This coming weekend will see the arrival of Britain’s very own taster of the world renowned Sundance Film Festival come to London, just a few months after its sister festival in Utah back in January. Now in its third year, the event is going from strength to strength and this year it is set to showcase more home grown British talent than ever, in addition to the best international film from across the globe.
This year the event will be taking place at the London O2, across various screens and venues, from the 25 – 27 of April, and despite it being primarily a showcase for top international film, the event will also feature live music, panel discussions and other special events.
British film played a large part in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, one of the front runners being a feature length film from London’s own filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, and starring actors Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in ‘The Trip to Italy’. The film sees the trio reunited after their original six part BBC television series ‘The Trip’, which is currently airing on BBC2. The television adaptation, which is a mainly improvised script, follows Brydon and Coogan as they tour Italy, its stunning scenery and gastronomic delights.
Another film of British/Irish production, and highly rated at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, is ‘Frank’ directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film is a quirky comedy about a young musician named Jon and his involvement with an intense and eccentric group of pop musicians, fronted by Frank (Fassbender) and his sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal).
Other highly anticipated independent films from around the globe will be shown at the event including; the UK premier of previous award winner Fruitvale Station, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2013; a real life story of the shooting of an innocent young man in the San Francisco Bay area in 2009; and the international premiere of ‘The One I love’, the story of a couple on the brink of divorce who are forced to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future.
With the original Sundance Film Festival being based in Utah, in the United States, a partnership festival such as the Sundance London Festival allows a local audience the opportunity to experience an entirely different genre of film to that which is presented in our everyday cinema; presenting a mixture of documentaries, narrative features and film shorts.
The opportunity to show at the festival is, of course, given to established directors. However first time directors are also afforded a very rare showcasing opportunity. In this vein, it could be seen as keeping the film industry fresh and ever changing, ensuring that there is an incredibly varied cross-section of film to be explored.
London Sundance goers are also encouraged to stick around after the screenings of their chosen films as they will be presented with the opportunity to take part in a question and answering session with the films creator.
However, an event such as this would be bound to experience a few setbacks; this year’s festival has seen the cancellation of a selection of screenings, some which were highly anticipated such as ‘God’s Pocket’, directed by Mad Men star John Slattery and featuring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, although circumstances such as these will simply permit more time and emphasis to be placed on the other great films showing throughout the weekend.
The festival is still poised to celebrate a great variety of film and Sundance’s director John Cooper remained positive about the upcoming festival. He said: “We look with great excitement to hosting the third Sundance London in April as an opportunity to once again engage with passionate and adventurous UK audiences and to introduce them to the new work of independent filmmakers”.
Tickets for films and talks may still be available, starting at £12.50; for more information on tickets and schedules visit http://www.sundance-london.com.
How will you celebrate independent films?