SideKickBack Radio

Tag Archive: sundance

Episode 42: Persistence Pays Off with Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis

About a year and a half ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the world premiere of Last Days in the Desert at the Sundance Film Festival 2015.  Written and Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, this stoically beautiful, captivating film features an incredible performance by Ewan McGregor in two roles (Jesus and the Devil), mesmerizing natural light cinematography from Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki (winner of the last three Academy Awards), and this week I got to chat with the two amazing ladies who helped bring it all together.  Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis of Mockingbird Pictures have been making movies long enough to know how to make a damn good one, and with some incredibly exciting projects in the works this is one juicy episode that I hope will inspire you to check out/stay tuned to their work…you will not be disappointed.  We talk about the effect that digital media had on their business model, what their favorite part of moviemaking is and which one of them is “Spendy Wendy?”

Last Days in the Desert is in select theaters now! Head to www.lastdaysinthedesert.com for more info.

Also coming soon from Mockingbird Pictures…

Wakefield – in post-production, starring Bryan Cranston as a man whose nervous breakdown causes him to leave his wife (Jennifer Garner) and live in his attic for several months. Written and Directed by Robin Swicord.

The Sweet Life – premiering at the LA Film Festival, this romantic dramedy road trip film stars Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer as two depressives who first meet by chance in Chicago and form a pact to travel across the country to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge together. Written by Jared Rappaport and directed by Rob Spera. Also might feature a cameo from yours truly 🙂

To the Bone – in post-production, Lily Collins stars as a young woman dealing with anorexia who meets an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) that challenges her to face her condition and embrace life. Written and Directed by Marti Noxon.

Julie and Bonnie are also producing Life alongside David Ellis of Skydance Pictures. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson, Life tells the story of a crew on the International Space Station discovering life on Mars.

Episode 35: Let Us Stumble with Chris Aquilino

My latest chat features Chris Aquilino who has appeared on Jane the VirginBones, House of Lies, and will be seen on Amazon’s Bosch and in the upcoming Mockingbird Pictures independent feature film The Sweet Life (starring Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer). We chat about what success looks like, being swept up in the do-it-yourself generation, and what food truck offerings appear on a TV set after success at the Emmys.

Check out Chris’ website here!

Episode 31: The Power of Belief and the Desire to Belong with Justin Kelly

This week’s episode features Justin Kelly, the writer and director of I Am Michael (starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto). We chat about the years of work it takes to climb the film-world ladder, Michael Glatze’s reaction to a film about his life, and the oddities of airplane gasoline.

Justin’s upcoming projects include King Cobra (also starring James Franco, Christian Slater, and Molly Ringwald), Welcome the Stranger (starring Riley Keough and Abbey Lee) and JT Leroy (starring Kristen Stewart).

Stay up-to-date on all of Justin’s projects by following his IMDb page here!

Episode 25: Looking for Instinct with Kyle Patrick Alvarez

This week I sit down with the brilliant, award-winning director Kyle Patrick Alvarez,  whose films include C.O.G., Easier with Practice and most recently The Stanford Prison Experiment (starring Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano and Tye Sheridan) which opens July 17th. We chat about the realities of directing an independent film in today’s market, Jewish/Cuban relations, and how he accomplished the seemingly unaccomplishable, securing film-rights to a David Sedaris story.

Check out the trailer here!

Episode 14: The Importance of Being Picky with Aaron I. Butler

My guest this week is Emmy-nominated editor Aaron I. Butler who is responsible for such works as American Winter and I Am Michael (starring James Franco). We talk about his experience at Sundance, his advice for actors and “the orphan board.”

Check out an interview with James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and director Jusin Kelly here!

SideKickBack Radio’s Sundance 2015 Review!

Last Days in the Desert: Ewan McGregor masterfully plays a humanized version of Jesus (and a demon alter-ego) in an imagined chapter of his life in which he encounters a family that has fallen on hard times. It is an incredibly beautiful film, shot by Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, the genius cinematographer behind Birdman. The scene-work in writer/director Rodrigo Garcia’s true work of art is a joy to watch, one fireside scene in particular, where McGregor tries to outwit his own self.

Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant who comes to America in the 1950’s. The acting is stellar in this truly touching and delightful tale directed by John Crowley. It has some of the funniest of laughs, some of the sweetest of moments, with heartbreak and suspense throughout. Bring tissues.

Slow West: A throwback Western tale of a boy in search of his lost love with a little help from Michael Fassbender.  While it was not one of my favorites, there are some uniquely hilarious, stylized bits in this one and it most certainly does not lack in freshness. It did win the Grand Jury Prize of the World Cinema category after all, so it is definitely worth a gander.

Don Verdean: Sam Rockwell is a Biblical Archeologist in search of the next big discovery for the Christian people. This Jared Hess film is a charming and funny commentary on religion as we see it today.  Also, Jemaine Clement’s portrayal of an Israeli artifact smuggler is a must-see…the best I can do is to call him an Israeli Borat.

The D Train: An eternally dorky Jack Black tries to wrangle former high school royalty turned “Hollywood” actor James Marsden into attending their high school reunion.  Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel have written and directed one of the most unique and fun comedies of the last decade. With a fantastic cast and great writing, it really all comes together perfectly in this “late-bloomer coming of age tale.”

Results: Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders play personal trainers who try to handle a difficult yet endearing new, recently divorced client, an oddly brilliant Kevin Corrigan.  I’ve never seen a love story quite told like this and writer/director Andrew Bujalski wonderfully applies his avant guarde roots to the romance genre and what we get are characters so uniquely flawed and complex that I wanted to watch them all day.

The Stanford Prison Experiment: A dramatic portrayal of the famous experiment carried out by Dr. Philip Zimbardo. This was my favorite of the festival. It was extraordinarily fascinating as this intensely psychological event provided such rich terrain for all of the fantastic young actors to explore and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez puts together an incredibly deep experience.  Michael Angarano was a standout as the infamous “John Wayne Guard.”

I Smile Back: Sarah Silverman plays a housewife struggling to maintain normalcy as she battles her own demons with drugs, alcohol and adultery.  It is provocative in all the right ways. This was one of the more anticipated performances of the festival and while I may not be the biggest Sarah Silverman fan, she does a wonderful job in director Adam Salky’s sophomore Sundance film.

Stockholm, Pennsylvania: Saoirse Ronan returns home to her birth parents after being held captive by a child kidnapper for most of her young life. The family attempts to readjust to a normal life as Stockholm Syndrome lurks around every corner. It is a true work of fiction as writer/director Nikole Beckwith did not draw from a single real-life case and for this reason the story is exceptionally captivating with quite an unexpected turn.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Thomas Mann is a high school senior who strives for social neutrality in the hopes of surviving high school.  His mother, Connie Britton, forces him to spend time with a family friend who was diagnosed with Leukemia.  It is a remarkably well-made, unique movie by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, as clearly evidenced by its taking of both the Audience and Grand Jury Prizes.  It is a fresh new look at coping with high school angst, fitting well into its deserved place in the Pantheon of high school films.  Bring tissues.

By: Andrew Fromer

Episode 9: The Sundance Episode

We’re back!!! Sam Tilson, Bianca Mihailov, Max Cutler and I had an amazing trip to the heart of independent cinema. Join us for a steak dinner with new friend Christina Leung as we recap our festival experience.

Get all the latest Sundance Institute news here!