Third Eye: BTR at the Sundance Film Festival - Part 3


Julie Delphy, Chris Rock, and the cast of 2 Days in New York dicuss making their film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Photo by Courtney Garcia.

This week, Hollywood turns its focus to the humble, snow littered streets of Park City, Utah where the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is well underway. BTR’s Courtney Garcia is in attendance, not only to cover the event for our Music & Movies Theme Week (starting Monday, February 20th) but also to live blog about her experience in getting familiar with the most creative minds of today’s silver screen. Here’s a recap of the fourth day of festivities (Tuesday, January 24th) in Park City.

BTR Live Blog: Sundance Film Festival Day 4

Much excitement today at Sundance, as deals went down and more films premiered. The Surrogate was snatched up by Fox Searchlight, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with writer/director, Ben Lewin, as well as actors, William H. Macy and John Hawkes, to discuss the details of their film about sexual exploration and human disability.

Lewin, a survivor of polio and late bloomer in terms of directorial breakthroughs, spent years as a criminal defense lawyer before setting his eyes permanently on the movies. After attending film school in Britain, he worked mostly as a television writer before taking nearly a decade off to be a stay at home father to his children. Only now, with this charming tale of resilience and passion, does he prove himself a magnificent leader in the Hollywood forefront. Together with his brilliant cast, including Helen Hunt in a returning role to the spotlight, The Surrogate won over the hearts and minds of audiences, not to mention the dollars of entertainment executives. Tackling issues of God, faith, romance, and the ability to simply feel, we laughed and cried as Hawkes’ character finally lost his virginity and fell in love. Ultimately, we paid respect to those stronger than we may ever be.

On his admiration for Sundance, Macy noted, “I love what Hollywood does best…but by definition those big films have to appeal to a lot of people, and can offend no one. So that means the stories they are able to tell are rather limited. Independent film by its nature can tell a smaller story…and these stories I’ve always found astounding.”

Later, I talked to one of hip hop’s finest, the ‘so sweet’ and charming rapper-turned-actor, Common, along with the director of his film, LUV, Sheldon Candis. Conversing on Baltimore, blackness, and the journey out of slavery, the two were humbled by the grace of their faith and the truth behind a film hitting close to both their hearts. Though Common’s new album, The Dreamer, The Believer, continues to generate much buzz, his priority, it seems, has shifted to film, as it’s a level of expression he cannot find elsewhere.

“I love music, I’ve been doing music for a long time, but I feel there’s so many different ways to express myself as an actor, and so many different things I learn as an actor,” he explains. “To become a negotiator in a film and to negotiate hostages, to become a chef or a doctor…To learn when you become these characters, it’s invigorating and revitalizing.”

BTR favorite, Deer Tick, performed at the Bing Bar later this evening and the sun shined high over Park City as crowds slowly started to dissipate and the rest of us enjoyed more reign over the icy sidewalk. Day Four at Sundance was a breath of fresh air, and an equally reviving dialogue with creators so in love with their craft that they can do nothing more than smile and be gracious.

To keep up with Courtney throughout the week, you can follow her regular updates on the BreakThru Radio Twitter account and Facebook page as well as regular updates here on Third Eye.