Now Streaming: ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ Reveals Why Famed TV Astrologer Walter Mercado Vanished at His Peak
After premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Mucho Mucho Amor is now streaming on Netflix. The film explores the life and mystery surrounding the late Walter Mercado, a larger-than-life TV astrologer turned cultural icon who captivated Latinx audiences for decades with his over-the-top flair before disappearing from public life at the peak of his fame.
Directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, like so many other Latinx folks who grew up with the famed personality on their TVs, remember being mesmerized alongside their mothers and grandmothers—knowing they couldn’t dare interrupt—as they waited for Walter to get to their sign.
After Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra’s genre-defying documentary about a for-profit immigrant detention center screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the high of a successful premiere and winning multiple awards turned into shock and anger when one of the film’s subjects, Claudio Rojas, was detained by ICE and torn apart from his wife and children.
The Infiltrators documented a previous time Claudio was detained, in 2012—and how a group of young immigrant activists hatched a plan to purposely get caught by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, infiltrate the Florida detention center where Claudio was being held, and help him and others fight their deportations. Ibarra and Rivera won accolades for the way they challenge the documentary form, deftly weaving together footage of the activists’ work and reenactments of the detainees in a way that keeps you in the middle of the action.
The slate of Sundance Institute–supported films available in July includes powerful political documentaries that shine a spotlight on critical issues. The Fight follows heroic ACLU lawyers in four historic cases over essential rights in abortion, immigration, LGBTQ+ issues, and voting, while the award-winning Boys State looks at the state of American politics through the unlikely lens of an annual mock election among the best and brightest of Texas’s young men. And She Could Be Next documents the women of color who claimed their power by running for office during the historic 2018 midterm elections—including women like Rashida Tlaib and Stacey Abrams who are transforming politics from the ground up.
‘And Then We Danced’ is now streaming on Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, and beyond. As Pride Month comes to a close, we’re offering up our exclusive video interview with the film’s director, Levan Akin.
When Levan Akin’s coming-of-age feature And Then We Danced had its world premiere at Cannes last spring, the film received a 15-minute standing ovation.
Los Angeles, CA — Five Indigenous filmmakers have been chosen to participate in the 2020 Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab, reimagined and expressed digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. The Lab is at the core of the Institute’s commitment to supporting Indigenous storytellers since its founding.
At the Native Filmmakers Lab (June 29–July 10), Fellows will workshop scripts of their short films under the expert creative mentorship of Indigenous Program alumni and other established filmmaking professionals serving as Advisors along with the Sundance Indigenous Program staff, led by Indigenous Program Director N.
N. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) is the director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program.
This year the world changed in a way that many of us would never have dreamed possible.
Tabitha Jackson is the director of the Sundance Film Festival.
As we plan for our 2021 Festival — my first in the Director’s chair — and with submissions now open, I wanted to give you an early insight into how we are thinking. This is not an announcement, but rather an invitation into the process of building something together this year.
Los Angeles, CA — 8 filmmakers have been chosen to participate in the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Art of Editing Lab and Fellowship. This is a new Lab developed after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, expressed digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. The Fellowship evolved out of the Documentary Film Program’s standing commitment to supporting new voices in nonfiction feature editing.
Miss Juneteenth is now streaming—read our report from the film’s world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival below, and don’t miss our interview with the film’s director, Channing Godfrey Peoples.“As programmers, there’s no better feeling than discovering a film that unveils a special new talent, a filmmaker whose voice and vision and craftsmanship immediately make you excited about the prospect of getting to show it at Sundance,” said senior programmer Heidi Zwicker at the world premiere of the U.S.
Channing Godfrey Peoples on a Bittersweet ‘Miss Juneteenth’ Release and the Urgency of Portraying Black Humanity on Screen
After premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Channing Godfrey Peoples’s debut feature is hitting digital platforms this Juneteenth—the day for which the film is named and which is very close to the director’s heart. “I feel like I’ve been living Miss Juneteenth my whole life,” she says.
The June 19 holiday—which commemorates the day slavery was finally abolished in Texas (more than two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was issued)—is celebrated in her hometown of Fort Worth with a deep sense of reverence and community, with barbecues, a parade, and a scholarship pageant for young Black women.
This post was originally published after Josephine Decker’s film Shirley premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The project arrived on Hulu on June 5.“I thought it might be a nice thing to start the film off with a round of applause for the real Shirley Jackson, who’s a fucking badass,” announced director Josephine Decker at the premiere of her new film Shirley, which stars Elisabeth Moss as the author of such disturbing literary classics as The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House.
15 Fellows & 7 Artists in Virtual Residence Develop New Work for the Stage
New York, NY — Eight genre- and format-spanning pieces are among the works being developed by a diverse array of theatremakers at the 2020 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, reimagined and expressed digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. The Lab is the centerpiece of the Institute’s year-round work with the theatre community, and offers theatre makers from the US and Arab region/diaspora the opportunity to advance their work with the benefit of experienced dramaturgs and advisors, and within the context of an intimate artistic group centered around the values of dramaturgy, community and cultural exchange.
This year’s cohort was selected by the Theatre Program’s interim Director, Christopher Hibma, with support of a five-member curatorial team including Jesse Cameron Alick (U.
Newly Expanded Advisor Roster Spans Filmmaking Disciplines
Los Angeles, CA — 11 independent filmmakers developing 10 projects have been selected for the 2020 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs, reimagined and expressed digitally this year on Sundance Co//ab. These Labs are at the heart of the nonprofit Institute’s long-standing support for artists, and will connect curated selections of Fellows with Creative Advisors and Industry mentors across multiple disciplines.
At the Directors Lab (June 1-19th), filmmakers will participate in a rigorous schedule of advisor presentations, scene analysis sessions, directing exercises, one-on-one meetings, and — new this year — collaborative conversations across a wide range of industry disciplines, including casting, production design, film scoring, and producing.
Benjamin Ree’s documentary The Painter and the Thief won a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. On Friday, May 22, the film’s distributor, Neon, has teamed up with Filmbot to present a special opening-night screening with Ree as well as the project’s subjects, Barbora Kysilkov and (the painter) and Karl-Bertil Nordland (the thief) at 8:00 p.m.
When Thousand Pieces of Gold hit theaters in 1991, critics were quick to compare first-time feature director Nancy Kelly to filmmakers like John Ford, Budd Boetticher, and George Stevens, masters of the classic Western—and that was something Kelly and her filmmaking partner (and husband), Kenji Yamamoto, weren’t sure how to take at the time.
“We just don’t like Westerns that much,” Yamamoto told me over the phone when I caught up with the pair to find out more about the making of the project, which went through the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in 1989, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1991, and was recently given a 4K restoration by IndieCollect that is being released by Kino Lorber.
Not that they wrote the genre off altogether: “My favorites feature powerful leading women: Destry Rides Again, Johnny Guitar, The Big Country, The Outlaw,” Kelly wrote in a recent piece for IndieWire.