2009 Sundance Film Festival Announces Panel Discussions

sundanceFestival Panels Discuss the History and Future of Independent Cinema with Panelists Including Steven Soderbergh, James Schamus, Barbara Kopple and Gregg Araki

New This Year – Cinema Cafe – A Morning Forum for Informal Dialogues with Festival Guests Including Nick Hornby, Samantha Power and Nicholas Kristof

Park City, UT(RushPRnews) 01/15/09—The 2009 Sundance Film Festival announced today the panel discussions at the Festival, which runs January 15-25, 2009 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Festival panels offer in-depth conversation, lively debate, and critical insight into a broad range of issues important to the independent filmmaking community.

Panels tackle topics from the future of the independent film movement with industry leaders James Schamus, Ted Hope, Michael Barker and others to Sundance history with Steven Soderbergh, Nicole Holofecener, Gregg Araki, and Tom DiCillo, as well as documentary funding and science in film. This year’s panels feature internationally-known experts including: filmmaker Pamela Yates; cultural theorist B. Ruby Rich; New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof; scientist Rodney Brooks, and author Nick Hornby.Highlights include a special presentation of The People Speak with author Howard Zinn and live readings by Benjamin Bratt, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei.

“Panel discussions enhance the Festival experience by highlighting the culture that surrounds independent film,” said John Nein, Senior Programmer, Panel Discussions. “Panels broaden the experience of just watching a film by including the audience in the dialogue. This year, we’ve curated the panels to focus on a few key topics like the independent film climate and the role film plays in social change and added a series of informal morning conversations called Cinema Cafe where audiences can engage directly with Festival filmmakers.”


The Panic Button: Push or Ponder?
Monday, January 19, 11:30 a.m.
Prospector Square Theatre

Ticket Required

The sky fell, companies collapsed, and the industry spent much of the year with one hand on the panic button. So, where do we go from here? Is this the end or simply a transition? Of the questions that besiege the industry today (content, distribution, its very identity), maybe the most fundamental is what kind of movies we want to make… and see. Today we ask for a vision of the future; for new models that foster the health, diversity, and creativity of independent filmmaking. Mark Gill (The Film Department), Ted Hope (This is That), James Schamus (Focus Features), Michael Barker (Sony Pictures Classics), Jonathan Sehring (IFC Entertainment), Marcus Hu (Strand Releasing) and Peter Broderick (Paradigm Consulting), moderated by Sundance Film Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore.

All Grown Up, Now Where To Go?
Tuesday, January 20, 2:30 p.m.
Prospector Square Theatre
Over the last 25 years, the independent film movement has been a coming-of-age story. Creativity and personal expression once consigned to the margins gradually evolved into a diverse movement of unprecedented vitality and popularity. But where is the independent film movement right now? How can it maintain creative momentum and freedom? What needs to change in order to preserve the energy of voices and aesthetics to keep this culture thriving as it matures? Panelists include Steven Soderbergh, Barbara Kopple, Nicole Holofcener, Tom DiCillo and Gregg Araki, and moderator Elvis Mitchell.

The People Speak: Voices of A People’s History of the United States
Thursday, January 22, 1 p.m.
Sundance ASCAP Music Café
Ticket Required
The People Speak: Voices of A People’s History of the United States (the basis of the forthcoming documentary The People Speak) brings to light little known voices from U.S. history, including those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and laborers. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past – and present – we work to educate and inspire a new generation of people working for social justice. This live performance with Howard Zinn features readings by a group of distinguished performers including Benjamin Bratt, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Melissa Leo, and a musical performance by Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes.

New this year, each morning at 10:30 a.m. in the Filmmaker Lodge, Cinema Cafe offers audiences the opportunity to engage with Festival filmmakers and other guests in an information dialogue about their work. Open to all Festival credential holders and the general public as space permits.

Sunday, January 18
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, author Samantha Power (Chasing the Flame) and Orlando Bagwell (the Ford Foundation)

Monday, January 19
Nick Hornby (An Education) and David Bezmozgis (Victoria Day)

Tuesday, January 20
Natalia Almada (El General), NC Heikin (Kimjongilia), and Eric Daniel Metzgar (Reporter).

Thursday, January 22
Sterlin Harjo and Chad Burris (Barking Water) join Stanley Nelson and Julianna Brannum (Wounded Knee) in conversation with Bird Runningwater.

Friday, January 23
Cruz Angeles (Don’t Let Me Drown), Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls) Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and Eran Merav (Zion and His Brother) in conversation with festival programmer John Nein.

At the Lodge is a series of daily panels hosted at the Filmmaker Lodge, a casual meeting place for filmmakers and Festivalgoers with a cafe and lounge. Open to all Festival credential holders and the general public as space permits. All events are held at the Filmmaker Lodge unless otherwise indicated. Supported by the Discovery Channel.

Report on the Congo
Saturday, January 17th, 11 a.m.
Reporter covers the current humanitarian crisis in the Congo by following two-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Join Executive Producer Ben Affleck, Nick Kristof and others with author Terry Tempest Williams for a conversation on the current conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Blueprint for Change
Saturday, January 17, 2:30 p.m.
The incoming Obama administration has already signaled a marked shift in priorities. Join human rights leaders and filmmakers in discussing the new realities for the advancement of human rights, civil liberties, and international diplomacy. Panelists include directors Liz Garbus (Shouting Fire), Pam Yates (The Reckoning), and Greg Barker (Sergio) along with First Amendment Trial Attorney Martin Garbus, author Samantha Power (Chasing the Flame), and moderator Paul van Zyl (International Center for Transitional Justice).

It’s a Big World After All
Sunday, January 18, 2:00 p.m.
For working producers who face the enormous challenges of financing and the grim climate for distribution, it’s important to have a global mindset. Why does the accessibility of international markets remains a mystery? What are the options for financing partnerships, co-productions, and international sales? If you’re a producer and the term “global economy” makes you think of freight containers, it’s time to meet “the internationals.” Samantha Horley (The Salt Company), Mike Downey (Film & Music Entertainment), Paul Mezey (producer of Cold Souls) and Lenny Crooks (UK Film Council), moderated by Mike Goodrich (Screen International).

The New Fresh
Monday, January 19, 2:00 p.m.
They are the new voices in independent film; filmmakers who put words like freshness, vision, and attitude on the tips of tongues. They make you feel like you’re seeing something you haven’t seen before. Maybe not a new story, but a new way of telling it. Whether it’s reinventing genre, brandishing their style wands, or simply making you wonder how you got stuck in their head, they are the new faces of fresh. Scott Sanders (Black Dynamite), Frazer Bradshaw (Everything Strange and New), Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), David Russo (The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle), and Laurel Nakadate (Stay the Same Never Change).

The Culture of Change
Tuesday, January 20, 2:00 p.m.
Change happens. With new perspective, we look at the role media and film can play in confronting the enormous hurdles we face as a society. What role can filmmakers play not only in connecting audiences to important issues, but in creating tools for change to knock down walls, find common ground, and empower individuals to participate in solutions. What will you do? Majora Carter (Sustainable South Bronx), Bill Ivey (Vanderbilt University and former Chairman, NEA), Louie Psihoyos (The Cove), Alex Wagner (Not On Our Watch) and others. Moderated by Calvin Sims of the Ford Foundation.

Late Night Trivia
Tuesday, January 20, 8:30 p.m.
Think you know your Sundance history? Did you know that Blood Simple won the first Grand Jury Prize in 1985? Or that ten feet of snow fell on Park City during the 1996 Festival? Join the fun as we put two teams of veteran Sundancers to the test. Prepare for quips, queries, burlesques, monkeyshines, and lampoonery. And maybe a swimsuit round.

Truth and Consequences
Wednesday, January 21, 2:00 p.m.
What are the consequences for filmmakers whose stories speak against the grain of power? Join filmmakers Hubert Sauper (Darwin’s Nightmare), Ngawang Choephel (Tibet in Song), and others who discuss the cost of truth in the modern world. Moderated by B. Ruby Rich (critic and cultural theorist).

Now or Never
Thursday, January 22, 2:00 p.m.
We live in history’s first generation that must address urgent global challenges, or risk unalterable consequences. Join world leaders on the environment, women’s status, poverty, and other key issues to discuss the world we are making, and the one we could make. Moderated by Cara Mertes (Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program) with panelists Denis Hayes (Bullitt Foundation), Kavita Ramdas (Global Fund for Women), and Charles Clover (author of The End of the Line).

2020 Vision
Friday, January 23, 2:00 p.m.
Filmmakers are speculative by nature so it’s no surprise that they frequently imagine what our world will look like in the years to come. But how do scientists envision the near-future world? How will genetics, alternative energy, and, you know, helpful robots improve societies? Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a panel of scientists and filmmakers explore what we’ll be thinking, eating, and watching when then becomes now. Filmmaker Jeffrey Nachmanoff (writer, The Day After Tomorrow), Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer), and Duncan Jones (Moon) and scientists Rodney Brooks (Panasonic Professor of Robotics, MIT Computer Science & AI Lab), Fran Bagenal (Professor of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado) and Ray Gesteland (Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah), moderated by John Underkoffler (New Frontier).


Located at Microcinema, New Frontier on Main. Open to all Festival credential holders and the general public as space permits.

Creating New Media Technology in the Service of Storytelling
Saturday, January 16, noon
Today’s media artists stand in two worlds – one driven by technological innovation, the other by creative expression. At the intersection of science and art, today’s pioneering storytellers are finding startling new ways to bend technology to their will. Featuring New Frontier artists, this panel celebrates leading voices of this new 21st century alchemy. Moderated by Ruby Lerner, executive director of Creative Capital.

Where Do We Go From Here? Icons of the Digital Age
Friday, January 17, noon
Remember the world before the Internet, e-mail, and cell phones? Now try and picture it fifteen years from now. If we are currently in the greatest information revolution since the printing press, what can we expect next? How will media, entertainment, and our digital lifestyles change? This roundtable assembles visionaries of the digital revolution to discuss the limits of our imagination. Moderated by Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.com.

What’s Next? Models and Experiments in Indie Distribution
Sunday, January 18, noon
In today’s brutal marketplace, filmmakers and distributors are forced to think outside the box. From DIY theatrical to multi-platform releases and viral marketing, there are as many new strategies today as there are successful films. Join us as we showcase films capitalizing on the newest opportunities, as well as the distribution companies articulating the clearest visions. Moderated by Scott Kirsner, editor of CinemaTech and contributing writer for Variety.

What’s Next? Web Content—Where are the Big Ideas for Small Screens?

Monday, January 19, noon
What kind of content works best on broadband platforms? Web Serials, TV re-runs, UGM, reality programming – why does so much of today’s content seem… juvenile? Where is the next generation of content for cinephiles, artists, and activists? Join new voices in the digital space as they unveil the possibilities for web content 3.0. Moderated by Suzanne Stefanac, director, AFI Digital Content Lab.

$5 Cover
Monday, January 19, 9:00 p.m.
A special preview screening of selections from $5 Cover, a multi-platform series by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan). Emerging musicians from Memphis, Tennessee play themselves as they fight for love, inspiration, and money to pay the rent.

What’s Next? The Digital Distribution Imperative

Wednesday, January 21, noon
As traditional film distribution wanes, is broadband ready to pick up the slack? We are finally seeing the major Hollywood players put their cards on the table, and filmmakers are weighing their options. Will broadband revitalize the entertainment industry, or is the Industry facing a collapse? This panel assembles studio execs, major independents, and trend-spotters to discuss digital distribution. Moderated by Katie Hafner, technology writer for The New York Times.

Created Worlds
Thursday, January 22, noon
Technology allows us to escape into dreamlike worlds— where storytellers and designers redefine reality. Once known as “virtual reality,” today’s immersive designers combine film, TV, animation, architecture, and gaming to create new storytelling environments. This panel assembles artists and scientists who are setting the agenda for the future of narrative design. Moderated by Alex McDowell, production designer and founder of the 5D Immersive Design Conference.

Located at Microcinema, New Frontier on Main. Open to all Festival credential holders and the general public as space permits.

Avid Presentations
File-based Formats: What Every Filmmaker Should Know
Friday, January 16, 2:00 p.m.
This session will explore file-based workflows for independent filmmakers from acquisition to distribution, and demystify the variety of tapeless formats available today. Hear from industry experts about the benefits of digital cinema and how to optimize your workflow (shooting, ingest, edit, finish) to get your film ready for distribution. Learn how cost-effective digital cinema technology can best work for you.

Meet the Sundance Filmmakers: How They Found that “Lean Forward” Moment
Monday, January 19, 2:00 p.m.
Long time film editor, USC Professor, and author Norm Hollyn will moderate a panel with 2009 Festival filmmakers on a topic loosely based on his forthcoming book, The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web. Hear directly from directors, producers, and editors about how they turn their “lean forward” moments into compelling stories.

Sony Presentations- How to Do More for Less
Saturday, January 17 and Sunday, January 18, 2:00 p.m.
The maturing digital revolution allows filmmakers to reach new boundaries of filmmaking, while creating new obstacles along the way. Sony’s XDCAM EX series high-def cameras introduce new capabilities that contribute to the inevitable democratization of filmmaking – including new shooting styles, lighting techniques, workflow considerations, and dynamic latitude towards executing a creative vision. Come see how the XDCAM EX streamlined efficiency contributed to the hit webisode series Blank Slate, and adapts to the visual effects-laden movie and TV shows of today.

Panavision Presentations
How to Talk to the Big Guys When You’re a Little Guy
Tuesday, January 20 and Wednesday, 21, 2:00 p.m.
Join qualified representatives from Panavision, Kodak, Laser Pacific, Fotokem, Efilm, Mole Richardson, Delux, and others to find out how small independent films and student productions can attain products and services from leaders in the field without having large budgets. Topics include low cost camera rentals, film processing, electronic work flow, and postproduction services such as digital intermediates and film-outs.

BAVC Presentation
The New Documentary Movement: Emerging Technologies and Participatory Culture
Thursday, January 22, 2:00 p.m.
The paradigm is shifting for documentary producers working in the new media landscape. How do today’s documentarians deal with urgent demands for creative transparency, transmedia collaboration, civic engagement, platform independence, and a re-envisioning of the audience? This presentation invites you to meet filmmakers and industry experts who are using technology for global collaboration, alternative storytelling, and social change. Moderated by Wendy Levy, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC).

2009 Sundance Film Festival Sponsors
The 2009 Sundance Film Festival sponsors help sustain the nonprofit Sundance Institute’s year-round programs to support independent artists, inspire risk-taking and encourage diversity in the arts. This year’s Festival Sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors—Entertainment Weekly, HP and Honda; Leadership Sponsors—American Express, Delta Air Lines, DIRECTV, Google and Microsoft Corporation; Sustaining Sponsors—Activision Publishing, Inc., Blockbuster Inc., FilterForGoodSM, a partnership between Brita® and Nalgene®, the National Milk Mustache “got milk?”® Campaign, L’Oreal Paris, Le Tourment Vert Absinthe Francaise, The New York Times, Ray-Ban, Sony Electronics, Inc., Stella Artois®, Timberland, and the Utah Film Commission. Group Partner Sundance Channel is the Official Television Network of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film, held each January in and around Park City, Utah. Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in seven distinct categories, and 80 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced American audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex lies and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Trouble the Water and Central Station. www.sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry and Born into Brothels. www.sundance.org

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