It’s really about time that the Sundance Film Festival honored perennial indie it-girl Parker Posey with some kind of, well, some kind of something! Wait, what? Posey has appeared in over a dozen Sundance films? Including one this year? Sorry, but for the star of Party Girl (a film I will defend until the day I die, falafels and rain-soaked books forever, amen), we really need to do something much, much bigger. An awards-hosting gig? Yes, yes, that will do just fine.
Terrible and bizarre reporting gimmick aside, the Sundance Institute has today announced that Posey will serve as of host of this year’s Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony. The ceremony will take place on its traditional day – the last Saturday of the festival (this year, that’s January 28) at 7PM and will be available via live-stream to those not able to attend the festival. As ever, the Awards will be followed by the Closing Night Party, which is basically a good excuse for everyone still in attendance at the festival to get roaringly drunk and talk to each other (it’s also a bad excuse for everyone to get roaringly drunk and talk to each other).
In addition to the announcement that Parker will host, the full list of the festival’s six juries has also been revealed. Names that will not surprise you – Fenton Bailey, Shari Berman, Cliff Martinez, Anthony Mackie, Cliff Martinez, Lynn Shelton, Mike Judge, and Dee Rees. Names that might surprise you – Justin Lin (director of Fast & Furious and Fast Five, and oh, pipe down, I know he directed Sundance film Better Luck Tomorrow, just go with me here). After the break, check out the full listing of all of this year’s jurors, along with biographies that should give you a taste for just why they were picked for the gig.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY JURY
Fenton Bailey made his Sundance Film Festival debut in 1998 with the documentary Party Monster. He later co-wrote and co-directed a narrative version of Party Monster, which debuted at Sundance in 2003. Fenton has gone on to produce and/or direct seven films launched at the festival, including Inside Deep Throat and, most recently, the Emmy®-nominated documentary Becoming Chaz. In 2010 he produced the Emmy®-winning documentary The Last Beekeeper, and in 2011 he produced and directed the Emmy®-nominated Wishful Drinking.
Shari Springer Berman is an Oscar- and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker. With partner Robert Pulcini, she wrote and directed American Splendor (Grand Jury Prize, 2003 Sundance Film Festival; FIPRESCI Award, Cannes Film Festival; Best Adapted Screenplay, Writers Guild Awards and Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination, Academy Awards®). Cinema Verite, Berman and Pulcini’s most recent film, received nine Emmy® nominations including Best Movie, Outstanding Directing and a win for Best Editing. Their first film, Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen’s, won Best Documentary Feature at the 1997 Hamptons International Film Festival.
Heather Croall is the Director for Sheffield Doc/Fest, the premiere documentary event in the UK and regarded as one of the best documentary events in the world. Heather was previously the director of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), where she developed the innovative matchmaking pitching initiative MeetMarket.
Charles Ferguson directed and produced Inside Job, which won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature in 2011. His first documentary, No End In Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize. The film went on to be nominated for the Oscar in 2008. Charles is the author of four books, including High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars and Computer Wars: The Post-IBM World (co-authored with Charles Morris). He is currently working on a book about the global financial crisis, to be released by Random House in Spring 2012. Charles is the founder and president of Representational Pictures, Inc.
Kim Roberts is an editor of feature documentaries. Her recent work includes Waiting for Superman, Food, Inc., Autism the Musical, and the upcoming Last Call at the Oasis. Kim won an Emmy® for Autism the Musical, her third nomination. She has received two Eddie Award nominations from the American Cinema Editors, and a WGA nomination. Her other films include: Oscar Nominees and Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winners Daughter from Danang and Long Night’s Journey into Day, Two Days in October, The Fall of Fujimori, Lost Boys of Sudan, Daddy & Papa, A Hard Straight and Splinters.
U.S. DRAMATIC JURY
Justin Lin’s solo directorial debut, the critically acclaimed Better Luck Tomorrow, premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and garnered a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize. In April 2003, the film went on to make box office history as the highest-grossing (per-screen average) opening weekend film for MTV Films/Paramount Pictures. In 2009, he directed Universal’s Fast & Furious, which reunited the original cast of the franchise and sparked new life for series. Justin then directed the critically-acclaimed fifth installment of the franchise, Fast Five, which has become one of Universal’s most financially successful movies of all time.
Anthony Mackie is a classically trained actor who studied at the Julliard School of Drama. His work spans the stage and screen. He was discovered after receiving rave reviews while playing Tupac Shakur in the off-Broadway Up Against the Wind. He earned IFP Spirit and Gotham Award nominations for his performance in Rodney Evan’s Brother to Brother, which won the Special Dramatic Jury Price at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, as well as best feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. He also played Sgt. JT Sanborn in Kathryn’s Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, a film that not only earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination, but also earned Academy Awards® for the Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Writing.
Cliff Martinez began as a drummer for several bands during the punk era including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dickies. He later scored Steven Soderbergh’s first theatrical release, 1989’s sex, lies, and videotape, leading to a longstanding relationship which includes Kafka, The Limey, Traffic, Solaris and Contagion. His credits also include Narc, The Lincoln Lawyer and Nicolas Refn’s Drive.
Lynn Shelton was a stage actor until attending graduate school in photography at the School of Visual Arts, at which point she became an editor and experimental filmmaker. Her first narrative feature as a writer/director, We Go Way Back, won the Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance in 2006. Her second, My Effortless Beauty, premiered at SXSW and earned her the Acura Someone to Watch Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. Humpday, her third feature, was awarded a Special Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as well as the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. Your Sister’s Sister premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and is playing in the out-of-competition Spotlight section at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Amy Vincent is an award-winning cinematographer. She has worked with Kasi Lemmons on Eve’s Bayou, Dr. Hugo, Caveman’s Valentine and with Craig Brewer on Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan, and the recently released Footloose. In addition, Amy’s work has garnered prestigious awards, including the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Cinematography Award for Hustle & Flow and the 2001 Women in Film Kodak Vision Award.
WORLD DOCUMENTARY JURY
Nick Fraser has served as the Editor of Storyville since it started in 1997. After graduating from Oxford he worked as a reporter, television producer and editor. His publications include a biography of Eva Peron, The Voice of Modern Hatred, and The Importance of Being Eton. Storyville films have won more than 200 awards, including four Oscars, a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and several Griersons, Emmys® and Peabodys.
Clara Kim is Senior Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center. She was formerly Gallery Director & Curator at REDCAT in Los Angeles where she organized residencies, commissions, exhibitions and publications with international contemporary artists. She was co-curator of the international biennial Media City Seoul 2010 and organized a global forum on independent spaces called State of Independence in 2011. She has sat on juries for Creative Capital Foundation, Artadia Artist Fellowship, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Award; is on the advisory board of East of Borneo; and is the recipient of fellowships from the Warhol Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council.
Jean-Marie Teno has been producing and directing films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for over 25 years. His films are noted for their personal and original approach to issues of race, cultural identity, African history and contemporary politics. Teno’s films have been honored at festivals worldwide: Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Yamagata, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Liepzig, San Francisco, and London. Teno has been a guest of the Flaherty Seminar, an artist in residence at the Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, and has lectured at numerous universities. He was a Visiting professor at Hampshire College in 2009.
WORLD DRAMATIC JURY
British actress Julia Ormond received the London Drama Critics’ Award for Best Newcomer in Christopher Hampton’s Faith, Hope and Charity. She starred in the epic Legends of the Fall, played the lead role with Harrison Ford in the film Sabrina, and starred in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In 2010 she won a supporting actress Emmy® Award for her role in the HBO Movie Temple Grandin. She is the Founder and President of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET), which works with corporations, NGOs, government officials, and individuals to create the systemic change needed to eradicate slavery at source. Julia is a former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador against Trafficking and Slavery, and the founding co-chair of Film Aid International. She can currently be seen in the Weinstein Company’s My Week with Marilyn in which she plays actress Vivien Leigh.
Richard Peña has been the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival since 1988. At the Film Society, Peña has organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Swedish, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema. He is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema, and from 2006-2009 was a Visiting Professor in Spanish at Princeton University. He is also currently the co-host of WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.
Alexei Popogrebsky was born in 1972 in Moscow into a family of a screenwriter. He wrote and directed the award-winning films Roads to Koktebel (2003) (with Boris Khlebnikov), Simple Things (2007), and How I Ended This Summer (2010), set and shot on a polar station in the Russian Arctic and based entirely around two characters. The film won two Silver Bears in Berlin, Gold Hugo in Chicago and Best Film at BFI London Film Festival. Alexei is currently developing his first English-language project, a 3D fantasy drama.
ALFRED P. SLOAN JURY
Scott Burns recently wrote the screenplay for the Warner Bros. film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The film, starring Bradley Cooper and currently in development, is set to begin production in early 2012 and marks Burns’ fourth collaboration with Steven Soderbergh, who will direct. He also wrote Contagion and co-wrote the Academy Award®–winning Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass. As a producer, he received the Humanitas Prize and the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America for his Academy Award®–winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He wrote and directed HBO Films’ critically acclaimed PU-239, which was produced by Soderbergh and George Clooney. Scott also wrote The Library, a stage play based on the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School with Kennedy/Marshall producing. He began his career in advertising and was part of the creative team responsible for the original “Got Milk?” campaign.
Tracy Day co-founded the World Science Festival in 2008 with world-renowned physicist and best-selling author Brian Greene. She serves as CEO and oversees the creative and programmatic offerings of the World Science Festival. She is a four-time National News Emmy® award-winning journalist and has produced live and documentary programming for the nation’s preeminent television news divisions for over two decades. At ABC News she was producer for This Week with David Brinkley, editorial and field producer for Nightline and story editor for the news magazine, Day One. Tracy has produced documentaries, specials and live town meeting broadcasts for PBS, The Discovery Channel, CNN, Lifetime and CNBC. In addition to Emmy® Awards, she won a Hugo Award, a 2004 Clarion Award and the CINE Golden Eagle for investigative journalism. She has been an adjunct professor in the Leadership and the Arts program at the Sanford Institute for Public Policy.
Helen Fisher, PhD, is a biological Anthropologist at Rutgers University. She studies the evolution, brain systems (fMRI) and cross-cultural patterns of romantic love, mate choice, marriage, adultery, divorce, gender differences in the brain, personality, temperament, and business personalities. She has written five internationally best selling books, including WHY HIM? WHY HER?; WHY WE LOVE; and ANATOMY OF LOVE. She lectures worldwide. Among her speeches are those at the World Economic Forum at Davos, TED, United Nations, Smithsonian, Salk Institute, Harvard Medical School and Aspen Institute. She publishes widely in academic and lay journals. For her work in the media, Helen received the American Anthropological Association’s Distinguished Service Award.
SHORT FILM JURY
Mike Judge is the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head for MTV and King of the Hill for FOX TV. He expanded into writing and directing his own live-action films, Office Space, Idiocracy and Extract. He’s done voices for South Park and acted in Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids movies. Mike recently resurrected Beavis and Butt-Head with 12 new shows for MTV.
Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University’s graduate film program and a Sundance Institute Directing Lab Fellow. She’s written and directed several short films including the award-winning Pariah, which screened at over 40 festivals worldwide. Her feature documentary, Eventual Salvation, premiered on the Sundance Channel in 2009, and her debut narrative feature, Pariah, opened the U.S. Dramatic competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Dee received a Renew Media Arts Fellowship for her work, and recently completed an endowed residency at Yaddo. Currently, Dee is writing an original screenplay for Focus Features and is also in development on a new television series with HBO. Dee interned on Spike Lee’s films When The Levees Broke and Inside Man.
Shane Smith has been a programmer, jury member and speaker at film festivals all over the world. He is currently the Director of Public Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox. He previously served as the Executive Producer, In-flight Entertainment at Spafax Canada Inc., where he oversaw all in-flight programming for Air Canada. He also was the Director of Programming for the digital TV channels Movieola: The Short Film Channel and Silver Screen Classics. He was a Short Film Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival from 2006-2010 and for six years was the Director of the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. He is a former Programmer for the Inside Out Festival, a member of the Organizing Committee of the International Short Film Conference and was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Aboriginal Media, presenters of the imagineNATIVE Film Festival.
This year’s Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 to January 29. Warm up your little hands with some of our lead-up coverage to the festival, and brace yourself for plenty more very, very soon.