Sun­dance fest still has clout

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - By Don­ald Clarke

You can, if you choose, be cyn­i­cal about fleet­ing vis­its from Paris Hil­ton and shaky def­i­ni­tions of “in­de­pen­dent”. But the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val con­tin­ues to have in­flu­ence. Last year Pre­cious, cur­rently one of the three front run­ners for best-pic­ture Os­car, won the top prize and, back in 2007, John Car­ney’s Once be­gan its global cam­paign by winning the au­di­ence award.

So Ken Wardrop, among Ire­land’s ris­ing cin­e­matic no­vas, is right to cel­e­brate the in­clu­sion of his first fea­ture, His & Hers, in the pro­gramme for Jan­uary’s jam­boree in snowy Utah. Wardrop’s ut­terly orig­i­nal pic­ture, win­ner of the top prize at this year’s Gal­way Film Fleadh, asks a se­ries of women – pre­sented in or­der of age from in­fant to se­nior ci­ti­zen – to de­scribe the men in their lives. It comes to the con­clu­sion that we (men, that is) are all eerily sim­i­lar.

Other high­lights of Sun­dance in­clude Sam Tay­lor Wood’s Nowhere Boy, the artist’s film about the young John Len­non; Runaways, a study of that key pop-punk band, fea­tur­ing Kris­ten Ste­wart as Joan Jett;, and – yet an­other biopic – James Franco play­ing an un­usu­ally pul­chri­tudi­nous Allen Gins­berg in Howl.

The most in­trigu­ing prospect, how­ever, sounds like Michael Win­ter­bot­tom’s adap­ta­tion of James M Cain’s noir clas­sic The Killer In­side Me, filmed in 19776 with Stacy Keach. Will Win­ter­bot­tom draw a per­for­mance worth watch­ing from lead ac­tor Jes­sica Alba? Stranger things have, I guess, occurred.

Let’s talk about men: Gal­way Film Fleadh favourite His & Hers is go­ing to Sun­dance

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