On Thursday, May 29, the sun will rise on the third year of the “Sundance Institute at BAM” series, a 58-film extravaganza straight from the screens of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Although the films have been previously screened, this is no after-thought; Sundance founder and film giant Robert Redford has shown up for the past two opening nights and fingers borough-wide are crossed that he’ll return this year.
“The 2008 Sundance Film Festival had an incredibly strong lineup of films. And this year’s ‘Sundance Institute at BAM’ series certainly reflects it,” said John Cooper, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival. The range of the films is clear, from the June 8 screening of the Hurricane Katrina documentary “Trouble the Water,” by Park Slopers Carl Deal and Tia Lessen, to the May 31 screening of first-time director Lance Hammer’s “Ballast,” which BAMcinematek Film Curator Florence Almozini called “one of my favorite features this year.”
With 22 feature films and 36 short films, the Sundance choices at BAM offer something for every Brooklynite. Whether it’s the opening night documentary, “American Teen” (pictured), which won the festival’s Documentary Directing award for Nanette Burnstein, or the dark humor of “Choke,” Clark Gregg’s adaptation of the twisted Chuck Palahniuk book, this 10-day festival is nothing if not diverse.
“I’d have to say that the range of voices, new approaches to subjects we may have thought we knew everything about, [and] variety of countries represented all combine to make our jobs incredibly interesting,” said Cooper. “I have been doing this for 20 years, and every year is unique.”
And to kick off a series like this, popcorn and candy just won’t do the trick. After the May 29 screening of “American Teen,” moviegoers will be treated to a late-night, prom-themed party at BAM with free beverages — courtesy of Saaga 1763 vodka and the Brooklyn Brewery — and snacks, dancing and a laser tag exhibition.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though. On Sunday, June 1, 12 hours of short films will be screened (in three sections, should you need a quick breather), and throughout the event, readings, live music and panels will take place, ensuring this “Sun” will shine brightly for another season in Fort Greene.
“Sundance Institute at BAM” opens at 8 pm on May 29 with a screening of “American Teen.” Tickets are $15 and include admission to the after-party. For a complete schedule, call (718) 636-4100 or visit www.bam.org.