It’s Always Sunny in Utah

The Sundance Film Festival kicked off on January 28 in Park City, Utah. Vice President of Film, Renee Tsao, attended the festival and experienced the excitement firsthand. Here’s our round-up of films that made the news and news that made headlines. 

  • The Birth of a Nation received a preemptive standing round of applause before the film even began. That auspicious start was followed by critical and popular accolades for the “searing slave drama,” which was awarded the grand jury prize for a narrative film and was voted best movie by audiences. Read more here
  • Diversity dominated Sundance. Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, called 2016 “the year of the women.” Given the abundance of female directors to breakout actress performances with resounding standing ovations, we hope Bernard is right. However, Variety asks whether this diversity can last in Hollywood.
  • “Stop complaining.” Kristen Stewart shared a controversial piece of advice for women in Hollywood: “Go do something.” Stewart was at Sundance promoting her movie, Certain Women, a portrait of intersecting lives in Montana. 
  • Swiss Army Man divided audiences and made headlines at Sundance. It was later purchased by A24. Think Castaway – minus Wilson, plus a dead body. Read more here.
  • Amazon and Netflix are the latest big spenders in the film industry. These two new players in the industry made it clear that they have money to spend and that they’re here to stay. What does this mean for the average moviegoer? Renew your Amazon Prime and Netflix accounts this year. It’ll be worth it.
  • Speaking of Amazon and Netflix, director Sian Hader says, “We are living in a new age of film.” Hader wrote and directed Tallulah, staring Ellen Page and Allison Janney, and was also a writer and producer for Orange is the New Black. Netflix scooped up Tallulah before it even debuted at Sundance. 

Middleburg Film Festival 2015

For the third year in a row, PR Collaborative contributed to the success of the third annual Middleburg Film Festival. The festival featured a carefully curated selection of 26 narrative, foreign and documentary films in an intimate theatre environment, followed by fascinating Q and A's with world-renowned filmmakers and actors.  

The films screened October 22 – 25, 2015 in Virginia’s historic wine country located one hour outside of Washington DC. The 2015 main slate featured titles from seven women directors including ITHACA, SHERPA, SUFFRAGETTE, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, MUSTANG, PEGGY GUGGENHEIM – ART ADDICT, and MISS YOU ALREADY. The festival also screened a selection of foreign language submissions to the Oscars.

Middleburg Film Festival welcomed many special guests, including director and actress Meg Ryan, directors Lee Daniels, Catherine Hardwicke, and Marc Abraham, actor and film subject Tab Hunter, and actress Bo Derek. Carter Burwell was honored as 2015's Distinguished Film Composer with a selection of his most memorable scores presented by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. The festival also honored Academy Award-nominee Dante Spinotti as this year's Distinguished Cinematographer.

SPOTLIGHT won the Audience Award for Best Narrative, and HARRY & SNOWMAN won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. The winners were chosen by audience ballot.

In addition to securing media coverage for the festival, PR Collaborative also worked on the campaigns for two films in the festival: Abigail Disney's THE ARMOR OF LIGHT and Catherine Hardwicke's MISS YOU ALREADY.