An Insider’s Guide to Sundance

Independent Lens’ founding series producer, Lois Vossen, offers her advice on how to survive the landmark festival in Park City, and talks about some of the recent PBS hits that got their start at Sundance. A longtime Sundance Veteran, Vossen winds up seeing up to five films a day as she scours the town for new talent in documentary film.

 

Click here to see more on the ground coverage at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Explore the possibilities of transmedia docs with Filmmaker Magazine’s reflections on the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. At the festival, Doc Lab showcased choose-your-own-adventure documentaries that don’t sacrifice the main storyline.

Oscar excitement is through the roof! The shortlist for best documentary includes 15 picks, and Realscreen has interviews with seven of the directors.

Zooming out even further from the Oscar choices of 2012, here are the top 10 Sundance documentaries of the decade.

If you’ve never seen Paul Madonna’s illustrations, now is the time to start. Here is his adorable and insightful comic about the difficulties of living a creative life. Continue reading

The Academy Award Shortlist Has Been Announced and ITVS Couldn’t Be Happier!

What a week for ITVS! First the Sundance Film Festival announced the lineup for 2013, then Time Magazine showed Invisible War some love in their “Top Movies of 2012”, the National Board of Review listed three ITVS funded films in their “Top 5 Documentaries”, and now the Academy Award shortlist is out!

Before anyone walks down any red carpets or starts penning acceptance speeches, the Academy names a number of films (15 to be exact!) to advance in order to help narrow down the voting process for Best Documentary Feature. With over 126 films in contention for the Oscar, ITVS is more than a little excited to see some very familiar titles on the Academy Award shortlist:

The field will be narrowed to five titles when the Oscar nominations are announced in early January.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

POV is drumming up excitement over the results of its “Greatest Documentaries of All Time” poll. Filmmakers are discussing the documentaries that mean the most to them, including Marshall Curry on Sherman’s March: “It pulled back the curtain on the filmmaking process and revealed the filmmaker not as a slick magician but as a human being trying to sort through the mess of life.”

Get excited! The lineup for Sundance 2013’s U.S. and World Documentary sections have been announced.

Before you rush to happy hour this Friday evening, learn the science behind how alcohol affects your brain in this upbeat animated short. Continue reading

IL Series Producer Recaps Sundance 2012

By Lois Vossen, Founding Series Producer of Independent Lens and Vice President of ITVS

ITVS-funded filmmakers and staff rally for lunch at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT

Sundance 2012 was a record-breaking year year for ITVS and Independent Lens. Six ITVS funded films screened in the documentary competitions and all six were honored with Sundance awards. (ITVS had had seven films playing at Sundance in 2004; six films in 2002; and eight films in 1997 for those interested in banner years).

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ITVS in the News

A sampling of coverage from the New York TimesRealscreen, and more …

New York Times: Sundance Documentaries Transform Data Into Stories
Over the weekend, The House I Live In, Eugene Jarecki’s heart-heavy investigation into the American war on drugs, nabbed the grand jury prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

Miller-McCune Magazine: Does Black History Month Need More Than a Month?
At a time when so many documentaries adopt an either angry or elegiac tone, More Than a Month has a disarmingly light touch. Among the several laugh-out-loud moments is a brief parody of Ken Burns’s The Civil War, featuring the filmmaker in period costume. Tilghman’s a great guide on this journey: he’s genuinely troubled by the questions he raises, but he’s also unpretentious, quizzical, and, at times, bemused.
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ITVS Films Clean Up at Sundance

All six ITVS films in competition at Sundance picked up awards on Saturday, marking an unprecedented accomplishment for the organization and the filmmakers.

WINNER OF THE GRAND JURY PRIZE IN U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The House I Live In by Eugene Jarecki
The film weaves together director Eugene Director’s personal narrative with America’s war on drugs. Here, producers including Sam Cullman, Melinda Snopsis, Danny Glover, and director Eugene Jarecki — reflect on the film and its Sundance premiere.
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Filmmakers of “The House I Live In” Respond to Sundance Premiere

By Steve Goldbloom, Reporting for PBS and BTB at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

The House I Live In premiered last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. The film weaves together director Eugene Jarecki’s personal narrative with America’s war on drugs. Here, producers including Sam Cullman, Melinda Shopsin, Danny Glover, and director Eugene Jarecki — reflect on the film and its Sundance premiere.

Filmmakers of “The Invisible War” Reflect on Sundance Premiere

By Steve Goldbloom, Reporting for PBS and BTB at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

This past weekend, filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering premiered their documentary The Invisible War at the Sundance Film Festival. The film examines the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence, and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it. Watch the video below as both filmmakers recount the Sundance experience.

“If a Tree Falls” Filmmaker Reacts to Oscar Nomination

By Steve Goldbloom, Reporting for PBS and BTB at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Sam Cullman, co-director and cinematographer of If a Tree Falls reacts to his Oscar Nomination, which he learned about on Tuesday at Sundance.

The movie takes a behind-the-scenes look at Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls the “number one domestic terrorism threat” in America. If a Tree Falls aired on POV this past fall.