2016 Sundance Film Festival to Feature Conversations with Special Guests; Festival’s ‘Art of Film Weekend’ Returns

Park City, UT — Adding to the excitement of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s onscreen films and episodic programming, Sundance Institute announced today the lineup for its offscreen panels, which will feature renowned artists and experts in conversation. This year’s panels will address topics including the relationship between media technology and storytelling, film aesthetics and the use of celluloid, music design, casting, and environmentalism. The Festival will again host the Art of Film Weekend, celebrating the craft of filmmaking January 28-30. Many panels and other offscreen programming will take place at a new venue: Festival Base Camp, Presented by Canada Goose.

The Festival’s panels programming is anchored by its longstanding Power of Story series, which this year will feature conversations with John Underkoffler, John Gaeta, Lynette Wallworth, Reggie Watts, Christopher Nolan, Colin Trevorrow and Alex Ross Perry. Other noteworthy conversations at the Festival include the Cinema Café daily series, programmed in collaboration with The New York Times’ TimesTalks and featuring informal chats with guests including Norman Lear, Lena Dunham, Chelsea Handler, Morgan Spurlock, Werner Herzog, Joshua Oppenheimer, Rebecca Hall, Michael Shannon, Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and more. The Power of Story and Cinema Café panels will be live streamed at sundance.org/festival.

The Festival’s Art of Film Weekend (January 28-30) returns to highlight the unique roles and creative inspirations of those who bring stories to life on screen. Featured speakers and topics include a conversation with D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, a discussion with virtual reality pioneers Saschka Unseld, Jessica Brillhart, Eric Darnell and Yelena Rachitsky, Randall Poster on music supervision, a conversation with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, and a discussion on casting with accomplished casting agents Richard Hicks, Jessica Daniels, Jessica Kelly and Stephanie Holbrook.

New venue Festival Base Camp will host a range of panels, including How to Save the World featuring Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction) and Josh Fox (Gasland, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change), a live recording of the Song Exploder podcast with KT Tunstall and other offscreen programming as well as surprise guests and daily music performances. Additionally, artist Chris Milk’s The Treachery of Sanctuary will be on display at Festival Base Camp as part of the 10th anniversary of New Frontier.

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Our offscreen lineup offers Festival-goers the opportunity to participate in interesting conversations about culture and creativity, concluding with our Art of Film Weekend that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the craft of filmmaking. By live streaming many conversations from the Festival, film fans across the country can experience the energy and excitement of a new year in independent film.”

For dates, times, locations and ticket information for offscreen events, including the free daily Cinema Café program, visit sundance.org/festival.

Both Power of Story panels will be live streamed at sundance.org/festival.

Power of Story: Evolution of Storytelling
Monday, January 25 at 2:30 p.m. MST
Egyptian Theatre

While story is how we understand ourselves, our society and the world around us, it doesn’t exist until it’s shared through the mediums we use to communicate – our communication architecture. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of our New Frontier Program, join a group of remarkable minds – storytellers and creative technologists – for a workshop that explores imagination, innovation and the deeply intertwined worlds of technology and storytelling. Led by John Underkoffler (Minority Report, Iron Man, CEO, Oblong Industries), guests Nancy Bennett (CCO and Head of Virtual Reality,Two Bit Circus), John Gaeta (The Matrix Trilogy, Executive Creative Director, ILMxLAB), Kevin Slavin (MIT Media Lab), Lynette Wallworth (Collisions), Reggie Watts (Waves) give us a glimpse into the mind-blowing future of story.

Power of Story: The Art of Film
Thursday, January 28 at 2:30 p.m. MST
Egyptian Theatre

Kicking off Art of Film Weekend, in this celebration of celluloid, we look at film aesthetics, its intrinsic qualities and its appeal to filmmakers who have made the artistic choice to employ film as a shooting format. Since the birth of cinema, artists have found within a thin strip of celluloid film myriad forms of expression and a magical medium through which to tell stories. Join Christopher Nolan (Memento, Dark Knight series, Interstellar), Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World), and moderator Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth).


Friday, January 29
Cinema Café with D A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus
11:30 a.m. MST
Filmmaker Lodge

Each morning at the Filmmaker Lodge, Cinema Café invigorates the culture of conversation with a daily series of informal chats featuring special guests for thought-provoking discussions. This edition of Cinema Cafe during the Art of Film weekend features a conversation with D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Adapting Genres to Virtual Reality
1:30 p.m. MST
New Frontier Gateway

Close ups, fast cuts, and pacing were all initially accidents that became staples in conveying mood, tone, and story in film. In virtual reality, much of those tools are gone, and with that, our tools to shape genres are also changing. What have we learned so far in approaching story in virtual reality? Join us in an open discussion with virtual reality pioneers Saschka Unseld (creative director, Oculus Story Studio), Jessica Brillhart (principal filmmaker, VR at Google), Eric Darnell (CCO, Baobab, director, Madagascar) and Emilie Joly (CEO, Apelab). Moderated by Yelena Rachitsky (creative producer and Head of Education, Oculus Story Studio).

Art of Music Supervision: Show & Tell with Randall Poster
2:00 p.m. MST
Filmmaker Lodge

Setting scenes to particular tunes and selecting artists for the soundtrack are crucial to contributing nuance, tone, and expression to a film. This is where an accomplished music supervisor like Randall Poster comes in. Poster works with filmmakers Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, and Richard Linklater, to name a few. Through film clips and discussion, Poster will share what inspires him, how he collaborates with filmmakers, and how his craft of music supervision ultimately brings a film to new heights and deeper meaning. #SFFonMusic #ArtFilmWeekend

Song Exploder Live with KT Tunstall
3:00 p.m. MST
Festival Base Camp
Presented by Canada Goose

Art of Film Weekend welcomes the Song Exploder podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Using the isolated, individual tracks from the recording, host Hrishikesh Hirway asks artists like U2, Björk, The National, Alexandre Desplat and KT Tunstall to delve into the specific decisions that went into creating their work. #SongExploder

Saturday, January 30
Cinema Café with Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson
11:30 a.m. MST
Filmmaker Lodge

This edition of Cinema Café during the Art of Film weekend features a conversation with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson of Anomalisa.

Behind the Scenes: The Art of Casting
2:00 p.m. MST
Filmmaker Lodge

Casting directors play a critical role to narrative filmmaking, but how well much do we understand about their craft? How do instinct and experience play into their decisions? How does their work generate fresh and meaningful characters? Richard Hicks (Gravity, Zero Dark Thirty) moderates a conversation with seasoned casting directors Jessica Daniels (Wiener-Dog, 30 Rock), Jessica Kelly (Precious, Obvious Child), Stephanie Holbrook (Christine, Equity) that will take us behind the scenes to illuminate the art and alchemy behind their process. #SFFonCasting #ArtFilmWeekend


How to Save the World
Friday, January 22, 2:30 p.m. MST
Festival Base Camp
Presented by Canada Goose

It’s impossible to separate the history of environmentalism from the powerful images put forth by filmmakers in a collective body of work that has tackled wildlife conservation, climate change, environmental concerns and species extinction to name but a few. But can these voices empower a global community to take action before it’s too late? Join moderator Pat Mitchell (Chair of the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees), Beverly and Dereck Joubert (Reflections on Elephants, The Last Lions), Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction), and Josh Fox (Gasland, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change). #SFFGlobalAction

These panels will be live streamed at sundance.org/festival from the Filmmaker Lodge. Some Cinema Café discussions are programmed in collaboration with TimesTalks, streaming engaging discussions with Festival filmmakers and New York Times journalists.

Friday, January 22, 11:30 a.m. MST
Lena Dunham and Norman Lear (TimesTalks)

Saturday, January 23, 11:30 a.m. MST
Chelsea Handler and Morgan Spurlock (TimesTalks)

Sunday, January 24, 11:30 a.m. MST
John Krasinski and Thomas Middleditch (TimesTalks)

Monday, January 25, 11:30 a.m. MST
Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer (TimesTalks)

Tuesday, January 26, 11:30 a.m. MST
Rebecca Hall and Michael Shannon (TimesTalks)

Wednesday, January 27, 11:30 a.m. MST

Thursday, January 28, 11:30 a.m. MST

The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The New Frontier initiative, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2016, has showcased groundbreaking media works by artists and creative technologists including Chris Milk, Doug Aitken, Palmer Luckey, Klip Collective and Nonny de la Peña. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2016 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire Preferred®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Airbnb, DIRECTV, Tequila Don Julio™, Samsung, and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – BROOKSIDE Chocolate, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dropbox, GEICO, The Hollywood Reporter, Kickstarter, LUNA Bar/Clif Bar & Company, Omnicom, Stella Artois®, and Uber. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Editor’s note: For images, visit sundance.org/images or image.net (registration free but required).

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