Another Sundance Film Festival has come to a close. The rich and famous have left Utah and returned to Tinsel Town. But when this landmark film fest is over, the buzz is just getting started. Here’s a breakdown of the high points of this film fest, including the movies you’ll have to see, what the celebs wore outside their natural habitat and a few surprises that made Sundance 2013 an event to remember.
This year’s biggest winner was “Fruitvale,” a tragic, contemporary story that walked away with both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic category. The film portrays the true story of a police shooting in Oakland, California that resulted in the death of a young black man and the outpouring of rage and protest that followed. It’s no surprise this gritty, gut-wrenching material won over the judges in Park City, Utah. It wowed the execs at The Weinstein Company as well, who snatched up the festival darling for just over $2 mil.
Another buzz-worthy film you’ll want to watch for is “The Way, Way Back,” a comedy that was picked up by FOX Searchlight for nearly $10 million. While the coming-of-age tale that stars Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collete and Maya Rudolph didn’t take away any prizes, they’re definitely not crying into their beer thanks to the huge wad of cash FOX put up to capture the distribution rights.
As always, the fashionistas were out in full force on the snowy streets of Park City. There was a combination of cozy couture and the usual winter wear regalia. It’s always great to see the stars rubbing elbows in jeans, chunky sweaters and flannels, but some celebs just can’t resist the chance to dress it up. Despite the frigid temps and falling snow, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Fanning and Kate Bosworth braved the elements in short hemlines and sky-high heels.
Fellas used the mountain setting as an excuse to scruff it up – Shia Labeouf, Daniel Radcliffe and even funnyman Steve Carrell were among the guys who made scruff look sexy at this year’s Sundance festival.
The ladies were definitely representing this year, especially in the directing arena. Some of the strongest voices of the festival were female; in fact this is the first year that the number of entries by female directors equaled those of men in the U.S. Dramatic category. The women who blew us away with their artistic vision include Jerusha Hess (of the “Napoleon Dynamite” fame) who made her directorial debut with “Austenland” and Naomi Foner, who brought us “Very Good Girls,” a touching story centered on two young girls played by Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen.
Disney became part of a dystopian horror show in “Escape From Tomorrow,” a scream-fest that was filmed in secret at the Happiest Place on Earth. A typical family vacation goes awry when the main character loses his mind in Disneyland, turning every princess he sees into a ghoul and favorite rides into acid-trip nightmares. There are some potential legalities holding up the release of this film, so you might have to wait a while to destroy all your happy childhood memories at a screening of this terror ride.
All in all, it was another successful outing for indie films. What Sundance 2013 films are you most excited to see hit theaters?