Utah Arts Festival 2019: 17th annual Fear No Film brings new programming elements, record-setting slate of 88 short films

EDITOR’S NOTE: To read more about this year’s Fear No Film slate, see here, and the Utah Short Film of the Year competition, see here. There are many new enhancements in programming for the 17th annual Fear No Film program at the Utah Arts Festival. Following the outstanding curatorial leadership of Topher Horman, Derek Mellus, … Read more

Sundance 2019: Knock Down The House documentary a true audience pleaser about new American political possibilities

Just days before the Democratic primary for the U.S. Congressional 14th District seat in New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign had just enough money to commission a poll to gauge the first-time candidate’s standing in the electorate. It showed her 35 points behind Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who also was one of the most powerful … Read more

Sundance 2019: The superpowers of music and silence, as explored in exquisite documentary Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

In the documentary film Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements which premiered at this year’s Sundance, viewers see Jonas, in his early teens, experiencing something familiar to every musician –amateur or professional, student or virtuoso. At times, Jonas become frustrated at the mistakes and imperfections in his playing, whether he is practicing alone or during … Read more

Sundance 2019: Always in Season an exceptional documentary on communities of memory, history of lynchings

One of the most controversial elements in the annual reenactment of the Moore’s Ford Bridge quadruple lynching that occurred in 1946 in Georgia is a tiny doll. One of the women in the reenactment carries it under her clothing. In Monroe, Georgia, many local black residents believe that one of the victims was seven months … Read more

Sundance 2019: The Great Hack important starting point on complex issues of user data, breach of trust and privacy

Prior to the opening of this year’s Sundance, producer Geralyn Dreyfous said the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data breach is part of two of the biggest stories of the year. After watching The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, which made its Sundance premiere, Dreyfous’ assertion rings with conviction. The 139-minute documentary, which will … Read more

Sundance 2019: Where’s My Roy Cohn? a supremely well-timed documentary with urgent political relevance

On Jan. 29, Roger Stone, who served as President Trump’s political consultant to use his skills in opposition research, emerged from a Washington, D.C. court, giving the crowd a Nixon victory salute while others chanted “lock him up.” Stone was pleading not guilty to seven criminal charges as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. … Read more

Sundance 2019: Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is rousing tribute to one of best American political columnists ever

In the trade publication Editor and Publisher, when nationally syndicated columnist Molly Ivins died in 2007 after a triple bout with cancer and its complications, Greg Mitchell recalled in a piece headlined Molly Ivins: The Plucking Truth a classic moment that eventually would lead the stuffed shirts at The New York Times to send her … Read more

Sundance 2019: Abe is marvelous piece of entertaining cosmopolitanism, instructive for kids as well as adults

For Abe, 12 (played by Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things) and living in Brooklyn, navigating the various roots of his family’s identities that clash far more often than they interact would exhaust the capabilities of many adults. His mother is Israeli-Jewish and father is Palestinian-Muslim. However, both parents, who also are lawyers, have raised him … Read more

Sundance 2019: The Witch Hunters from Serbia shines in intelligent, imaginative honesty

The Witch Hunters is a debut project in many ways. For Serbian director Rasko Miljkovic, it is his first feature-length narrative film and his first appearance at a U.S. film festival happens to be at Sundance 2019, as part of the festival’s Kids slate. It is a feature-length debut project for many other principal figures, … Read more

Sundance 2019: The Elephant Queen achieves gold standard in wildlife documentary genre

In the cinematic and literary genres, especially in the last decade, an impressive canon of creative nonfiction works has expanded that engages and motivates its audience to advocate for the cause of nature conservation and preservation more effectively than platforms that craft themes and messages primarily on data, empiricism and scientific findings. A substantial, well-informed … Read more