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Industry names dazzle at Sundance

By Published on .

Park Pictures' Robot and Frank.
Park Pictures' Robot and Frank.

A man obsessed with stop-motion robot sex, a documentary on the Japanese tsunami and a coming-of-age drama were among the offerings from ad industry names selected for screening at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker

Supply & Demand Integrated's Lucy Walker's The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, which has also been nominated for an Academy Award), picked up the Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction, announced on Wednesday. Described as a 'visual haiku' and a story of survival, the film documents the resurrection of life in Japan following tragedy. It was both financed and produced by Supply & Demand Integrated.

Robot & Frank, the first film to come out of Park Pictures's newly-hatched Features division, was screened at the festival, with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn Films partnering to pick up North American rights to the movie. Directed by Jake Schreier and starring Frank Langella, its producers were Park Pictures' Galt Niederhoffer, Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee and Lance Acord. Park Pictures Features launched in July of last year.

Matt Lenski's Meaning of Robots also made its debut at the Festival. It profiles Mike Sullivan, a man who has been attempting to shoot a stop-motion robot sex film in his small apartment for the last 10 years. Lenski (who recently signed with Supply & Demand Integrated) met Sullivan after hiring him to build a miniature set for a Burger King spot with Crispin Porter Bogusky.

Meanwhile Christopher Neil, who recently joined James Frost's production company Honey Badger to direct commercials, debuted his first feature, Goats. Starring Vera Farmiga and David Duchovny, the film is based on a novel by Mark Jude Poirier and tells the story of a 15 year old boy who leaves his desert homestead for a stuffy East Coast prep school.

Christopher Neil.
Christopher Neil.

Other films screened at the festival included Hornet director Julia Pott's short film, Belly, which was selected for the International Animation Short Films category and Stacy Peralta's new skateboard film Bones Brigade: An Autobiography. Peralta's commercial work includes spots for Bank of America, Burger King, Ford, John Deere, Pepsi, Sports Authority, Toyota and others.

Non-traditional media making waves at the New Frontier exhibition space included Evolution (Megaplex), created by video artist Marco Brambilla, director of the 1993 film Demolition Man. The three minute film is a 3-D video collage which plays onscreen like a moving tapestry.

The Festival ends on January 29. For more information on films screened at Sundance, visit the Festival website.

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