Nina Simone documentary a powerful portrait of the artist

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A look at the Academy Awards and the Sundance kids.

One of the four opening-night premiere screenings, of the documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” was followed by a live performance by R&B musician John Legend.Richard Linklater, right, and daughter Lorelei Linklater, at the premiere of the film “Boyhood” during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah on Jan. 19, 2014.

And the festival’s founder, Robert Redford, had a lot of thoughts, as always, on the topics of storytelling and cinematic diversity – Sundance’s raisons d’être. After the screening and concert, patrons joined festival filmmakers and jurors at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, a tony resort in Deer Valley, for the annual “Artist at the Table” fundraiser dinner for the Sundance Institute.

Pat Mitchell, board chair of the institute, greeted the crowd by calling Sundance “fundamentally a community,” while Keri Putnam, executive director of the institute, said she could feel “the electric energy of the evening” and the “anticipation of discovery” of films in the next two weeks. This year, “Whiplash” and “Boyhood” — both Sundance premieres — are among the eight best picture nominees. “Boyhood” is considered a favorite to win. Coming on the heels of previous best picture nominations for Sundance films like “Precious,” ”Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Winter’s Bone” over the past few years, the festival has become a breeding ground for awards candidates. He said the institute continues to inspire and influence him, which is why he took 12 days away from editing his current film, “Beasts of No Nation,” to be here and serve on a jury. The evening ended with remarks by musical-theater composer Jeanine Tesori, co-creator of the musical “Fun Home,” a show based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel that she developed at the Sundance theater labs.

His wife, Sibylle Szaggars Redford, is the artistic director for a special event, “The Way of the Rain,” which is billed as an exploration of climate change through performance art. She brought on performers Michael Cerveris, Beth Malone and Emily Skeggs to perform two numbers from the musical, “Telephone Wire” and “I’m Changing My Major to Joan.” The musical opens on Broadway April 19.

Keith Simanton, managing editor of IMDB, thinks that there is something bigger going on that all started with the Academy’s expansion of the best picture category from five films to as many as 10. “I think ironically what’s happened is now it’s almost like ‘best of the fest’ in some ways. Redford said of the festival’s decision to play “A Walk in the Woods,” which is about two friends hiking the Appalachian Trail. “That was his choice, not mine,” he added, pointing to Mr. While the Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride will continue to be harbingers of major awards contenders from major studios, mainstream success for an indie film festival is challenging to maintain year after year. “It’ll be interesting to see how they follow last year,” said Davis. “That actually kind of puts pressure on the film festival to keep up with that.

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