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2013 Sundance Film Festival: technology and film culture mix in Park City

In many ways the epicenter of American independent film is still the Sundance Film Festival, and this year we saw film culture and tech culture merge in a number of different ways. From Ashton Kutcher's take on Apple's co-founder in Jobs, to Upstream Color, the latest from sci-fi auteur Shane Carruth, the festival was full of surprises and standout moments. We've got all our coverage for you right here.

  • Ross Miller

    Jan 26, 2013

    Ross Miller

    'Jobs' review: Ashton Kutcher surprises with a feverish take on Apple's co-founder

    jobs 2
    jobs 2

    This movie was reviewed at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

    Cupertino, 1980. Steve Jobs is giving an impassioned motivational speech to a small team working on Apple’s Lisa. "It’s social status. It’s social currency," he says. His voice is deliberate, paced to emphasize the most emotionally-driven words. On the whiteboard behind him it reads "File | Edit | Page Layout | Format." He asks the team how many typefaces are in Lisa, who in turn respond that it was deemed a less pressing issue. This isn’t the answer Jobs expected.

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  • Ross Miller

    Jan 22, 2013

    Ross Miller

    Shane Carruth’s ‘Upstream Color’ is a trippy, sci-fi take on the forces that bind us together

    upstream lead
    upstream lead

    Nine years ago, Shane Carruth won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for Primer, a complex science fiction tale about the ramifications of time travel. Famously filmed on a $7,000 budget, Primer went on to gain a cult following for its incredibly strong and incredibly twisty plot (spoiler: this is as close as you can get to understanding it all).

    Upstream Color is only Carruth’s second film, shot on a decidedly larger budget and coming to theaters in April (it debuted this week at Sundance). Think of it as Terrence Malick-meets-Trent Reznor: abstract, brooding, moody, at times graphic. If you’re willing to accept a broader, more indirect interpretation of “storytelling,” what you get is a flawed-but-fascinating exploration into the notion of symbiosis and all its meanings.

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  • Amar Toor

    Jan 21, 2013

    Amar Toor

    How one man made a film at Disney World without Disney's permission

    disney world (wikimedia)
    disney world (wikimedia)

    There's a palpable buzz at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and much of it is swirling around an obscure, black-and-white movie that may never see a commercial release. That's because Randy Moore's Escape from Tomorrow is more than just a film; it's an exercise in guerilla moviemaking, and a meditation on our own gawk-fueled culture.

    The movie debuted at Sundance on Friday to largely glowing reviews, though its incredible backstory began three years ago, when Moore decided to shoot a film at Disney World without Disney's permission. Armed with a Canon camera and a skeleton crew of actors, the 36-year-old director began surreptitiously filming at both Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, taking every precaution to keep his project under wraps.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jan 19, 2013

    Andrew Webster

    Watch these Sundance short films to learn the dangers of catnip and zombies

    Catnip Sundance short film
    Catnip Sundance short film

    In what's becoming an annual tradition, YouTube has partnered with the Sundance Film Festival to offer a small selection of short films through its Screening Room channel. This year you'll be able to watch a dozen short movies that will be making their debuts at Sundance; they've been selected from the 64 shorts to be screened at the festival starting this weekend. It's not a huge selection, and you won't be able to see Ashton Kutcher's portrayal of Steve Jobs, but there's quite a range of free movies to enjoy — covering everything from the horrors of catnip to, of course, the undead. And when you're finished watching these, YouTube says the channel will continue to be updated with movies from filmmakers who have been featured at Sundance in the past. Hopefully they're all as informative as the video below.

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  • Dan Seifert

    Dec 3, 2012

    Dan Seifert

    Ashton Kutcher's portrayal of Steve Jobs to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January

    This coming January is likely to be the first time that anyone outside of a production facility will get a look at jOBS, the new biopic of Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher. The movie, which was initially announced in April of this year, covers 30 years of Jobs' life from 1971 to 2000 as an entrepreneur and leader of such companies as Apple, NeXT, and Pixar. It also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine.

    The movie is not based on Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, released shortly after Jobs' death last fall. A separate film that is based on Isaacson's book is also in the works, and is being written by famed screenplay author Aaron Sorkin.

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