POV series producer Yance Ford writes in with a report on the screenings and parties from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
William Kunstler: Distrurbing the Universe had its premiere tonight at the new Sundance venue, Temple Theater. The Temple, now one of the largest venues at the festival, was filled to capacity for the world premiere of Sarah and Emily Kunstler‘s portrait of their father, attorney William Kunstler.
A lively Q&A followed the screening. Joining the filmmakers for the session were Yusef Salaam and George Johnson, both former clients of Kunstler’s, and Michael Ratner, a former co-council of Kuntsler’s who is also the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Yusef Salaam was convicted of rape in the Central Park Jogger case as a teenager, despite Kunstler’s vigorous defense. He was exonerated of the crime more than a decade later. Salaam recited a poem titled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” at the Q&A. The film’s producers, Jesse Moss, Susan Korda and Vanessa Wanger, also joined the filmmakers at the screening. Margaret Ratner Kunstler, mother to Sarah and Emily and Kunstler’s second wife, was also there. A highlight of the Q&A occurred when an attorney in the audience commented that the film reminded him of the ideals that first compelled him to study the law. William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe will air on POV in 2009 or 2010.
The opening night party at the Legacy Lodge was a packed affair, teeming with excited filmmakers, festival-goers and the casts of many narrative films at the festival. I managed to spot producer, director and editor Sam Pollard from a distance. Pollard, editor of the upcoming documentary on Barack Obama, is one of the documentary jury members. Now I’m off to the PBS/ITVS party, and then I’ll head to a screening of Push, the adaptation of the novel by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels. I’ll check back in later with more from the festival!