Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sundancing Twenty Ten

It's been a week since Sundance 2010 wrapped, but I wanted to make sure that I gave a quick update on the sweet indie flicks we caught this year.

Sundance has launched a new category this year called NEXT that specifically showcases low-no budget films. We were lucky to catch Bass Akwards, which fell into this category. Written by, directed by and starring Linas Phillips as a down and out loser who stumbles upon a shortened '76 VDub Bus dubbed a "Shorty", this is an atypical roadtrip flick chronically Linus' journey from Seattle to NYC. Though it was about 20 minutes too long, I was totally enamored by the gorgeous wide-angle hero-shots of this miniature bus cruising throughout the midwest. You know how I feel about miniature vehicles!

The second flick we caught was great, but almost too cool for school. The Imperialists Are Still Alive! directed by NYU film student Zeina Durra is an ultra-hip night-on-the-town flick shot on 16 mm in NYC. Starring Elodie Bouchez (CQ, Alias), it tracks a group of multinational (mostly Arabic) students and artists residing in Manhattan through their exploits both significant and mundane. This flick had a lot going on, but was peppered with thought-provoking moments of life as an Arab in post 9/11 New York. The randomness and humor of this one made it a perfect Sundance-style flick.

Finallly, Sundancing would not be complete without something from the doc category. We were beyond satisfied with our selection. Freedom Riders is a documentary on the Freedom Rides of 1961 that served as the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement. This film centers on the amazingly courageous students, both black and white, who attempted to integrate buses in the Deep South. Literally preparing themselves for death, the non-violent students endured massive cruelty that shed light on the true depth of hatred that still existed there. It also showcases the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Kennedy's as the primary agents of change within the movement. Freedom Riders will air next January on PBS for the 50th anniversary of the rides.
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