose to be lawyers, and
we wanted to tell the whole story.
She agreed to teach a course... The
film-makers take the story by
November past and the resident. They
look back and Ruth Bader Ginsberg's
life, student life, her legal
career, and her current activities.
I telling them something they
haven't heard before? Are they paid
attention pretty much when people
think about the women's rights
movement in the 70s with the
so-called women's lib movement, Ruth
Bader Ginsberg played just a week
role getting rights for American
women in that era.
She was just
doing it little more quietly, more
strategically, not in the streets
but in the courts, but as you will
see in the film, she won a string of
victories that really started us
down the road towards equal rights
for women and men under law.
Overall, this documentary is an
illuminating and flattering portrait
of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and
inspiring account of a woman who has
led a very full life, both
professionally and personally.
no favour for myself. All I ask is
of our brethren is that they take
defeat of our necks.
international headlines in 2016,
test over Dakota access pipeline in
North Dakota. Many Native American
tribes had concerns over this oil
pipeline. One was that it would leak
and pollute ground water. The
intense long process was the subject
of a Sundance film.
I welcome you to
our treaty territory and I thank you
all for being here.
The film shows
protesters stopping or delaying the
work of the company building the
pipeline. They locked themselves to
agreement and blocked roads, all to
preserve what they argue is sacred
land which is lawfully standing
here. They were arrested and met
with tear gas. The director
collected a lot of material. A big
challenge was gaining access to film
the protesters on the front line who
are known as water protectors,
so-called because they defend the
main water source. The protesters
were under 24-hour surveillance by
police. The director had to earn
These people didn't
want cameras following them around,
because of a had footage of them
doing something and the police the
footage, there would be evidence
against them. Another part of it was
that they didn't want to be seen
with the camera following them
everywhere. Respect have to be
earned. Helping build are caves and
getting tear-gassed a couple dozen
times, and missed several times,
after a while, I was able to get the
footage needed to tell the story
The documentary shows the
final moments of the battle of
standing Rock in which the water
protectors were pushed off their
campsite and watched as it was
destroyed. In the Steve of North
Dakota, there were economic and if
it's. $40 million of revenue in the
first month. Some view this as
There was a positive
aspect. Indigenous people have been
feeling the brunt of free source
extraction in our territory since
the beginning of colonisation. We
are the ones that have lost
millions, billions, trillions, if
you put an economic value on our
territory. We the ones sacrificing
everything for this.
outcome of this demonstration can be
seen as a loss for the water
protectors, the director, as well as
the activists feel this film can
direct change in the Native American
community and how they are
We have had to continue
to talk about who we are and people
have this outlook about Native
Americans, I want this film to show
them, this is us. And we are
standing up. I have a little money
to my name but this water is
priceless to me, and I'm going to
fight for it.
Thousands of people
come throughout the country for this
one moment and although one to do is
My intention increasing
this film and reason it to the world
was to inspire the next generation
of activists. Hope early this film
can inspire the next generation
after us to build upon what we did.
The director sees Sundance is a
great home for the film and created
it with helping him in his
endeavours with the project.
Sundance is strong on documentaries
and this year there was a live
documentary, the director provided
narration and the famed Kronos
Quartet performed. The aim of this
endeavour was above other things to
tell the story of the quartet.
is sunny up on the screen. This is
us playing down there.
And the many
documentaries, a thousand thoughts
could be seen as an expanded Cinema
It is all the elements
of the film but it happened live so
that our images up on the screen,
and I am onstage narrating, and
there is a band, music group
performing a live soundtrack. 1000
Thoughts is a portrait of the band.
It gets a bigger idea of time and
the ephemeral nature of music and
life, the power and resilience of
the human spirit.
internationally recognised quartet
was founding 40 use ago in San
Francisco and the film brings many
artists who have won point
collaborative with the quartet.
have collaborated with tonnes of
people over the years, from Terry
Riley, Laurie Anderson, lots of
younger people. I think it has given
them a lot of energy and inspiration
over the years, to keep working,
different people getting new energy.
On-screen, the audience sees footage
of Sam Green going through the
quartet of Mac fast archive. The
direct to believe that this engages
the audience, especially with Sam
Green as a storyteller.
another quote that I like. This one
from Robert Cross. In three words, I
can suck up -- sum up everything I
have learned about life.
It goes on.
I liked that Sam is a character. I
saw one of its shows, I really liked
him as a character. It is in effect,
device, if you will, that I know
works in documentary. It is
discovery, so when I found this out
and then I found that out and then I
found that out. It is very generous
to our audience because they go a
journey with you.
audiences are much from the event,
they were very impressed.
I think it
is really call, a lot more
interactive, and you get to feel the
presence of the artists that are
there, and the emotion they bring to
the peace, really cool.
special, life affirming, there are
When we think of a string
quartet, we usually think of elderly
gentleman in black tie and tails but
that is not what this quartet is
You can't want this on etch
clicks or YouTube, you have to be
there and you have to be present.
War and more, all of our devices and
the way we consume culture is
pushing us to be alone, and I think
in the world today, being with other
people, being in a room with
strangers and having a collective
experience is important and actually
Well, that brings this
special Sundance edition of Talking
Movies to a close. We hope you have
enjoyed the show. You can reach us
online. And you can find us on
Facebook, too. From me, Tom Brooks
and the rest of the Talking Movies
production crew, it is goodbye.