An interesting aspect of this time of year is how film festivals fall one after the other. As I was putting Palm Springs coverage to bed, Sundance was immediately up to bat. I wasn’t able to revisit Park City, Utah, this year—heading there in 2020 was one of my last big activities for me prior to lockdowns—but thankfully I was able to connect with several publicists, who had some absolutely ... more >

The last of Sundance, on the horror tip: “SORCERY”; “IN MY MOTHER’S SKIN”

Foreign language horror double feature

In Christopher Murray’s artfully grim “Sorcery,” justice and revenge walk hand in hand for Rosa (newcomer Valentina Véliz Caileo) after her father is murdered by their employer. The tragic tale unfolds on the island of Chiloe, off southern Chile. Young Rosa is a servant at the house of Stefan (Sebastian Hulk), head of a German immigrant family. One morning Stefan finds his entire flock of sheep ... more >


"There were like 160 young artists competing [...] I asked all of them to record a home video [...] that’s how I could meet them all (Jakub Piątek)

The Sundance documentary “Pianoforte” follows some of the world’s best young pianists as they compete at the renowned International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Among them are Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mitsuko Uchida, Krystian Zimerman and Kevin Kenner. They are teenagers, in that netherworld between youth and adulthood, and finding their way while simultaneously giving expression to their ... more >



Razelle Benally and Matthew Galkin’s harrowing “Murder in Big Horn” sounds an alarm, one that has been going off for decades. So many Indigenous women and young girls from the Cheyenne and Crow Nations have vanished from Montana’s Big Horn and surrounding counties; an area that has been dubbed the most dangerous place for Indigenous women in the U.S. As one woman says, “I fear for my daughter. ... more >

Sundance: The issue of free speech in Indian country gets the documentary treatment in ‘BAD PRESS’’

Directors say that press freedom affects all Americans, not just Natives

Strictly speaking, Native American reservations are not American soil.  Thus it shouldn’t be surprising that many Indian tribes do not have press freedom codified into their constitutions.  This was the case of the Muscogee Creek nation in Oklahoma, where, in 2018, the tribe’s government repealed free speech protections for the Muscogee Nation News.  That led to a ground-up citizens campaign to ... more >


U.S. Dramatic Competition

Coming of age in a strict religious sect, sinners and saints, right and wrong, impossible expectations, unwanted crushes and dangerous love, this is the imperfect storm hitting seventeen year-old Jem Starling (Eliza Scanlen) in writer/director Laurel Parmet’s “The Starling Girl”. A member of a rigid Kentucky fundamentalist Christian community, Jem has given her soul to God and her dedication to ... more >

Sundance: “MAMACRUZ”

World cinema dramatic competition

Patricia Ortega’s latest film “MAMACRUZ” is a frank and honest film that speaks to the embracing of one’s sexuality, especially late in life. Spanish actress Kiti Mánver is excellent as Mamacruz, a seamstress, wife, mother, and grandmother, who accidentally clicks on a porn link. Stunned at first, the clip plants the seed of a sexual reawakening within. Instead of denouncing it as sinful (as ... more >