Oct 26, 2021
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Canadian directors prepare for Sundance film fest

Canadian filmmakers are finalizing details before debuting their latest projects at the Sundance Film Festival, an important venue that puts independent movies into the international spotlight.

“It’s a real honour to be accepted by Sundance.. one of the pre-eminent film festivals in the world,” Montreal filmmaker Yung Chang said of the annual indie movie celebration established by Robert Redford.

“It means your film gets to be an on international stage and a lot of eyes will be watching it,” he told CBC News.

Chang’s China Heavyweight is one of three Canadian docs to screen in competition (World Documentary program) at the festival, which runs Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah.

Another high-profile competitor is Toronto filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal’s Payback, an NFB production based on Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lectures book about debt, its influence on society and its effect on the planet.

Chinese-born Canadian director Chang said he feels “a little more pressure with this sophomore film,” following the success of his feature debut Up the Yangtze in 2008.

Though Up the Yangtze garnered positive reviews after its world premiere in Vancouver in fall 2007, it soared to new heights after screening at Sundance the following January, when it secured distribution deals as well as a host of international fans.

Though Chang said he finds the competitive nature of film festivals difficult, he’s looking forward to China Heavyweight’s world premiere in Sundance. He’ll be there accompanied by the movie’s star — a charismatic boxing coach who scours the Chinese countryside searching for potential star fighters.

“He hasn’t seen the movie yet. I’m saving it for the world premiere so that the audience can see him come up and he can hopefully relish that moment a little bit,” Chang said.

“There’s something amazing about film festivals and that’s this camaraderie, this environment where people who love watching movies come together and share the experience. That’s what I’m looking forward to at Sundance. That’s something very unique and special.”

For Winnipeg-based filmmaking team Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, the Sundance debut of their Indie Game: The Movie will also represent an important milestone: the first time a large audience will see it.

“We’ve only shown it to, like, 20 people. Actually having an audience at Sundance – critics, distributors – is crazy, overwhelming,” said Pajot.

Having their tale about independent video game developers selected out of thousands of submissions has been a strange and surreal experience, Swirsky added.

“It’s something you dream about or you always aspire to — don’t say it out loud. Certainly when you’re planning the movie, you don’t write that down as part of your strategy: ‘Premiere at Sundance.'”

Just making it into the lineup was a learning experience, since the duo were inundated with emails, messages and attention about their film — a shoestring-budget effort that benefited from $130,000 the couple raised online. They’ve spent the last few weeks finishing the movie and preparing promotional materials before heading down to Utah.

“It’s special being from Winnipeg and making this film. Winnipeg is full of small teams, go-getters, people that want to do something on a bigger scale… but on their own terms. That’s what this film is about,” Pajot said.

“Indie games can reach millions of people. Like us, they’re making something they’re passionate about.”

The festival’s screenings for all three Canadian docs have sold out.

Source: CBC News

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Front Page, Industry News

Canadian directors prepare for Sundance film fest

Canadian filmmakers are finalizing details before debuting their latest projects at the Sundance Film Festival, an important venue that puts independent movies into the international spotlight.

“It’s a real honour to be accepted by Sundance.. one of the pre-eminent film festivals in the world,” Montreal filmmaker Yung Chang said of the annual indie movie celebration established by Robert Redford.

“It means your film gets to be an on international stage and a lot of eyes will be watching it,” he told CBC News.

Chang’s China Heavyweight is one of three Canadian docs to screen in competition (World Documentary program) at the festival, which runs Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah.

Another high-profile competitor is Toronto filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal’s Payback, an NFB production based on Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lectures book about debt, its influence on society and its effect on the planet.

Chinese-born Canadian director Chang said he feels “a little more pressure with this sophomore film,” following the success of his feature debut Up the Yangtze in 2008.

Though Up the Yangtze garnered positive reviews after its world premiere in Vancouver in fall 2007, it soared to new heights after screening at Sundance the following January, when it secured distribution deals as well as a host of international fans.

Though Chang said he finds the competitive nature of film festivals difficult, he’s looking forward to China Heavyweight’s world premiere in Sundance. He’ll be there accompanied by the movie’s star — a charismatic boxing coach who scours the Chinese countryside searching for potential star fighters.

“He hasn’t seen the movie yet. I’m saving it for the world premiere so that the audience can see him come up and he can hopefully relish that moment a little bit,” Chang said.

“There’s something amazing about film festivals and that’s this camaraderie, this environment where people who love watching movies come together and share the experience. That’s what I’m looking forward to at Sundance. That’s something very unique and special.”

For Winnipeg-based filmmaking team Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, the Sundance debut of their Indie Game: The Movie will also represent an important milestone: the first time a large audience will see it.

“We’ve only shown it to, like, 20 people. Actually having an audience at Sundance – critics, distributors – is crazy, overwhelming,” said Pajot.

Having their tale about independent video game developers selected out of thousands of submissions has been a strange and surreal experience, Swirsky added.

“It’s something you dream about or you always aspire to — don’t say it out loud. Certainly when you’re planning the movie, you don’t write that down as part of your strategy: ‘Premiere at Sundance.'”

Just making it into the lineup was a learning experience, since the duo were inundated with emails, messages and attention about their film — a shoestring-budget effort that benefited from $130,000 the couple raised online. They’ve spent the last few weeks finishing the movie and preparing promotional materials before heading down to Utah.

“It’s special being from Winnipeg and making this film. Winnipeg is full of small teams, go-getters, people that want to do something on a bigger scale… but on their own terms. That’s what this film is about,” Pajot said.

“Indie games can reach millions of people. Like us, they’re making something they’re passionate about.”

The festival’s screenings for all three Canadian docs have sold out.

Source: CBC News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Canadian directors prepare for Sundance film fest

Canadian filmmakers are finalizing details before debuting their latest projects at the Sundance Film Festival, an important venue that puts independent movies into the international spotlight.

“It’s a real honour to be accepted by Sundance.. one of the pre-eminent film festivals in the world,” Montreal filmmaker Yung Chang said of the annual indie movie celebration established by Robert Redford.

“It means your film gets to be an on international stage and a lot of eyes will be watching it,” he told CBC News.

Chang’s China Heavyweight is one of three Canadian docs to screen in competition (World Documentary program) at the festival, which runs Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah.

Another high-profile competitor is Toronto filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal’s Payback, an NFB production based on Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lectures book about debt, its influence on society and its effect on the planet.

Chinese-born Canadian director Chang said he feels “a little more pressure with this sophomore film,” following the success of his feature debut Up the Yangtze in 2008.

Though Up the Yangtze garnered positive reviews after its world premiere in Vancouver in fall 2007, it soared to new heights after screening at Sundance the following January, when it secured distribution deals as well as a host of international fans.

Though Chang said he finds the competitive nature of film festivals difficult, he’s looking forward to China Heavyweight’s world premiere in Sundance. He’ll be there accompanied by the movie’s star — a charismatic boxing coach who scours the Chinese countryside searching for potential star fighters.

“He hasn’t seen the movie yet. I’m saving it for the world premiere so that the audience can see him come up and he can hopefully relish that moment a little bit,” Chang said.

“There’s something amazing about film festivals and that’s this camaraderie, this environment where people who love watching movies come together and share the experience. That’s what I’m looking forward to at Sundance. That’s something very unique and special.”

For Winnipeg-based filmmaking team Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, the Sundance debut of their Indie Game: The Movie will also represent an important milestone: the first time a large audience will see it.

“We’ve only shown it to, like, 20 people. Actually having an audience at Sundance – critics, distributors – is crazy, overwhelming,” said Pajot.

Having their tale about independent video game developers selected out of thousands of submissions has been a strange and surreal experience, Swirsky added.

“It’s something you dream about or you always aspire to — don’t say it out loud. Certainly when you’re planning the movie, you don’t write that down as part of your strategy: ‘Premiere at Sundance.'”

Just making it into the lineup was a learning experience, since the duo were inundated with emails, messages and attention about their film — a shoestring-budget effort that benefited from $130,000 the couple raised online. They’ve spent the last few weeks finishing the movie and preparing promotional materials before heading down to Utah.

“It’s special being from Winnipeg and making this film. Winnipeg is full of small teams, go-getters, people that want to do something on a bigger scale… but on their own terms. That’s what this film is about,” Pajot said.

“Indie games can reach millions of people. Like us, they’re making something they’re passionate about.”

The festival’s screenings for all three Canadian docs have sold out.

Source: CBC News

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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