Film News: 2022 Sundance Film Festival in the Home Stretch

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CHICAGO – The 2022 Sundance Film Festival is on Day Nine, and will be announcing their top film honorees on January 28th. The festival is wrapping up as virtual/online, meaning anyone/anywhere with a ticket or a pass (link) can indulge in the film offerings and events throughout the festival, which runs until January 30th.

One of the highlight offerings is free to anyone, with no need for extra tickets or credentials. Beyond Film programming offers something for everyone … with filmmaker chats, meet-ups and a daily talk show with Festival Director Tabitha Jackson. Festivals stars and directors participating include Emma Thompson, Dakota Johnson, Amy Poehler and Eva Longoria Bastón. Click on BEYOND FILM for the archive.

PalmSunFF
Am I Okay?
Photo credit: Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Sundance Institute – an organization founded by actor Robert Redford in 1980 – and dedicated to the growth of independent artists. It usually takes place each January in Park City, Utah, and other locations, and is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It includes competitive categories in documentary and dramatic films, both feature length and short works, as well as out-of-competition categories for showcasing new films.

StarFILMS OF SUNDANCE: Capsule Reviews

“Am I Okay?” – If you are a character portrayed by Dakota Johnson, and you’re trying to figure out your sexual orientation, the answer to the title is a resounding YES! The story, written by Lauren Pomerantz and directed by Stephanie Allynne and comedian Tig Notaro, is really about the power of intimate friendship, as Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) and Lucy (Johnson) are besties who have each others backs. When Jane gets a big promotion to move from Los Angeles to London, Lucy has to deal with both that difficult news and how she’s finally about to come out as gay. This is a throughly modern friendship movie, as Lucy is surrounded by non-judgement and hope for her future, but still has last moments of questioning regarding her truth. The film is light, funny and a testament to the generational tide that will turn completely for all fluidity of orientation and gender roles. It takes a Jane and a Lucy, and the rest of the village.

“Girl Picture” – Finnish cinema is kicking ass, if the two entries at Sundance I’ve seen are any indication. Joining “Hatching” is “Girl Picture,” a coming of age story that is similar to the film above, but it deals with girls in their late teens making transitions into love and sex. Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Ronkko (Eleonoora Kauhanen) are besties who work at the mall smoothie shop. Mimmi is out and proud, and has eyes for a win-at-any-cost figure skater named Emma (Linnea Leino). In the meantime, Ronkko is trying to score a decent sexual experience, but it so far eludes her. Finland is a Nordic country which seems – judging from this film – much more open to creating a honest transition to sex for their teens than America. The best friends talk about the deed as much as horny boys, all in a robust and hopeful way. Love is always a different story, as Emma struggles in her love for figure skating as much as her connection to Mimmi. It’s all about handling emotions and sex that is very normal and healthy, and in the end joyful for the trio. Keep an eye on Finland.

“My Old School” – Filmmaker Jono McLeod went to high school in Scotland in the 1990s, and at his Academy an incident occurred which was the stuff of legend for that part of Glasgow. McLeod reexamines the incident through his old classmates, animated re-creations and the talent of Alan Cumming, lip syncing to the interview with the main subject of the quasi-documentary, Brandon Lee (as he was known as in 1993). The revelation is pretty amazing, and McLeod’s methods of telling the story are also notable … even recruiting Lulu, the singer of “To Sir with Love,” to do a voice over and rendering of the title song (a Steely Dan cover). Cumming had signed on to a movie version of the incident many years before, but that never got made … yet he still came back to “play” Brandon, in a clever turn of reference. A nice twist on an odd story.

From the Sundance video archives, meet filmmaker Jono McLeod of “My Old School” …

Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will be providing coverage of the Sundance Film Festival 2022 throughout the duration of the festival.

The virtual 2022 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 20th through January 30th. For tickets, schedule and all information click on Festival.Sundance.org

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Editor, Film Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2022 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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