Day seven of Sundance saw industry types still in town packing for home, with New Yorkers nervously checking their iPhones and BlackBerries for the latest update on the massive snowstorm bearing down on the East Coast.
Charlie Herzfeld, VP of Sales & Marketing at Technicolor New York, adopted a devil-may-care attitude, dropping by the New York Lounge as it was closing shop today (there goes my supply of fresh New York bagels FedEx’d daily from B & S Bialy in Brooklyn) to share a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut in Styrofoam cups. A classy way to say goodbye on his way to the airport.
Yours truly is here for the duration, through Sunday, the festival’s last day. Sunday brings screenings of all the winners of Saturday night’s Awards Ceremony. The perfect way to end Sundance.
If I could give an award to the camera seen most frequently at Sundance 2011, it would go to ARRI’s Alexa. Seemed every time I visited upper Main Street, someone was running around with Alexa on his or her shoulder, taking her for a test drive.
If I could give an award to the camera delivering the most impact on screen at Sundance 2011, it would go to RED One. The best film I’ve seen in Park City this year, Susanne Bier’s In a Better World—nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, from Denmark—was shot with RED One for 2.40 widescreen. (In a Better World is a Denmark/Sweden co-production, featuring both Danish and Swedish actors, but the Academy’s quaint “Foreign Language” catch-all has no way to handle this degree of complication.)
Produced by Lars von Trier’s Zentropa and acquired for U.S. distribution by Sony Pictures Classics, In a Better World will be a treat to fans of Thomas Vinterberg’s 1998 The Celebration, who will recognize Ulrich Thomsen and Trine Dyrholm (above) from that Dogme 95 classic. They’ll also recognize the hand-held camerawork, jittery short zoom-ins, and serial jump-cut editing (audio of the incoming shot often precedes the jump cut by half a beat). The great British DP Anthony Dod Mantle shot the earlier film, of course, but elements of the Dogme 95 aesthetic hold up remarkably well and now define a recognizably Danish style, of which Bier is a master.
You’ll also remember that the original was coarse-looking, famously shot with tiny MiniDV camcorders. The RED One picks up the baton and carries this sensibility forward, however delivering a much refined appearance to the big screen. I can’t pinpoint this visual touch any better in words; you’ll have to see for yourself.
The runner-up this year for the camera delivering the most impact would be any motion picture camera containing Kodak negative. Branden King’s panoramic and stunning Here, which I praised in Sunday’s blog, is but one example of drop-dead gorgeous 35mm at Sundance. Another is Rebirth, a documentary produced by Project Rebirth, which has been filming the lives of a handful of 9/11 survivors almost since 9/11 itself. This makes it a decade-long longitudinal study along the lines of Michael Apted’s classic 7 Up series. Check out how, unlike video formats that are always evolving, interviews shot on film over this 9-year period remain utterly consistent in look and texture.
Rebirth also claims “the most extensive use of time-lapse photography in history,” employing up to 14 35mm time-lapse cameras, including VistaVision, to capture the rebuilding of World Trade Center 7. A remarkably moving film with countless unforgettable moments, it is equally a technical tour de force: http://projectrebirth.org/film/timelapse.html
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