April marks the inaugural edition of a British offshoot of one of the world’s best film festivals. Far from a profit-inspired afterthought, the features set to be shown provide truly compelling reasons to get yourself a ticket, even if you don’t live in the capital.
Sundance London – the UK arm of Robert Redford’s famed celebration of independent cinema – also boasts some great musical performances and other events that don’t just involve watching movies in darkened rooms.
The festival takes over the O2 Arena from April 26th-29th, and before it closes audiences will have been treated to numerous celluloid (and digital) delights, not to mention Placebo live in concert, and Tricky? performing the legendary album Maxinquaye with original collaborator Martina Topley-Bird.
Of course the cinematic aspect is the biggest attraction, and passes for the full Sundance spectacle are on sale now, with tickets to individual screenings available from April 1st. 14 films in three days would challenge even the most die hard insomniac movie buff though, so we’ve picked out the cream from this first year’s crop.
Chasing Ice (dir. Jeff Orlowski)
This rightly took home the Excellence in Cinematography in Documentary award at the U.S. Sundance this time round. The filmmaker is also a National Geographic photographer, so needless to say it’s visually jaw dropping, but poignant too as time-lapse images reveal the effect climate change is having on a glacier.
The House I Live In (dir. Eugene Jarecki)
The so-called ‘war on drugs’ is no new subject matter for a documentary, so you’d think people would be growing tired of it by now. But it’s difficult to imagine anyone not finding Jarecki’s Sundance Grand Jury-winning documentary fascinating, even 45 million arrests after the whole debacle first began. Powerful stuff, even if you do know the ins and outs.
Shut Up & Play The Hits (dir. Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace)
Across the world, swathes of music-loving types have been waiting patiently for any news of this. Southern and Lovelace’s film follows James Murphy, ex-frontman of acclaimed group LCD Soundsystem, from the day of the outfit’s final performance through to the morning after, and has been dubbed “the official end to one of the best live bands in the world.”
2 Days In New York (dir. Julie Delpy)
The latest from actress-turned-filmmaker Julie Delpy is a truly smile-inducing family comedy. Julie herself stars as Marion, who has a forthcoming photo exhibition, and a very American husband who doesn’t see eye to eye with her eccentric visiting father and sister Rose, who, to make matters worse, has also brought her boyfriend along.
Liberal Arts (dir. Josh Radnor)
After Martha Marcy May Marlene, the next film to boast Elizabeth ‘the third Olsen’ was always going to get noticed. Radnor’s personal tale concerns Jessie, a bookish graduate who attends the retirement dinner of his favourite old professor, where he meets a certain second year student who re-ignites long forgotten feelings.