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“Lumina” Brings Heavy Drama to Sci-Fi

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Lumina (Gino McKoy, 2024) 2 out of 5 stars Writer/director Gino McKoy promises a sci-fi/horror blend, delving into the world of alien abduction with commentary on conspiracies and how much we can trust our own government. Lumina follows a group of friends looking for a missing member of their group, after a house party is […]

The post “Lumina” Brings Heavy Drama to Sci-Fi first appeared on Film Festival Today.

“Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer”

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Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer (Abigail Fuller, 2024) 3½ out of 5 stars Notorious serial killers have terrified and riveted Americans for decades. Household names such as Ted Bundy and Ed Kemper live in infamy for the crimes they committed. The mere mention of those folks and others sends a shiver down our spines. […]

The post “Mastermind: To Think Like a Killer” first appeared on Film Festival Today.

2024 Women to Watch x Adobe Fellows Announced

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Year-round Program Offers Pivotal Support to Women Filmmakers

PARK CITY, UTAH, July 10, 2024 — The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the eight women participating in the 2024 Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, a yearlong support program designed to further support and sustain the creative practice of women artists, prioritizing filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities. The program began in 2020 and was informed by the Institute and Adobe’s shared commitment to develop and champion underrepresented voices at pivotal moments in their careers.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Adobe to provide meaningful support for women artists creating groundbreaking work in film,” said Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Director of Artist Accelerator and Women at Sundance. “The Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship offers a comprehensive approach, including a sustainability-focused cash grant, professional and tactical skills development, networking and opportunities. By addressing systemic barriers women encounter in the industry, we aim to empower these visionary artists. We deeply appreciate Adobe’s commitment and look forward to guiding these women on their creative journeys.”

The fellows are each supported with a $6,250 cash grant; workshops; referrals for career development opportunities; a yearlong complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud to create, share their stories, and further refine their craft; a virtual connection to the Sundance ELEVATE professional development track; and access to Sundance Collab, Sundance Institute’s digital space for artists to learn from experts and build a global filmmaking community.

The fellows are selected jointly with Adobe from Sundance Institute’s community of supported artists across program disciplines, including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Episodic Program, Indigenous Program, and Artist Accelerator Program. In addition to the Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, Adobe is a Presenting Sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival and Founding Supporter of Sundance Ignite (a yearlong artist development program for filmmakers ages 18–25). Adobe also supports Sundance Collab.

The fellows selected for the 2024 Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship are:

Francesca Canepa is a Peruvian director residing in Mexico City. Her short film The Silence of the River premiered at the Berlinale 2020. Her feature film La Otra Orilla was selected for the 2024 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is currently in pre-production after winning the French CNC Production Fund.

Artemis Fannin produces films that uniquely amplify marginalized voices. Her career spans across all major platforms. She is currently the Managing Producer with 371 Productions and working on two active projects. She is an alum of the Southern Producers Lab 2023 and the 2023 Sundance Producers Intensive. 

Kristine Gerolaga is a Filipina American filmmaker and actor. She is supported by Sundance Institute’s Artist Accelerator Program as a 2023 TAAF Collab Scholar and the Feature Film Program as a 2024 Screenwriters Lab fellow with her horror feature film Lamok.

Sylvia Khoury is a New York-based filmmaker and playwright. She received her MD from the Icahn School of Medicine in 2021 and is a 2022 Pulitzer Finalist in Drama (Selling Kabul). She is a 2024 Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Lab Fellow, where she developed her featur

Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know 6 LGBTQ+ Filmmakers With Shorts at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival

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Kate Jean Hollowell’s “Say Hi After You Die” took home the Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

By Lucy Spicer

One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival is having a front-row seat for the bright future of independent filmmaking. While we can learn a lot about the filmmakers from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival through the art that these storytellers share with us, there’s always more we can learn about them as people. This year, we decided to get to the bottom of those artistic wells with our ongoing series: Give Me the Backstory!

As summer heats up and the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour officially begins its circuit, we’re digging back into all the short films that had us laughing, crying, gasping, and contemplating at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. To commemorate Pride Month, we’ve assembled nuggets of wisdom from six of the LGBTQ+ filmmakers who brought their shorts to the 2024 Fest, including three award winners

Through their unique and insightful short films, these six filmmakers explore a tense meeting between a wealthy couple and some scrap dealers, unexpected fallout from a gift of new sneakers, a haunting through a queer lens, a portrait of a gender nonconforming creative, a reincarnation involving a portable toilet, and a horror story about the monsters in our minds.

Read on to learn more about six of the LGBTQ+ filmmakers who brought their stories to the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Program. 

What was the biggest inspiration behind this film?

Àlex Lora Cercós (The Masterpiece): “‘Homo homini lupus.’ The seed for this concept was Hobbes’ idea that ‘men are wolves to other men,’ referring to the dark aspect of human nature where individuals may act in ways that are detrimental to others. The realities of class struggle, immigration, and racism served as triggers. Additionally, the game of chess, both conceptually and visually, played a significant role for me as the director. I envisioned the story as a strategic battle between white and black pieces on an uneven board with different privileges.”

Gerardo Coello Escalante (Viaje de Negocios): “When I met my now girlfriend, we shared stories of growing up, as you do when you get to know someone. On our second date, I told her anecdotes about being a child in Mexico City at a very close-knit private school, naïve to the bigger forces around me and vying to be closer to America in whatever way possible. She told me there was a movie somewhere in those stories, and in January of last year we started developing what has now become this short film.”

Director Àlex Lora Cercós was awarded the Short Film Grand Jury Prize for his short “The Masterpiece” at the 2024 Festival. (Photo by Andrew Walker/Shutterstock for Sunda

Release Rundown: What to Watch in July, From “Dìdi (弟弟)” to “Skywalkers: A Love Story”

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Daredevils Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus ascend to dizzying heights in Jeff Zimbalist’s documentary “Skywalkers: A Love Story.”

By Lucy Spicer

It’s that time of year again: As summer temperatures hit their peak, we’re ready to balance fun in the sun with some distinctly indoor entertainment. This July, Sundance has you covered with four documentaries you can watch without even having to leave the house, as well as one award-winning new release you can enjoy inside a dark, air-conditioned theater.

Nonfiction offerings include an Institute-supported debut by two young filmmakers documenting a summer in their border town, a 2024 Sundance Film Festival doc about two thrill-seekers reaching jaw-dropping heights, and two 2023 Festival films — one from a woman with a rare disability seeking community, and another following two fishermen in Bombay balancing friendship amid a difficult industry. This month’s in-theater fiction film evokes the recent nostalgia of 2008 with an appropriately summer-set coming-of-age story.

Hummingbirds — In their directorial debut, filmmakers Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras chronicle the last sunset-soaked summer of their youth in a Texas-Mexico border town, holding tight to their friendship and blossoming activism even as immigration complications hang over their heads. Supported by Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, Hummingbirds was awarded the Grand Prix in the Generation 14plus competition at Berlinale in 2023. Making its broadcast premiere on PBS’ “POV” July 1.

Is There Anybody Out There? — Before she put out a call in a disability support group on Facebook, director Ella Glendining had never seen a body that looked like hers before. Born with very short thigh bones and no hip joints, Glendining has a disability so rare that she has been unable to find any statistics about it. In her feature-length documentary debut, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Glendining shares the realities of her everyday life — including the ableism she experiences regularly — as she searches for other individuals living with a disability like hers. Making its broadcast premiere on PBS’ “POV” July 8.

Skywalkers: A Love Story — Some thrill-seekers climb mountains; Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus climb buildings. Known as rooftoppers, the daredevil couple post photos of their dizzying — and not strictly legal — escapades dangling off the sides of some of the world’s tallest buildings. Director Jeff Zimbalist’s documentary, which screened at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, follows Nikolau and Beerkus as they seek to strengthen their relationship and tackle their most difficult climb yet: the 2,227-foot Merdeka 118 skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur. Streaming on Netflix July 19.

Dìdi (弟弟) — It’s the summer of 2008, and 13-year-old Taiwanese American Chris (Izaac Wang) is a typical teenager trying to enjoy the last months

Top Shorts Winners - June 2024

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Film of the Month

Voyeuress - Jan Fabris


Best Narrative Film

The Possible Life - Burke Doeren


Best Indie Film

Voyeuress - Jan Fabris


Best Drama

Amentalio - Fernanda Vilela, Mokotsi Rukundo


Best Comedy

Super Ruble Adventure - Tommie Grabiec


Best Horror

A Vampire's Kiss - Mark Francis


Best Sci-Fi

Superior Subject - J.D. Henning


Best Experimental Film

Corporeal - Michael Andrew Gearheart


Best Inspirational Film

House of Hope - Jill Bugbee, Eric Bugbee


Best Romance Film

Love Beyond Dreams - Simin Vaswani, Jeremiah Kipp


Best Virtual Reality

SCENE II - Pei-Yu Shih


Best Animation

Checkpoint - Deanna Kennedy


Best Music Video

SCENE II - Pei-Yu Shih


Best Student Film

I'm Not A Bad Person - Claire Elyse de Vries, Morgan Kisner


Best Director

Mute - Andrea Borbolla


Best First Time Director

Superior Subject - J.D. Henning


Best Indie Filmmaker

Waves of Her - Gwenn Hope


Best Young Filmmaker

Fantasy of Two - Maria Fedorovskiy

Best Actor

The Possible Life - Michael Vlamis


Best Actress

Amentalio - Fernanda Vilela


Best Child Actor

Love Beyond Dreams - Karan Vaswani


Best Child Actress

Superior Subject - Ruby Durr


Best Duo

The Possible Life - Lauren Call & Michael Vlamis


Best Cinematography

Reset Now - Ömer Pekyürek


Best Editing

Love Beyond Dreams - Simin Vaswani


Enjoying the (Scooter) Ride: Catching Up With the “Thelma” Family as It Hits a Theater Near You

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Fred Hechinger, June Squibb, and Clark Gregg at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.
Presley Ann/Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival

By Bailey Pennick

Deciding to share your story with the world for the first time isn’t something that’s easy to get used to, especially if you’re unveiling it at the Sundance Film Festival. For Josh Margolin, it’s been six months since his debut feature, Thelma, premiered to a packed audience at The Ray Theatre during the 2024 Fest, but it’s still a bit hard to believe. 

“It was very surreal, very overwhelming,” Margolin says with a smile. He’s currently in a soundstage for a full day talking all things Thelma alongside his cast. The breakout comedy about a tenacious grandmother (an iconic performance by June Squibb) getting justice from phone scammers is in theaters across the country now, but the first screening in Park City is burned in the writer-director-editor’s brain. Margolin, whom we first got to know before the Festival, now realizes that his premiere demeanor might not have appeared as slick or effortless as he thought it did.

“I thought I was really cool and holding it together,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘This is great. We’re going to show the movie. We’ve shown the movie before!’ And then 10 minutes before the movie ended at our premiere, I suddenly was like, ‘Oh my God, I think I’m going to pass out.’ My girlfriend, Chloe, was like, ‘You’ve been breathing like a crazy person.’ I say, ‘I don’t think so.’ And she was like, ‘Trust me, I’m sitting next to you. You sound insane. Take a breath.’ Somehow everything really hit me in the moments leading up to, honestly, having to talk about it.”

Josh Margolin at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Presley Ann/Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival

Following that sage advice again half a year later, Margolin pauses to collect his thoughts about the whirlwind that is debuting at the Festival: “Something about owning it in that way at Sundance — at our premiere — it was something I’d dreamed of doing, and then to be there, I felt like I had held it together for as long as I could… It sort of all hit me and overwhelmed me for a moment, and then I took a few breaths and walked up, and we went from there.”

When Margolin says “we,” he means his full Thelma family who made that dream a reality. This, of course, includes his stellar cast who brought the semi-autobiographical story to life. The chemistry between the actors — Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, and the late Richard Roundtree — is infectious to watch on screen and, frankly, to be around. 

Off-screen, the Thelma gang looks out for their own, too, whether it’s sharing lines while running through promos in a Hollywood studio or giving each other character advice on set. When it came to navigating the Sundance Film Festival, Margolin’s fictionalized family had a leg up with two Sundance Institute regulars playing mom (Posey) and dad (Gregg). 

Ju

Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know 8 LGBTQ+ Filmmakers With Shorts at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival

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Kate Jean Hollowell’s “Say Hi After You Die” took home the Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

By Lucy Spicer

One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival is having a front-row seat for the bright future of independent filmmaking. While we can learn a lot about the filmmakers from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival through the art that these storytellers share with us, there’s always more we can learn about them as people. This year, we decided to get to the bottom of those artistic wells with our ongoing series: Give Me the Backstory!

As summer heats up and the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour officially begins its circuit, we’re digging back into all the short films that had us laughing, crying, gasping, and contemplating at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. To commemorate Pride Month, we’ve assembled nuggets of wisdom from eight of the LGBTQ+ filmmakers who brought their shorts to the 2024 Fest, including four award winners

Through their unique and insightful short films, these eight filmmakers explore a tense meeting between a wealthy couple and some scrap dealers, unexpected fallout from a gift of new sneakers, a haunting through a queer lens, a confrontation between some bugs at a diner, a portrait of a gender nonconforming creative, a reincarnation involving a portable toilet, a horror story about the monsters in our minds, and an animated tale of sacrifice and immigration.

Read on to learn more about eight of the LGBTQ+ filmmakers who brought their stories to the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Program. 

What was the biggest inspiration behind this film?

Àlex Lora Cercós (The Masterpiece): “‘Homo homini lupus.’ The seed for this concept was Hobbes’ idea that ‘men are wolves to other men,’ referring to the dark aspect of human nature where individuals may act in ways that are detrimental to others. The realities of class struggle, immigration, and racism served as triggers. Additionally, the game of chess, both conceptually and visually, played a significant role for me as the director. I envisioned the story as a strategic battle between white and black pieces on an uneven board with different privileges.”

Gerardo Coello Escalante (Viaje de Negocios): “When I met my now girlfriend, we shared stories of growing up, as you do when you get to know someone. On our second date, I told her anecdotes about being a child in Mexico City at a very close-knit private school, naïve to the bigger forces around me and vying to be closer to America in whatever way possible. She told me there was a movie somewhere in those stories, and in January of last year we started developing what has now become this short film.”

Director Àlex Lora Cercós was awarded the Short Film Grand Jury Prize for his short

HippCast: Episode 15

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Episode 15 celebrates an important date in the Bo’ness calendar, the Bo’ness Fair!

Visitors to HippFest will remember that the Bo’ness Fair Queen, who is crowned each year at the fair, has joined us on several occasions at our HippFest Closing Night Gala to award prizes. The Bo’ness Children’s Fair Festival, to give it its official name, was founded in 1897 and continues to be a major cultural event in Scotland, beloved by Bonessians at home, and further afield.

Louis Dixon, the original proprietor of the Hippodrome, produced local topicals for the cinema, making films documenting the fair from as early as 1912 right through to his death in 1960. So to get in the spirit of the fair, and of Louis Dixon himself, We thought it would be fitting to share with you an adapted version of the walking tour led by local historian and archaeologist Geoff Bailey about the Hippodrome architect Matthew Steele!

Architect of the Hippodrome (1911), Matthew Steele has a lasting legacy in the streets of Bo’ness. His practice lasted from 1905-37 and in that time he created many private homes and public buildings in the town, in the Arts and Crafts, and later art deco moderne style. Born in Bo’ness and trained in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Steele worked mainly in Bo’ness throughout his life and his designs are often very recognisable. Adapted from our online video tour released as part of HippFest 2021, this audio production hosted by Geoff Bailey will guide you through Bo’ness to discover the buildings created by this influential architect.

So spend the afternoon in Bo’ness strolling from one building to the other as you listen along; or if you’re tuning in from overseas and are curious about a building, you can do the exact same using Google Maps.

Happy Fair Day to all who celebrate!

See approximate locations of each point of the tour below:
  • 00:03:57 | Hippodrome Cinema (10 Hope Street Bo’ness EH51 0AA)
  • 00:08:07 | South Street (11 South St, Bo’ness EH51 0EA)
  • 00:09:41 | Corvi’s and the old Station Hotel (5-7 Seaview Place, Bo’ness EH51 0AJ)
  • 00:12:37 | The Star Cinema (17 Corbiehall, Bo’ness, EH51 0AW)
  • 00:16:00 | ‘Coffin Close’ (63 Corbiehall, Bo’ness EH51 0AX)
  • 00:17:59 | ‘St Mary’s Buildings’ (195 Corbiehall, Bo’ness EH51 OAX)
  • 00:19:26 | Seaforth (43 Linlithgow Road, Bo’ness, EH51 0DW)
  • 00:21:28 | Matt Steele’s cottages (Dean Road, Bo’ness, EH51 9BH)
  • 00:22:42 | The ‘Venetian Houses‘ (Cadzow Cres, Bo’ness EH51 9AY)
  • 00:23:45 | Duchess Nina Nurses’ Home (Where Cadzow Crescent and Cadzow Lane connect, Bo’ness, EH51 9AY)
  • 00:25:29 | Matt Steele’s bungalows (Cadzow Crescent, Bo’ness, EH51 9AZ)
  • 00:26:11 | Masonic Hall (Stewart Avenue, Bo’ness, EH51 9NJ)
  • 00:28:03 | Commission Street flats (Main St, Bo’ness EH51 9NG)
  • 00:29:29 | Matty Steele Building (South St, Bo’ness EH51 9NF)
Show transcript

Please note that this transcript is generated with the assistance of AI technology and therefore may conta

Channing Godfrey Peoples on a Bittersweet ‘Miss Juneteenth’ Release and the Urgency of Portraying Black Humanity on Screen

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Alexis Chikaeze as Kai in ‘Miss Juneteenth.’

By Dana Kendall

Editor’s Note: It’s been two years since Channing Godfrey Peoples’s powerful debut, Miss Juneteenth, hit screens across the country following its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Now, the film is available to stream on Hulu, Kanopy, BET+, as well as rent via Amazon Prime, Vudu, and iTunes. 

Peoples’s film highlights the community, beauty, and complexity surrounding Juneteenth, an Independence Day for Black Americans. Below, read about Miss Juneteenth and Peoples’s storytelling process. To learn more on the history and the significance of Juneteenth, check out Penguin Random House’s Juneteenth reading list. To support organizations that support the Black community, consider donating today to one of the following mutual aids.

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