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Sundance Film Festival begins tomorrow

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off tomorrow January in Park City, Utah. Now in its 31st year, the festival has become one of the world’s most renowned showcases for independent American and international cinema. The festival is the centerpiece of the non-profit Sundance Institute’s year-round programme of activities which assists in the development of independent films with a range of events and grants more than $2.5 million to independent artists each year. Continue Reading…

Monty Python reunion to kick off tonight


Monty Python photo courtesy of Sundance Channel Global

The highly anticipated reunion of Monty Python starts tonight with the first of 10 shows at London’s O2 Arena. The five surviving members will appear for their first live performances on stage since 1980.

At a combined age of nearly 361, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin took time out from rehearsals for a press conference at the London Palladium to discuss the reunion. “It’s somewhere between a theatrical show and a rock show,” said Cleese. He also joked about the challenges the group faced preparing for the reunion. “I’ve prepared for it by sleeping more,” he quipped.

Idle also commented on the large-scale production, which features choreography and music in addition to comedy sketches. “Our motto is to leave them wanting less,” he said.

The final night of the reunion will be seen in cinemas around the world on 20th July as well as broadcast on UKTV Gold and Sundance Channel internationally. The group also announced their first ever fan club and reissues of their classic albums.

Mick Jagger opened the press conference by appearing in a comedic short film to discuss the Monty Python reunion, which can be seen below.


Sundance Film Festival celebrates 30th anniversary

The Sundance Film Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this week. The annual event showcasing the best of independent film takes place in the snowy mountains of Park City, Utah.

Credit: Fred Hayes

Credit: Fred Hayes

With more than 120 feature-length films being screened – many from first-time filmmakers, the festival continues to grow in stature and influence with each year. At the opening press conference, Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford spent some time discussing the festival’s origins.

“The ambition was simply to create a community of likeminded filmmakers to come and share their own work,” Redford said. “I came here because of the state’s pioneer history, so I wanted to preserve that at Sundance. I also wanted to add something that would create a new dimension.”

Over the past 30 years, the festival has provided opportunities for countless filmmakers – from Steven Soderbergh to Quentin Tarantino to John Cameron Mitchell. Some of the ground-breaking films introduced at the festival include Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Beasts of the Southern Wild just to name a few. The festival is a programme of the non-profit Sundance Institute.

“I’d say the history and the product pretty well speaks for itself in terms of independent film and the opportunities we’ve given people,” he said. “Over 30 years if you looked at all the people who are now working who came through with our help, that gives me great pleasure. To me that’s more satisfying than anything.”

The event has evolved significantly from those early days and now includes categories for documentaries, shorts and world cinema. In fact, four of the Oscar-nominated documentaries were shown at the festival last year. There is a music programme, and the third annual Sundance London will take place in late April. Sundance Channel is now seen across the globe.

The Sundance Film Festival runs through 26th January. The full-length opening press conference featuring Redford, Festival Director John Cooper and Keri Putnam (Executive Director of the Sundance Institute) can be seen here.


Sundance Film Festival 2014 announces in-competition features and docs

Sundance Institute has announced the films and documentaries selected to compete at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The annual event, which takes place 16-26 January, is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. The line-up was revealed for the US and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary categories, alongside titles in the Next strand which are screened out of competition.

Credit: Jill Orschel

Credit: Jill Orschel

For the 2014 event, there were 118 feature-length films selected representing 37 countries. This includes 54 first-time filmmakers. Overall, there were more than 12,000 submissions, which was an increase over last year.

While many titles screen out of competition, there will be 16 films in the US drama competition alongside 16 US documentaries. The world drama competition will feature 12 films, and there will be 12 titles competing in the world documentaries category.

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute said in a statement, “That the Festival has evolved and grown as it has over the past 30 years is a credit to both our audiences and our artists, who continue to find ways to take risks and open our minds to the power of story. This year’s films and artists promise to do the same.”

Additional movies being shown at the festival will be announced through next week. The full line-up can be seen at

Sundance London returns from 25-27 April

20131125SundanceLondonThe Sundance London Film and Music Festival is set to return to The O2 from 25-27 April. In addition to a multitude of film screenings and events, the festival will host an expanded filmmaker development programme.

John Cooper, the Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said in a statement, “We look with great excitement to hosting the third Sundance London in April. In keeping with the event’s purpose of celebrating independent artists, the Short Film Competition and workshop allow us to tap into the vibrant artistic community in the UK and connect that work with audiences at the festival.”

The short film competition enables UK-based filmmakers to enter original films three to five minutes in length, with the winning entry screening at Sundance London. The winning filmmaker will receive free accommodation and some additional prizes.

Entries will need to reflect the theme of ‘Making a go of it’: stories about moving forward in life, love or loss and the pursuit of inspiration.’ Submissions can be documentary, animation, live action, comedy, drama or any other preferred format or genre. They will accepted until 3 March via

Ticket packages go on sale tomorrow at 10am (GMT) through the same website. Sundance Channel Global is the lead partner for the festival, which is a partnership between Robert Redford, Sundance Enterprises, Sundance Institute and AEG Europe.

Lily Allen releases controversial new music video

British artist Lily Allen is making quite a comeback. Not only does she provide the soundtrack to the £1 million John Lewis department store Christmas advert singing a Keane cover, but she has just released a new music video that pokes fun at sexism in music.

Chris Sweeney, who has worked with Lana Del Rey and Will Young, directed this week’s Hard Out Here video from her forthcoming album. Allen apparently wanted to do something subversive, and she certainly is getting lots of attention in the media. The video begins with Allen getting liposuction and proceeds to show her performing suggestively with a group of female dancers.

With witty and ironic lyrics, the song and accompanying satirical video have created a wave of controversy online in the past 24 hours. The wide-ranging debate has addressed issues of racism, feminism, misogyny and the pursuit of stardom – and that seems to be just the beginning.

Check out the video here.