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Broadcast DVD presents
"For me independent film doesn't have a label that associates itself with a budget, a studio, an independent company or a HI-8 camera at home. But in fact, it has to do with the spirit and the protection of the filmmaker's vision."
Film Fest 1: Sundance marks the debut of the celebrated series by Broadcast DVD and is a thorough and entertaining look at Sundance 1999. The discs focuses mainly on the 1999 Sundance Film Festival as well as the numerous "spin offs" that seem to pop up each year. Featuring many short films shown at the festival as well as numerous interviews with actors and filmmakers the disc serves as a nice video scrapbook of America's most popular film festival.
The Disc is divided into the 5 following sections:
Sundance 1999: A 4-minute clip featuring actors, actresses, directors and others celebrating all that is Sundance. Quickly cut with celebrities talking about the festival including Peter Berg, Julie Delpy, Michael Stipe, laura Dern, Eric Stoltz and many others.
New Directors: Ed Sanchez and Dan Myrick A 5-minute feature on the two then unknown whiz kids who created The Blair Witch Project is also included on the disc. The interview shows several clips from the successful film.
Section Two: Festival Shorts
Culture: This 60 second short features a man engaging in a fake gun battle. It is done in one take with no camera moves. Those interested should listen the the very informative commentary. It is better than the short.
Bubblepac: It is about time someone made a film dealing with America's fascination with bubble wrap. Oh yeah, there also happens to be a dead guy wrapped in the stuff. A very strange yet somewhat funny short.
Bingo: Without a doubt the strangest short on the disc, yet it is also the most beautiful. This computer animated short deals with clowns, a circus tent and a guy who may or may not be named Bingo. I am not sure what the short was about, I am sure though that it worsened my fear of clowns.
The Clock: A very entertaining short about life in a nursing home and the agony of watching time go by one hour at a time. It also has a very interesting commentary track with director Noah Laracy.
Section Three: FILM FEST SELECTS
10 Seconds:The most disturbing short on the disc by far. 10 Seconds takes the argument for capital punishment one step further in this revenge laden tale. Very unnerving.
Whacked!: No this is not a short about the mob, but a very funny short about the revenge of a cart driver at a golf ball driving range. This short hits close to home as I always aim for the ball cart when practicing my swing.
Section Four: INTERVIEWS
Tim Roth: The first time director of The War Zone and brilliant actor talks about his debut film, the delight of premiering it at Sundance, and his first time behind the camera.
Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle: The two Ravenous actors talk about their film as well as their director Antonia Byrd who also makes an appearance.
Stuart Copeland: Former Police member Copeland speaks of scoring films and how he chooses the right film, or even the wrong film.
Sheryl Crow: The musician turned actress discusses her turn in the small film The Minus Man, as well as turning away from music to do a feature film.
Steve Zahn and Illeana Douglas: The pair discuss their festival hit Happy, Texas in this 3-minute clip. These are two great actors and to see them feed off of each other is a treat.
Eric Stoltz: What would Sundance be without Eric Stoltz? Stoltz plugs his latest film, and many other things as well.
Section Five: COMING SOON
Train De Vie: While there is not much to go on here this film looks to be a comedy about people deporting from their home country. You will have to judge for yourself.
Ravenous: A 5-minute featurette for this almost cult classic horror film is more or less an extended trailer but worth a watch none the less. The film is also one to watch if you haven't already.
Run Lola Run: 4 clips from one of the best films of 1999 are included here in full frame format. Do yourself a favor. Skip the clips and go watch the entire film.
Three Seasons: Much like Lola there are four clips for this absolutely beautiful Sundance award winning film. The film stars Harvey Keitel, but it looks to be the cinematography that steals the show.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review:
It is almost unfair to judge both the video and audio on this disc as every chapter has a different look and sound. On the video front the images are non-anamorphic and range from an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame to the super-wide scope of 2.35:1. While the quality of each short varies, some range from outstanding (Culture) to terrible (Whacked). Each interview contains some grain, specifically the clip containing Sheryl Crow. Overall more hits than misses with this transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review:
Much like the image transfer, the audio quality varies depending on the section. The disc is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0 throughout. While shorts like Bubblepac and Bingo have terrific audio others sadly do not. The audio featured in the press conference footage seems very muddy and is sometimes hard to understand.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu
0 Other Trailer(s) featuring Train De Vie
7 Feature/Episode commentaries by Various directors of each short film included
While not exactly feature laden Film Fest Volume 1 does contain some very nice extras. All seven short films include commentary tracks with the directors. The only problem with the tracks is that 3 different audio options are shown yet tracks 2 and 3 are identical. Also included are clips for recent films including Run Lola Run and festival award winner Three Seasons. Also included are a trailer for the foreign film Train De Vie, as well as a featurette for the highly underrated horror film Ravenous. A DVD ROM section is also included.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsAvailable at a very low price or by subscription, Broadcast DVD's Film Fest series is essential for any fan of independent cinema.
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