We may be slowly entering yet another noisy blockbuster season but it is fair to say that these last couple of weeks have been extremely generous to the tastes of indie film lovers in London. First, at the London Independent Film Festival, they got the chance to discover the raw talents of first- and second-time directors in films that will probably not receive commercial distribution – now, they’ll have the opportunity to get a distinctive taste of the most famous independent film festival in the world.
The major role of the Sundance Film Festival in the elevation of the status of the contemporary American independent cinema cannot be argued. Now for the first time, the 35 year old film festival will travel outside the US. From April 26-29, the Sundance London Film and Music Festival will take place at the O2, showcasing 14 feature-length and eight short films from the 2012 fest along with numerous special events.
Staying true to the indie spirit, the selected films are not afraid to tackle important and sometimes difficult subjects. Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush’s documentary Finding North unveils the human stories behind the shocking statistic that one in six Americans doesn’t get enough to eat on a regular basis, while Harmony presents the views and actions of visionaries who try to find solutions to the global environmental crisis. The film will have its worldwide theatrical premiere screening at the festival and it will be introduced by the Prince of Wales who narrates the film.
Moving on to fiction, Russo-Young’s Nobody Walks (with a script co-written by Lena Dunham, the creator of the new critically lauded HBO series Girls) shows how fragile the seemingly idyllic life of an open-minded family is, when they take a young artist into their home. A more joyful outcome can be found in Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed (pictured) that employs the lovable quirky humour that has become a staple of indie films to tell the story of three journalists who are sent to investigate a personal advertisement in a newspaper from someone who is seeking a partner for time travel.
As the title of the festival suggests though, this is a celebration not just of films but also of music. The strong connection between those two arts can be found in the music documentaries, Placebo: Coming Up For Air and Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You – A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, which will be followed by intimate gigs from Martha and Rufus Wainwright. The craft of matching music to moving images will also be the subject of a discussion between the Sundance Institute President & Founder Robert Redford and legendary musician and record producer T-Bone Burnett with the famous writer and avid music lover Nick Hornby moderating the conversation. It is more difficult to make a film connection to the gig of the trip-hop pioneer Tricky but just the fact that it will find him reuniting with Martina Topley-Bird to perform the classic album Maxinquaye in its entirety is enough to make it one of the festival’s highlights.
So from documentary to fiction, comedy to drama, trip hop to folk, Sundance London will have something for everyone. Not to be missed. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas)
For further information and tickets visit www.sundance-london.com