RadioWest @Sundance

Each year, RadioWest sits down for in-depth conversations with filmmakers and producers during the Sundance Film Festival. Just like the festival, the RadioWest team has eclectic taste. We hope you enjoy the diversity of topics as much as we do.

Sundance 2017: 78/52

Jan 26, 2017

Thursday, we're wrapping up our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with director Alexandre Phillipe and his documentary film 78/52. The film’s title refers to the 78 setups and 52 cuts that make up one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history: the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Phillipe’s film is equal parts love letter and textual analysis. It examines the scene’s audacity both in the context of the film and in the broader context of American society on the brink of upheaval.

In September 2001, immediately after the terrorist attacks in New York, the United States began a secret war in Afghanistan. Fewer than a hundred Special Forces soldiers infiltrated the country, successfully drove the Taliban from power, and disrupted al-Qaeda. In the new documentary film Legion of Brothers, director Greg Barker tells the stories of these brave men and the harsh lessons of modern war they learned. Barker joins us Wednesday as we continue our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Tuesday, we continue our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with an examination of the perils and duties of the free press. Director Brian Knappenberger’s documentary film Nobody Speak explores the court battle between online tabloid Gawker and pro wrestler Hulk Hogan as case study, among others, of how big money can use litigation to check the freedom of the press. It also asks what a thin-skinned billionaire in the executive branch could do to media outlets that anger him.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Peterson

Monday, Doug is joined by filmmaker Laura Dunn, whose new documentary looks at rural America through the eyes of the writer, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry. The film's title comes from Berry’s daughter, who says that as a child her father would challenge her to notice things, to pay attention. He told her to “Look and See.” So that's what Dunn does. She weaves Wendell Berry’s own observations with those of family and neighbors for a deep look at the industrial and economic changes in agrarian life.

Sundance 2017: Trophy

Jan 19, 2017
from film, Trophy

Thursday, we begin our coverage of Sundance with the documentary Trophy. Filmmakers Shaul Shwarz and Christina Clusiau followed hunters, breeders, and conservationists to ask what we do to save the great species of the world from extinction. The high cost of trophy hunting trips to Africa often fund conservation efforts and communities, but critics say there’s a danger in treating animals like commodities. Schwarz and Clusiau join Doug to talk about that relationship between hunting and conservation.

Sundance 2016: Nuts!

Jan 29, 2016

Friday, we wrap up our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival with a true story of desperation, scams, and goat testicles. Director Penny Lane joins us to talk about John Romulus Brinkley, a man who claimed to have a cure for impotence and many other ailments in 1920s Kansas. He took to newfangled radio to tout his unorthodox treatments, but soon found his nemesis in one Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lane’s film is called NUTS!

Frank Zappa wasn’t just a musician, bandleader, and self-taught composer who released more than 60 albums in less than three decades. He was also a passionate and outspoken proponent of free expression. Filmmaker Thorsten Schutte has made a new documentary that draws from Zappa’s numerous interviews and TV appearances, using the iconic musician’s own words to explore his unique career and provocative opinions. Schutte joins us Thursday as we continue our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival.

  Filmmaker Will Allen was 22 when he joined a community of people led by a man named Michel. Allen says at first he seemed elegant and smart and he promised them enlightenment. But it became clear Michel was a megalomaniac and he was soon leading by manipulation, paranoia, and abuse. As the group fell apart, Allen knew he had to find a way out of what he came to realize was a cult. Wednesday, he and former member Christopher Johnston join Doug to talk about the Sundance documentary HOLY HELL.

Filmmaker Robert Greene thought for years about a documentary on Christine Chubbuck, a Florida news reporter who committed suicide on live television in 1974. What he didn’t want to do though was make a straight-forward movie about a depressed woman. So Greene proposed an unorthodox approach to actress Kate Lyn Sheil. The film crew would follow Sheil as she prepared to take on the tragic role of Christine. Tuesday, Greene joins Doug to talk about performance, authenticity, and storytelling.

Monday, we continue our Sundance coverage with AUDRIE & DAISY. The two teen girls were raped and this documentary examines the fallout of shaming and bullying on social media that followed. Audrie was overwhelmed by what she saw as irreparable damage to her reputation and committed suicide. Daisy's story made national headlines, and her family became the target of an enraged community. Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk join Doug to explore what they call a modern-day "Scarlet Letter."

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