Documentary Filmmakers at Sundance

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For two weeks each January, the film world turns its attention to Park City, Utah. The Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the U.S., brings out the stars, the buyers and filmmakers from around the world. This year’s festival will begin on Thursday, January 17.
Sundance Film Festival. Image from documentary filmmakers, having a film selected for the prestigious documentary competition or the world cinema documentary competition is an exciting opportunity to showcase their work to a film-loving audience. Here’s a roundup of interviews with some of the documentary filmmakers at Sundance ’08. Stayed tuned to the POV Blog for more coverage from Park City and exclusive interviews from the festival.

indieWire has been emailing up a storm with Sundance filmmakers. The online publication has conducted interviews profiling first-time directors who have films screening as part of the 2008 festival, and has been posting them during the days leading up to the festival. Here are some of the documentary highlights:

Hear from Bigger, Faster, Stronger director Christopher Bell on how his brothers’ use of steroids led him to make his film, an exploration of steroid culture in America.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life filmmaker Steven Sebring talks about how his experiences as a photographer influenced his filmmaking.
Veteran DP Ellen Kuras explains what led her to make her first film as a director, Nerakhoon: The Betrayal and gives her take on the state of independent film today.
Yung Chang, the filmmaker behind Up the Yangtze, calls his film “The Love Boat meets Apocalpyse Now.”
Traces of the Trade filmmaker Katrina Browne explains why she didn’t want to be behind the camera or the editing system, and shares the details of how she applied some of the lessons of her non-profit start-up experience to documentary filmmaking.
Secrecy co-director Peter Galison talks about being a physics professor and a filmmaker at the same time, and about learning the craft of filmmaking on the fly.
Tia Lessin and Carl Deal made their film, Trouble the Water in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They talk about the difficulty of producing and directing at the same time, and about what they learned from working with Michael Moore.

For more indieWire filmmaker interviews, visit their special Park City section.
The Reeler, which covers New York City cinema, has posted several interviews with local documentary filmmakers who will be at Sundance. Nanette Burstein, whose film American Teen follows the lives of four teenagers in Indiana, talks about filming daily for 10 months, distilling that footage into a 95-minute cut of the film, and her complicated relationships with her teen subjects. The Reeler also interviewed Ellen Kuras of Nerakhoon, who talks about her film as a “poetic memoir,” and talks about her other role at Sundance, that of the DP for Michel Gondry‘s new comedy Be Kind, Rewind.

And of course, the Sundance website features interviews with many of the directors, too. Check out their Films & Filmmakers ’08 page for video interviews with filmmakers, including Kuras, Sebring, and Browne.

Stay tuned for more from Sundance on the POV Blog.

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.
  • Ekomenzoge Kings

    FOREIGNID: 15362
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