Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sundance - Report on Films

At 4 am my eyes popped open thinking about Sundance. (from FB) Not surprising given the two fabulous and provocative films I have seen over the past two days.

The first was the premiere of "Sing Your Song" a film by Susanne Rostok, a biographical documentary of the life of Harry Belafonte. His "groundbreaking career personifies the American Civil Rights Movement and impacted many other social justice movements." The filmmaker had collected over 800 hours of film on this extraordinary life. Mr. Belafonte told of how his mother taught him to wake up every day looking to right an injustice in the world. This is the same message that I am trying to live by, and am trying to teach my children - to do "what you can with what you have where you are." What was so incredible was how he used his platform, used is power, used his relationships, to help others. This is what the world needs a heck of a lot more of. I cannot wait to share this movie with my Women Moving Millions sisters ( and a few brothers) as that is exactly why this initiative was created. "To those to which much is given, much is expected."

Yesterday we saw a feature film called "The Ledge" by Director/ Screenwriter Gavin Wiesen. "Atop a high-rise building, Gavin, a young hotel manager, is about to end his life. Hollis, a detective whose own world has just been turned upside down, is dispatched to the scene. As Hollis tried to persuade Gavin not to jump, each man begins to open up about his past, and we discover that neither of them is convinced that his life is worth living." The film stars Charlie Hunnman, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson and Terrance Howard ( who were all excellent!!) who were all there for post film Q and A. Patrick's character Joe was a fundamentalist Christian who we find 'rescued' his gorgeous and docile bride. Charlie, the 'happy go lucky' neighbor, an atheist , falls for her, and her for him. I won't say more about the plot but it is filled with temptation, tragedy, and moral dilemmas. Ultimately it is about forgiveness, grace and perhaps event salvation. Faith is forefront. Love it. What I did not love is that I asked this question to the crew - "This movie is about one's struggle with faith. What did you learn about your own faith during the filming and would you like to share your faith with the audience?" The crowd cheered the question but that actors ducked answering. Sorry but that was lame. Why is one willing to get on the big screen and play a fundamentalist Christian, and not willing to comment about how you could or could not relate to the character." It was a moment for them to real about it, which was of course the point of the film and they did not. Very disappointing. Very.

Last night we attended a gathering for Impact Partners, a film investment group that funds social impact documentaries. They have three films in the festival - !WAR, Hell and Back Again and Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death and Technology. They all sound extraordinary and I am hoping to see them. The filmmakers were there and the stories about how much passion went in to creating this films moved me. I have found my new love, Documentary Films. Also there were two filmmakers pitching their projects. The first will be about acid attacks on women in Pakistan and one man, a doctor, who is doing something about it. The second is about the Biosphere Two Project. Amazing. ( click here for the film guide)

My fabulous feminist house guests arrived last night for the Premiere of "Miss Representation" today. I am so excited which is likely why my eyes popped open at 4. Yes it is fun seeing movie stars, but activists and change makers are my heros. I suggest the cast of "The Ledge" come to this film for a little inspiration of how to not fear putting who YOU are out there. For that matter they should also search out Mr. Belafonte for an amazing example of a man who leverages his celebrity and is not afraid to share his values off the screen.

1 comment:

annette ross said...

jacki,
loved reading about your time at the festival and cannot wait to see the ledge.....not too surprised the actors had little to comment when questioned about fundamentalist christianity......are they scared or just have no thoughts to share? either way its disappointing. i have always admired harry belafonte, my parents loved him!!!!!! enjoy this exciting week..........annette