Sundance 2020: Giving Voice marvelous documentary about theater’s power for youth through August Wilson’s plays

One of the major stories from Sundance this year has been the spotlight on youth activism, creative expression and passion for enlightenment. Giving Voice, a documentary directed by James D. Stern and Fernando Villena, is a marvelous new entry in the canon highlighting those stories. A particularly memorable passage is the beautiful string of excerpts … Read more

Sundance 2020: The Glorias unique creative nonfiction take on the life’s work of Gloria Steinem

Director Julie Taymor had hoped to close The Glorias, an admirable creative nonfiction treatment of Gloria Steinem’s historic life that premiered at Sundance, on a different note. Anticipating that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election, Taymor, who also directed the exceptional biopic about artist Frida Kahlo, wanted to close her latest film on … Read more

Sundance 2020: The Truffle Hunters sumptuous, entertaining, artful celebration of rare Italian culinary treat

There is a scene in the sumptuous documentary The Truffle Hunters, directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, that epitomizes the true terroir of Italy’s greatest culinary experiences. Paolo, a septuagenarian who is a respected authenticating authority for judging the quality of white Alba truffles, is seated at the table, with a glass of red … Read more

Sundance 2020: Nine Days, filmed in Utah, stupendous realization of humanity’s cosmic, spiritual aspirations

After a Salt Lake City screening of Edson Oda’s Nine Days, a friend mentioned that this was the film he had been waiting for years to see that represents what he perceives as having a true Sundance experience. This is not an exaggerated assessment. With a story demonstrating how the metaphysical cosmic dimensions of science … Read more

Sundance 2020: Spaceship Earth documentary light hearted, richly informed look at Biosphere 2 experiment

At one point, Biosphere 2, built in the middle of the Arizona desert between 1987 and 1991, was destined to be the most significant scientific venture by the U.S. since the 1960s as NASA prepared to have astronauts walk on the moon, according to a May 1987 article in Discovery magazine. Biosphere 1 is the … Read more

Sundance 2020: Beautifully told story of Minari arrives at the right time in its premiere

Not long after she arrives at the tiny Arkansas farm to stay with her family, Soonja the grandmother finds the perfect spot along a creek to plant the minari seeds she brought from South Korea. A popular bitter herb – sometimes called water celery – that is used in all sorts of South Korean dishes … Read more

Sundance 2020: Assassins superb geopolitical thriller on Kim Jong-nam assassination, vindication of two Southeast Asian women

When filmmaker Ryan White went to Kuala Lumpur to follow the trial of the two women charged with the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he believed that he would never be able to talk to Đoàn Thị Huong from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah from Indonesia. “It seemed … Read more

Sundance 2020: Aggie documentary a daughter’s loving tribute to philanthropist offering intersectional opportunities in art, criminal justice reform

When Agnes ‘Aggie’ Gund sold the beloved Masterpiece pop-art painting (1962) created by Roy Lichtenstein that had been displayed for more than 40 years in her living room, she was sad for a moment. Sold for an astounding $165 million price to a hedge fund executive, she sensed that this painting which had given so … Read more

Sundance 2020: The adventures of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made are delightful; offer substantial meaning for family audiences

It is notable that a director who won the Oscar for Spotlight’s (2015) original screenplay and a veteran cartoonist with a widely syndicated comic strip have made a seamless transition to making a film that should resonate with the target audience of the Sundance Kids program. The Disney+ premiere of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, … Read more

Sundance 2020: Kim Snyder’s Us Kids documentary brilliantly captures vibrant voices of youth activism

After the 2018 midterm elections and on the first anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s research found that “among all youth, 43% percent of 18 to 24-year-olds said that the Parkland shooting … Read more