PARK CITY, UT (CBS SF) - The 2013 Sundance Film Festival begins Thursday, January 17 in Park City, Utah with some films featuring local personalities such as Steve Jobs and Jeremy Lin to a film that depicts the events circling around Oscar Grant.
The highly anticipated biography of the late Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs, "jOBS" starring "Two And A Half Men's" Ashton Kutcher (pictured above), will make it's Sundance debut at this year's film festival.
"jOBS" details the major moments and defining characters that influenced Steve Jobs on a daily basis from 1971 through 2000. jOBS plunges into the depths of his character, creating an intense dialogue-driven story that is as much a sweeping epic as it is an immensely personal portrait of Steve Jobs' life. The filmmakers were granted unprecedented access during shooting to the historic garage in Palo Alto, that served as the birthplace to Apple Inc.
Jeremy Lin (credit: Sundance Film Festival)
In February 2012, an entire nation of basketball fans unexpectedly went "Linsane." Stuck in the mire of a disappointing season, the New York Knicks did what no other NBA team had thought about doing—they gave backup point guard Jeremy Lin an opportunity to prove himself. He took full advantage, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy in the process. Prior to this now-legendary run, Lin had faced adversity in his career at every turn. He wasn't offered a scholarship by any major university, nor was he drafted by any NBA team after a standout collegiate career at Harvard.
Director Evan Jackson Leong embarked on this documentary before Jeremy Lin was a household name, following the future star as he struggled to find his place in a league where Asian American players are few and far between. More than just a film for basketball addicts, Linsanity serves as an insightful study of the way we perceive race in America and shows what is possible if someone believes in himself. - A. M.
Oscar Grant was a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who loved his friends, was generous to strangers, and had a hard time telling the truth to the mother of his beautiful daughter. He was scared and courageous and charming and raw, and as human as the community he was part of. That community paid attention to him, shouted on his behalf, and filmed him with their cell phones when BART officers, who were strong, intimidated, and acting in the way they thought they were supposed to behave around people like Oscar, shot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day in 2009.
Director Ryan Coogler makes an extraordinary directorial debut with this soulful account of the real-life event that horrified the nation. Featuring radiant performances by Melonie Diaz and Michael B. Jordan as Grant, a young man whose eyes were an open window into his soul, Fruitvale offers a barometer reading on the state of humanity in American society today. - S. F.
Scene from "Big Sur" (credit: Sundance Film Festival)
Big Sur focuses on a moment in Jack Kerouac's life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling with alcoholism, he retreats to his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti's cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur, which eventually inspires his 1962 novel of the same name. Kerouac's time begins with quiet moments of solitude and communing with nature. But, struck by loneliness, he hightails it to San Francisco, where he resumes drinking heavily and gets pushed into a relationship with his best friend Neal Cassady's mistress, Billie.
While writer/director Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho) explores a less glamorous moment in Kerouac's legacy—one of alienation and mental breakdown—Big Sur equally examines the beauty of this time in the writer's life, witnessed in the romance of friendship and the purity of nature. Jean-Marc Barr embodies Kerouac's intelligence and masculinity, but also portrays him at his most contemplative and vulnerable. Luscious and breathtaking, Big Sur approaches a religious cinematic experience. - K. Y.
In the past 28 years, it's founder, actor Robert Redford maintains the film festival's mission to support and encourage independent filmmakers and provide a platform for their work to be seen. All the while, the festival has also grown to become a place for distributors looking for the next "indie" hit like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Hurt Locker," many indie filmmakers feel the festival is a place to promote to a much bigger audience.
The Sundance Film Festival continues through January 27.
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