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Nancy Kelly on Her Newly Restored 1991 Film ‘Thousand Pieces of Gold’

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.

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12 Short Plays Made to Perform at Home, by Sundance Theatre Program Alumni

With so many playwrights and directors seeing their productions closed early, postponed, or, worst of all, canceled due to the impacts of COVID-19, new creative solutions are allowing creators to continue sharing their stories. Some theatres have taken to digital programming or adapting their commissions to be “listen-only,” and some artists are now sharing stories with audiences independently via social media. Play At Home, a new initiative launched by a group of regional and off-Broadway theatres, is offering its own solution for playwrights and audiences alike: it’s commissioning playwrights to write 10-minute plays that you can perform at home with your family members or roommates, or even by yourself.

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Lucía Garibaldi on Making Her Debut Feature, ‘Los Tiburones,’ Now on VOD

When she was shooting Los Tiburones (The Sharks) in a coastal town about 150 kilometers from Montevideo, Uruguay, Lucía Garibaldi had no idea the kind of reception her debut coming-of-age feature was about to receive. “We had no previous experience with anything like this, so we really went into it without having any idea what was going to happen, how it was going to be, what kind of audience we’d find,” she told us when we caught up with her via email recently ahead of the film’s VOD release.
The film not only found an audience but had its world premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where Garibaldi won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic.

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Sundance Selections to Watch in May, from ‘Ema’ to ‘Infiltrators’ and ‘Spaceship Earth’

Film lovers are getting a rare treat in May, with free access to Pablo Larraín’s Ema on streaming platform MUBI on May 1—offered as a one-day sneak preview ahead of the wide release later this year. With elegant choreography and masterful performances from Mariana Di Girolamo and Gael García Bernal, the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection is an intoxicating window into family dysfunction. Alongside Ema in this month’s release lineup is Rashaad Ernesto Green’s artful coming-of-age portrait from 2019, Premature, full of breakout talent including co-writer and breakout lead Zora Howard.

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Q&A: A Chat with ‘Selah and the Spades’ Writer/Director Tayarisha Poe

Selah and the Spades begins streaming on Amazon Prime today.
While Philadelphia-born filmmaker Tayarisha Poe did in fact attend boarding school when she was growing up, she’s quick to note that there aren’t a whole lot of similarities between herself and her Selah and the Spades protagonist, Selah Summers. “I tend to write fictional characters doing the things that I wish I could do, or that I don’t have the guts to do.

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Gray-bearded man with hat and backpack leans down to talk to boy in red jacket and cap.

20 Films Sundance Programmers Are Watching from Home

As Sundance Institute adapts its artist support programs to continue providing resources for independent storytellers amid global uncertainty, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the work that has previously come through our labs and Festival.
Here are a few recommendations from our programming team for films you can stream at home—from suddenly more-relatable-than-ever stories about people in isolation to thoughtful portraits that remind us of our shared humanity, to off-the-wall comedies that can provide a moment of levity in uneasy times. As we are acutely reminded of the power of art in our everyday lives, Sundance Institute remains committed to supporting the voices that enrich our world.

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What to Watch in March, from ‘Crip Camp’ to ‘Hillary’ and ‘Lost Girls’

When her third feature, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Eliza Hittman was clear about the urgency of the project’s message. “We have an administration that’s trying to chip away—successfully—women’s rights, reproductive rights,” she said after a screening at the Library Theatre in Park City.
Fittingly, the film—which follows two teenage cousins from rural Pennsylvania as they travel by train to New York City so one of them can get an abortion—premieres March 13, right in the middle of Women’s History Month.

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What to Watch in February, from ‘Horse Girl’ to ‘McMillions’

We may be decongesting and decompressing after our snowy adventures in Park City these past two weeks, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t also looking forward to the Festival releases that will be premiering this February.
In the coming weeks, a number of this year’s titles will be hitting theaters and streaming platforms: among them, McMillions, Horse Girl, and Downhill. We’re also excited about the theatrical release of the 2019 Midnight selection The Lodge, an eerie snow-dusted horror film featuring yet another top-notch performance by Riley Keough (co-star of Zola, which you might have seen at this year’s Festival).

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6 Inspiring Sundance Films That’ll Help You Ring in the New Year

There’s something invigorating about the start of a new year. After unplugging, unwinding, and engaging in a bit of reflection during the holidays, you wake up January 1 feeling capable of becoming your best possible self. That marathon you’ve always dreamed of training for suddenly doesn’t seem like such a stretch (even if you did spend most of December on the couch catching up on 2019’s must-watch independent films).

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What to Watch in December

Chinonye Chukwu’s second film, Clemency, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. And at the end of this month, it arrives in theaters, bringing her long journey with the film to a close.
Chukwu began working on the death-row drama after the 2011 execution of Troy Davis, an inmate who had long declared his innocence.

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What to Watch in November

Turbulent family dynamics are at the heart of November’s slate of 2019 Sundance Film Festival releases—including Minhal Baig’s Hala, centered around a 17-year-old Muslim Pakistani American as she and her family navigate unstable ground.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t really see this character, and I really wanted to see her; it would have made me feel less alone,” explained director Minhal Baig about her titular character. Hala is a coming-of-age drama about a young woman learning to pave a path different from that of her parents, but it’s also the story of a tender mother-daughter relationship and their resilience in the face of the unraveling of their world.

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