This week on The Collision, we talk about the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with Film School Rejects Associate Editor and MSN Movies critic and contributor Kate Erbland. We give our overall appraisal of this year’s festival, our favorite and least favorite films, and how we think these movies will perform when they’re released into theaters. As always, we close out the show with our recommendations.
Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“Gangster Movies and Gangster Squad“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore). Hit the jump to check out the trailers for this week’s recommendations.
The fascinating and compelling documentary The Queen of Versailles tells the story of a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis, proving that even the extremely rich are not immune. The rags-to-riches story of David and Jackie Siegel begins with their construction of the biggest house in America, and then falls apart when their real estate empire falters, leading to major changes in the lifestyle of the household, which includes eight young children and various domestic staff. It is a tale that is familiar to many, but on a scale that is astonishing.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, director Lauren Greenfield talked about what inspired her to make this documentary, how long the whole process took, her journey with the Siegels, getting close to her subjects while still remaining a documentarian, why she’s always been intrigued by wealth and consumerism (which she is currently doing project about, for next year), and what drew her to documentary filmmaking over fiction work. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
The American Dream is a beautiful thing, unless you build your empire on the back of a bubble only to have that bubble burst. So goes the rise and fall of the Siegel family, captured by documentary director Lauren Greenfield in The Queen of Versailles. Billionaire David Siegel and his wife Jackie (30 years his junior) built a 90,000 square foot mansion upon the shifting sands of the real estate market. When that market collapsed, the Siegels were in the same boat as the rest of us (more or less). The new trailer evokes a few laughs, a heap of frustration and just the slightest whisper of sympathy. Hit the jump to check it out, along with a poster featuring Mrs. Siegel and the monstrous $100 million mansion. The Queen of Versailles opens July 20th.
If you have followed our Sundance coverage over the last week and a half, you know how massive the festival can feel from afar. These are the movies that will fill arthouses over the next year, so perhaps the best place for those who could not make it to Park City to start is at the end, with the announcement of the awards. In terms of the major awards, the Grand Jury Prizes went to Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dramatic), The House I Live In (in the Documentary category), Violeta Went to Heaven (World Dramatic), and The Law in These Parts (World Documentary). Beasts of the Southern Wild, the consensus critical darling, also won for cinematography and a producers’ award. Thankfully Fox Searchlight made a deal to bring Beasts to a theater near you soon.
The Audience Awards went to The Surrogate (Dramatic), The Invisible War (Documentary), Valley of Saints (World Dramatic), and Searching for Sugar Man (World Documentary). The cast of The Surrogates—led by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy—doubled up with the Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. Fox Searchlight also picked up The Surrogates. Love that studio. Hit the jump for the press release with the expansive list of award winners.
Legendary guitarist Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) has had his first picture acquired for his horror production company, Slasher Films. Anchor Bay Films picked up Nothing to Fear at Sundance today, a film based on the legend that the town of Stull, Kansas is actually one of seven gateways to Hell. This premise explains the promo poster, which you can see after the jump. Nothing to Fear will be directed by Anthony Leonardi III, the creature designer and storyboard artist for such films as Constantine and 47 Ronin.
Also, two documentaries had their North American distribution rights picked up. Magnolia Pictures grabbed The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s (Thin) take on billionaires Jackie and David Siegel as they build America’s largest house (90,000 sq ft) and watch it collapse with the market. Magnolia is planning a summer release. Sony Pictures Classics acquired domestic rights to debut director Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man, a tale of 1970’s undiscovered rock icon, Rodriguez, and how his disappearance inspired two South African fans to seek him out. Hit the jump for press releases on each project. Click here to get caught up on all of our Sundance 2012 coverage.
I had a blast at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and I can’t wait to go again next year. Today, Sundance announced their In-Competition line-ups for 2012 and already I’m trying to plan out how I’m going to see all of them (which is impossible, but it’s nice to dream). The U.S. Dramatic Competition features For Ellen, Nobody Walks, Safety Not Guaranteed, Smashed, and more. There are also some interesting-sounding films in the U.S. Documentary Competition including Finding North, The Invisible War, and The Other Dream Team.
Hit the jump to check out the full press release, which includes the in-competition line-ups for U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29th.