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SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2016 WEEKEND PREVIEW STARRING: STING!

Gina Giordan

This weekend, thousands of party goers will attend the last weekend of the 2016 Sundance film festival in Park City. Utah.  Hundreds of insiders will claw their way into the ASCAP music cafe to catch a glimpse of STING performing live in honor of the World Premiere of the HBO Doc Film, "JIM:  THE JAMES FOLEY STORY."  Premiering on HBO February 6, 2016.  JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, the personal, intimate story of American journalist James Foley who was murdered by ISIS in 2014, made by his close childhood friend Brian Oakes. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, American photojournalist James "Jim" Foley was kidnapped in Syria and went missing for two years before the infamous video of his public execution sent shockwaves and introduced much of the world to ISIS. JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY tells the story of his life through intimate interviews with his family, friends and fellow journalists - while fellow hostages reveal never-before-heard details of his captivity with a chilling intimacy that reveals their courageous untold story of perseverance. Made with unparalleled access (including footage Foley shot himself), and using carefully rendered, sensitive recreations, Oakes takes viewers deep into the darkness and valor of Jim's captivity. What emerges is a powerful chronicle of bravery, compassion and pain at the dawn of America's war with ISIS.

Yet, it's the real indie film fanatics that will be standing in line, in the freezing cold to screen these upcoming films...

"THE FREE WORLD"   

Directed & Written by Jason Lew

Starring:  Boyd Holbrook, Elisabeth Moss and Octavia Spencer.  

Mo Lundy (Boyd Holbrook) is an innocent man who went to prison for murders he did not commit.  His time in lock-up changed him, forced him to resort to violence in order to survive, and vilified him as a monster even beyond the prison’s walls.  Now freed, Mo is looking to put the past behind him. He works at a shelter caring for abandoned animals, finds peace in the encouragement from his boss, Linda (Octavia Spencer), and faith in the practice of Islam. But Mo's tenuous stability is again upended when a desperate and blood-soaked woman, Doris (Elisabeth Moss) turns up unexpectedly at his work one night. With the intention of helping her, Mo takes Doris to his apartment. As the truth of Doris’ situation is revealed, Mo realizes that by sheltering her, his newfound freedom is in jeopardy.  Both outsiders, both victims of brutality, the two share a supportive and intimate connection. As that bond deepens and events escalate, Mo and Doris must determine a way towards freedom together or face an unforgiving world alone.

 

"THE EYES OF MY MOTHER"

Written and directed by NICOLAS PESCE

Starring:  Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, Clara Wong, Flora Diaz and Olivia Bond 

Francisca has been unfazed by death from an early age—her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, imbued her with a thorough understanding of the human anatomy. When tragedy shatters her family’s idyllic life in the countryside, her deep trauma gradually awakens some unique curiosities. As she grows up, her desire to connect with the world around her takes a distinctly dark form.  Shot in crisp black and white, the haunting visual compositions of THE EYES OF MY MOTHER evoke its protagonist’s isolation and illuminate her deeply unbalanced worldview. Genre-inflected but so strikingly unique as to defy categorization, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s stunning feature debut allows us only an elliptical presence in Francisca’s world, guiding our imaginations to follow her into peculiar, secret places.

"BRAHMAN NAMAN"

Directed by "Q"

Written by Naman Ramachandran

Starring:  Shashank Arora, Tanmay Dhanania, Sid Mallya, Vaiswath Shankar, Chaitanya Varad, Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy

It’s the 1980s and Naman (Shashank Arora, star of Cannes hit TITLI) is a know-it-all nerd driven by the whims of his raging hormones. Heading up Bangalore University’s team of bespectacled misfits (best friends Ajay and Ramu), the trio of lusty intellectuals spend the majority of their time on the quizzing circuit, using their winnings to buy nudie magazines, whiskey, and beer, fantasizing about the buxom neighborhood beauty all the while. When the boys qualify for the National Quiz Championships, they make a booze-fuelled train trip across the country determined to defeat their rivals in Calcutta and desperate to lose their virginities along the way.  Unfolding to the tune of the iconic anthem, “Whiskey Bar,” as Naman and his friends run amok against the colorful backdrop of the Indian landscape, his quest for sex and glory is complicated when he finds his intellectual superior in a stunning female quizzer. Directed by Indian filmmaker Q. (known for his controversial cult hit GANDU) BRAHMAN NAMAN is a smart, raucous sex comedy that’s raunchy and endearing in equal measure— replete with innovative masturbation methods that put even Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy to shame.

"LOVE SONG" 

Co-Writer and Directed by So Yong Kim

Starring:  Jena Malone (The Hunger Games), Riley Keough (The Girlfriend Experience, Mad Max), Brooklyn Decker (Grace and  Frankie), Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) and Rosanna Arquette.  

Using the poetics of naturalism and minimalism in lieu of explicit dialogue and predictable labels, in LOVESONG, Sundance Film Festival alumna So Yong Kim (IN BETWEEN DAYS, TREELESS MOUNTAIN, FOR ELLEN) strips down the central relationship between two familiar but very distant friends, telling a complete story with sometimes no more than a gaze. Neglected by her husband, Sarah (Riley Keough) embarks on an impromptu road trip with her young daughter and her best friend, Mindy (Jena Malone). Along the way, the dynamic between the two friends intensifies before circumstances force them apart. Years later, Sarah attempts to rebuild their intimate connection in the days before Mindy's wedding to Leif (Ryan Eggold). Quietly cinematic and picturesque, and peppered with unexpected supporting turns from the likes of Rosanna Arquette, Brooklyn Decker and Amy Seimetz, LOVESONG is a bittersweet, beautifully modulated love story about muted desire and the grey areas that define every friendship, romance and marriage. 85m.

 

"KIKI"

Directed by Sara Jordenö    Written by SaraJordenö and Twiggy Pucci Garçon

**2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL - U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION**

**Official Selection - 2016 Berlinale Panorama**

A dynamic coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform that is voguing, KIKI offers riveting and complex insight into the daily lives of a group of LGBTQ youth-of-color who comprise the "Kiki" scene, a vibrant, safe space for performance created and governed by these activists. Following members of the scene as they prepare for and perform at exuberant Kiki balls in New York City, KIKI highlights the infectious joy of these performances, while also foregrounding the scene's urgent social function as an alternative family structure.   In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements.  This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, "Not About Us Without Us," and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara's insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power. 94m.

FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON SUNDANCE Film Fest 2016, Be sure to tune into MOVIES YOU WANNA WATCH every Saturday on WVVH-TV 11am and 11pm.  Don't get Fios?  Then Watch THE WANNA Streaming live 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Saturdays on Apple TV HERE!  

YA KNOW YOU WANNA!