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Not attending Sundance this year? No worries. You may miss the screenings themselves, but thanks to social media you now are able to attend the Festival no matter where you live by following filmmakers who use Twitter (and other popular social media outlets) to share their Festival experiences with their friends, fans, and fellow industry members.
By poring over the Sundance line-up and culling a multitude of different feeds, we have compiled a list of the filmmakers who we believe will thoughtfully (and humorously) share their 2013 Sundance journeys. Today, we’re focusing on documentarians.
Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side) undoubtedly is one of the most prolific documentary filmmakers working today. This year, Gibney has two films in the Doc Premieres section at Sundance: We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (which he directed and produced) and History of the Eagles Part One (which he produced). Gibney regularly tweets about current issues, films by other documentarians, and his own personal tastes that inevitably will shape his twitter feed during the Festival.
Made in the UK, Andy Heathcote’s The Moo Man in the World Documentary section is already causing quite a stir stateside. The Moo Man centers on Stephen Hook, a British dairy farmer, and explores his relationships with his cows as he resists the modern dairy system, carrying on seemingly outmoded traditions like home delivery of fresh milk products. While Heathcote’s tweets mostly center on the film and audience interaction, his coverage is likely to expand once he lands in Park City.
Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple (Harlan Country U.S.A., American Dream) is no stranger to the Sundance Film Festival. She’s back with Running From Crazy in the Doc Premieres category, a film that chronicles the battle that the famous Hemingway family has fought with mental illness. While she tweets only sporadically, Kopple will no doubt be inspired by frequent twitter user Mariel Hemingway, who is one of the film’s subjects.
Dawn Porter is an established film and television producer who is making her directorial feature debut with Gideon’s Army in the U.S. Documentary section at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Also serving as Producer, Porter offers a film that follows three public defenders as they fight for their clients’ rights with few resources and little money. It will be interesting to see the Festival through Porter’s eyes as she balances her regular tweets on current affairs with her reactions to the excitement of showing her work to enthusiastic but demanding audiences in Park City.
War Correspondent turned filmmaker Greg Barker (Sergio, Koran by Heart) returns to Sundance this year with Manhunt, his riveting film in the U.S Documentary program that chronicles the almost two-decade hunt for Osama bin Laden. Barker is becoming more active on Twitter as the Festival approaches, keeping fans informed with the latest stories surrounding his film. It will be fascinating to see the events and screenings in Park City through the eyes of this established journalist.
Jason DaSilva’s documentary When I Walk (making its premiere in Park City) is already garnering much attention. DaSilva, a Sundance alum, turned his camera on himself after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly seven years ago. DaSilva’s always interesting twitter feed will now be centered on his emotional and personal film. He’s already tweeting from Park City. Let the games began!
Lucy Walker is a Sundance veteran (Waste Land, Devil's Playground) whose latest documentary, Crash Reel, marks her fifth film at the prestigious Festival. Walker’s film in the Doc Premieres section follows Kevin Pearce, the renowned U.S. snowboarder, as he recovers from a traumatic head injury he sustained in 2009 and trains for the 2010 Winter Olympics against his rival, Shaun White. Lucy Walker is a very active voice on Twitter, tweeting about current events, documentary news, and of course, her own films.
Director/producer/editor R.J. Cutler is back at Sundance with the premiere of his much buzzed-about documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney. Co-directed with Greg Finton, the film explores the rise to power of the former vice presidential, a college dropout who was arrested twice for DUIs in the same year. Cutler’s expansive body of work (which includes The September Issue) has engendered a multitude of provocative tweets from him over the years. His coverage of Park City should be insightful and unrestrained.
Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams is gaining attention for his latest project, God Loves Rwanda, which will screen in the U.S Documentary section. The film explores the missionary movement in the war-torn country, depicting the ways in which evangelical Christians and religious leaders have worked with African preachers to enforce their views and values upon the Rwandan people. A participant in the Sundance Lab, Williams is no stranger to Park City and will surely keep his audiences informed on all Festival happenings.
Sean and Andrea Fine (War Dance, Inocente) return to the Festival with their latest documentary, Life According to Sam. Their new film, presented in the U.S. Documentary section, follows Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns whose son, Sam, was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare and fatal disease that accelerates the aging process. The documentary celebrates their fight to help their son and other children with the same diagnosis. As the Festival draws nearer, make sure to check out their twitter feed for their unique view of the Park City activities and screenings.
Other Notable Tweeters at Sundance: @sebastianjunger, Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington; @marcsilverMS, Who is Dayani Cristal?; @zacharyzenor, Cutie and the Boxer
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