YOMYOMF at Sundance: Film Wrap-Up Report Part 3

OK, folks, here’s my final wrap-up report on the films I saw at Sundance this year. Like I said in previous posts, this was definitely one of the better editions I’ve attended. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of my Festival wrap-up, as well as my previous post about Asian American representation in Park City this year.

For Part 3, I am highlighting what Sundance does best — presenting amazing documentaries and 2013 was no different. The 4 docs I am highlighting are truly the best, chronicling life in all its intricacies, with unique perspectives to create agents of change and awareness in today’s world. I know, sounds cheesy, but this is so true. And Sundance is the pinnacle of the social justice documentary.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: Film Wrap-Up Part 2

Well, the award winners were announced yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony and all were worthy choices. Great to see FRUITVALE and BLOOD BROTHER win both grand jury and audience awards respectively. Like I said before, this was one of the most solid lineups at Sundance in years. Part 1 of my film wrap-up can be read here.

Moving forward, here’s another round-up of films that I saw at the Festival:

STOKER – This was probably my most highly anticipated film at Sundance. The first American film from Korean master filmmaker Park Chan-wook, he of such classics like JSA, OLDBOY, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE,  and THIRST (just to name a few), I wanted to see his patented gothic and macabre look and feel in an American setting.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: Film Wrap-Up Part 1

It’s my final night here at the Sundance Film Festival and I have to say, the second half of the festival really redeemed my stay here. I saw some amazing films that really impressed and moved me. The first few days were a bit rough, where I saw some highly anticipated films that ultimately were big letdowns. If “doing business” is any indication, 2013 was a record year for film sales, with several titles getting seven-figure payouts. EW has a great running list of what films have been bought and for how much.

All in all, I would have seen 23 films this year. Some good, some bad, some excellent. Therefore, here is my first film wrap-up with more to follow this coming weekend, and I will also comment on the award winners, which will be announced this Saturday night as well.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: YOMYOMF, LINSANITY, API Filmmakers & New A3 Sundance Labs Partnership

It’s the midway point of Sundance 2013 and it’s been a very busy few days. Aside from covering the Festival, which includes watching as many films as I can (my next reports will be capsule reviews and highlights), I wanted to frame this report as a current state of Asian American representation at Sundance.

We kick off with Offender Justin (and head honcho of YOMYOMF) participating in a panel this past Saturday called THE POWER OF STORY. He was in distinguished company including Jane Campion (THE PIANO and her new miniseries TOP OF THE LAKE), Richard Linklater (SLACKER, DAZED AND CONFUSED, BERNIE and in town for BEFORE MIDNIGHT, third chapter to BEFORE SUNRISE & BEFORE SUNSET) and Mike White (CHUCK & BUCK, FREAKS AND GEEKS and currently producing and acting in HBO’s ENLIGHTENED).

YOMYOMF at Sundance 2013

I just arrived in Park City today for another round of premiere screenings, panels, and parties at the just started Sundance Film Festival. This is my first year actually covering the festival as press for YOMYOMF, so expect a series of reports in the coming week. Last year, YOMYOMF had a bigger presence because of Offender Justin being on the main jury. You can read our 2012 Sundance coverage here.

Justin has been busy, you know, directing a little film called FAST SIX, so his whole Sundance trip was scrapped this year. However, as an alumnus, he was invited back to participate in a panel discussion called POWER OF STORY, where he will be talking about the film craft with other directors like Mike White, Jane Campion and Richard Linklater. We’ll cover that panel in a future report soon.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: The Best Of Edition

Justin Lin at Sundance 2012 Awards Ceremony / credit: David Magdael

I’m back in LA, enjoying the summer like weather… This year’s Sundance was a mixed bag for me, with the documentaries being the strongest component of the programming and questionable quality when it came to the batch of narrative features. But, that’s a trend that has been going on for awhile now, especially in the indie film world. Maybe it’s the fact that we live in an instantaneous world of 24-hour news cycles and Youtube video uploads capturing immediate reports and movements, ranging from the Arab Spring to “Shit My Blank” memes, life tends to be stranger than fiction. But, it was great to hang out with some Offender cronies, in a phat house, and in the end, my viewing experience in the second half of the Festival was much better. I already mentioned THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (which won the Grand Prize for US Dramatic Competition, which Offender Justin was on the jury for),  in a previous Sundance report, so here’s my top picks from this year (in no particular order):

YOMYOMF at Sundance: Once More with Feeling

So in a few hours, the last Offenders standing at Sundance (Justin, Elaine and myself) will be heading back to L.A. where I hear we’ve been experiencing beach weather. It’s going to be quite a change from this:

After Thursday’s snow adventure, the sun’s been shining in Park City making the weather picture perfect in my book: snow on the ground, sun in the sky. It’s certainly the perfect weather to sit inside a toasty theater with a thousand other film fans to watch movies, which for me included everything from Up the Yangtze director Yung Chang’s moving new documentary China Heavyweight–about boxing dreams in a small Chinese province–to Smashed—a dramedy about an L.A. woman struggling with alcoholism starring my new Sundance crush–the very talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: Snow Day, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Foodie Heaven

Yesterday was a fun-filled day here at Sundance. The big event was our friend/colleague Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Hit Record at the Movies. I attended with my fellow Offenders Justin, Anderson, Elaine and indie film guru John Sloss. Anderson already posted the live video stream of the event (click here). Justin took part when Joseph invited him to help shoot a scene from Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer featuring Joseph and “indie queen” Parker Posey (who still is hot, BTW) live on stage for an upcoming short video. Will be curious to see how that comes together and, of course, we’ll post the finished video on YOMYOMF when it’s done.

That’s Justin with his back to us.

Joseph really made sure there was plenty of audience interaction by doing everything from bringing up people who wanted to sing for a future project and answering interesting tweets (Best line of the night from Joseph during one of the conversations with an audience tweeter: “A hipster is someone who dresses up like an artist, but who doesn’t make shit.”).

YOMYOMF at Sundance: hitRECord

YOMYOMF attended Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s multimedia live event hitRECord tonight at the Sundance Film Festival. Offender Justin was also part of the event, which was hosted by Gordon-Levitt and some help from the “queen of indies,” Parker Posey. Not knowing what hitRECORD was, I was introduced to a very cool project — an open collaborative production company, where people can submit video, writings, songs, drawings, and have them culled together into short films.

Tonight’s hitRECord event at Sundance was held at the Eccles Theatre, and there were literally 1,200 screaming fans. It was full of energy and Levitt was an affable host that would at times, make girls swoon. There was lots of audience participation as well, and using social media and recording was encouraged.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: Top 10 White People Problems

Ordering a “quadruple stacker” at Burger King and washing it down with screwdrivers at 1 in the morning will make you do silly things. As we congregate around the kitchen, eating unhealthy food and getting drunk after an exhausting day of film viewing at Sundance, we realize that there is a unifying theme with said films… These plots deal with problems and situations that only seem to happen to white people. Therefore, here’s our Top 10:

1. Dealing with awkwardness of your husband’s pants tent because of your hot houseguest.

2. Worrying if your dad is going to keep his high-paying job or retire.

YOMYOMF at Sundance: The First Time

In a few hours, I’ll be boarding a very early flight to Salt Lake City to join some of my fellow Offenders including Justin, Elaine and Anderson for the second half of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Unlike the others, this is my first time at the fest. I try to avoid anything that reeks of Hollywood glitziness (which is why I also wasn’t there for the first half of the fest when most of the Paris Hilton types are in attendance), but with a YOMYOMF cabin this year and Anderson’s promise of coke and whores, I couldn’t resist.

And yes, everyone looks exactly the same 10 years later. Vampires or Asians?

And speaking of Sundance and first times, I should point out that Justin’s Better Luck Tomorrow premiered at Sundance exactly ten years ago this year. That was also the first trip to the fest for most of the Offenders—like Sung and Roger–who worked on the film (though not the last, many of the same crew would be back for Finishing the Game).

YOMYOMF at Sundance: We’re too old for this shit

That’s our pal Parvesh Cheena at the Youtube Party last night, representing YOMYOMF. As for me, Elaine and Justin, we had late screenings, there was a major snowstorm, and our collective creaky bones couldn’t muster the strength to go all out partying. As for me, I needed to head back to the massive house that Justin rented for the family and get my sore and cold feet on some heated, hardwood floors. So, after a quick Burger King run, we made it home and just talked shop for hours.