Sundance – Our Favourites
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film festival started in Salt Lake City, August 1978 in an effort to attract more film makers to Utah. Thirty six to thirty seven years later, 2015, the Sundance film festival is taking place in Park City, Utah, from the 22nd of January to the 1st of February. Major film producers and directors in the world travel to this event in search for new talent and ideas. Many have competed for a Sundance prestigious award, Sundance award winning films are known for being successful, outstanding and memorable films.
Saying this however, getting your film at the festival is still a huge achievement. For example, Whiplash was premiered at Sundance as a short film to gain interest, it was received extremely well and was funded. It is now considered by many to be one of the best indie films of all time as well as one of the best, if not the best film of 2014. The festival can be attended by anyone, but even the tickets are prestigious.
In this article, we’ll show what we think are the top ten Sundance winning movies.
1) Reservoir Dogs
In 1992, Reservoir Dogs was released. It is yet another film written but also directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film was about a group of people hired to rob a bank, but it goes horribly wrong. Some of the group meet up in an abandoned warehouse which is where they were supposed to go after it all, but not all of them turn up. As a new character arrives or leaves we learn a little more about the story of what actually happened during the heist, and how they plan to tie up their lose ends and get away scot-free. This film made it onto our Top Ten Banned films in the USA.
In 1998, the power of great directing was shown in this story about a paranoid Mathematician who suffers from migraines and is pressured in his work to find the key to all life and mathematics. Suspense and confusion build around how powerful a number can be. What’s more, the directing was so perfect from camera shots and the choice of music that we would become the protagonist in the sense of emotions.
3) Earnie and Bertrum
In 2002, a Sundance winner and an 8 minute short was made which was a spoof off of the Sesame Street gang members Bert and Ernie. The film is about Bert having an affair with Miss Piggy whilst also having a gay affair with his room mate Ernie, and all of this was publicized by journalists. This film was loved by the people of Sundance because of its clever writing, fresh directing and how it highlighted the problem in ways that people treated homosexuals at the time. Read Top Ten Films Banned in USA for more.
4) Roger and Me
In 1989, Michael Moore produced his first film, where he was a journalist who returned home to see what has happened to Flint Michigan when General Motors shut down eleven factories and eliminated thirty thousand jobs. This documentary was original, powerful and very amusing.
5) Napoleon Dynamite
Made in 2004, this sleeper hit movie managed to bring in over $46 million with hardly any advertisement. This comedy stars an off the radar teenager at school who aids his new friend to win class presidency whilst dealing with his problems at home. This was a story of the common and harmless underdog of our lives and the scenarios that they deal with. Although most agree that this film is one of the greatest comedies of all time, many found the character of Napoleon relatable, and this comedy has not been forgotten.
From 2014, a talented young drummer enrols himself at a high pressured music conservatory where he receives the tuition of a well known, cut throat instructor who will stop at nothing to ensure he learns his true potential. This music filled drama was very well received by audiences and critics alike as they pondered whether the ends justified the means.
7) The Blair Witch Project
In 1999, a film set about movies from another direction. The Blair Witch Project was a low budget horror movie filled with twists and turns that still surprise audiences today. The stars of the film were unknown which complemented the fact that it was supposed to be about ordinary youths recording their time in the forest exploring the Blair Witch legend. This film shocked and surprised audiences as the trailers didn’t reveal much about the story. What’s more, all the audience actually knew is that the youths had vanished after their project leaving only the camera behind, creating a more interactive experience with the audience.
8) The Usual Suspects
This 1995 film is most famously known these days for having one of the greatest improvisation pieces in film history. The story is about a sole survivor of a gun fight on a boat retelling the events that lead up to this from a seemingly random police line up. This was a thrilling crime drama that mesmerized audiences throughout the story at the amazing turn of events.
9) Sex, Lies and Videotape
In 1989, a film was made focusing on the ancient theme of a sexually slanted woman. Her husband has oppressed her, having a recurring affair with her sister. However, a visitor with rather unusual fetishes acts as a literary catalyst and changes everything. This drama was very modern themed at the time of release and is believed to have paved cinematic history into acceptance on the topic of sexual fidelity.
10) Spanking the Monkey
In 1994, a promising pre-med student, Raymond, at MIT is ready to begin a prestigious internship over the summer when his mother is rendered bedbound from a broken leg. His father, a travelling salesman, insists that Raymond stays at home to take care of her whilst he is travelling. However, through a series of events and alcohol he finds himself having Oedipal urges towards his mother, even though the girl next door seems to increase the sexual confusion he is suffering from. This film was brave, building onto the raw idea of sexual confusion which audiences found strong. If it wasn’t the comical story of this drama that won over audiences, it could have easily been the performance of the actors or of the directing.
Saw – Illustrates how to make a gripping story with three dimensional characters in a new way of building suspense at the hands of one sociopath, all on a cheap budget and quick production time.
Independence Day – Aliens are invading Earth and destroying all of humanity. They are superior in every way, except for the humans best weapon, the will to survive.
Once – A busker who tries to make a living playing the guitar and fixing vacuum cleaners comes across an immigrant who enjoys his music and needs her vacuum repairing. The two get involved in a music passion during their eventful week in Dublin. Fun for all the family.
Precious – People fell in love with this overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child. In New York City’s Harlem, 1987, she is invited to enrol in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. This film was based on a book and moved that hearts of all the audience.
Four Weddings and a Funeral – Beloved by the people for its progressive story. It presented a new way of portraying a romantic comedy, whilst also building the suspense of who will die and when.