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.

Derek Wiesehahn

A few years ago, the government of Uganda tried to pass a law that would criminalize homosexuality and punish even those who simply know gay people. The Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams wanted to learn what was behind this draconian proposal, who was driving it. So he went to Uganda. What he learned there led him back to America’s Heartland, from where, he says, Christian Evangelicals have long been working to alter Uganda’s culture and faith. Williams documents this 21st-century crusade in his new film God Loves Uganda. He joins us Thursday to talk about it.

RadioWest begins its Sundance coverage with Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker's latest documentary. It's the story of champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his near-fatal halfpipe crash in 2009. Pearce's parents and brothers rushed to help with the recovery from his traumatic brain injury, but they were shocked at Kevin's determination to return to the sport. Walker's film follows the family as they struggle with this question: how much risk is too much? Lucy Walker and Kevin Pearce join Doug for a special live, Wednesday night broadcast to talk about "The Crash Reel."

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez, a poet-musician from inner-city Detroit, produced two albums. His producers thought they would be hits, but they were utter flops – in America, that is. In South Africa though, Rodriguez was bigger than Elvis or The Rolling Stones, and his albums provided the soundtrack for white opposition to apartheid. Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has documented Rodriguez’ unlikely fall and rise, and he’ll talk with Doug about it on Friday.

Thursday, our guest is Oscar winning documentary filmmaker James Marsh. Marsh's films Man on Wire and Project Nim both earned him Sundance accolades, but this year he's at the festival with his latest narrative film. Clive Owen stars in the thriller set in 1990's Belfast, and he says Marsh brought a documentarian's sensibility to the work by "trying to capture the essence of something real." Doug talks to Marsh about Shadow Dancer and about the craft of documentary and dramatic filmmaking.

To some people, Stanley Kubrick's film THE SHINING set the standard for modern horror cinema. For others, it was the result of a talented filmmaker slacking off. And then there are the ardent fans convinced they've decoded the film's hidden messages of genocide, cabals and the nightmares of history.Rodney Ascher and Tim Kirk made a film about these conspiracy theorists that investigates the act of criticism and what it means to be a fan. They'll join Doug on Wednesday to talk about ROOM 237.

There are 1.5 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces. Sexual assault is an increasing problem within those ranks. In many, if not most cases, it's swept under the carpet: only 8 percent of sexual assault cases are prosecuted in the military, and only 2 percent of those cases result in convictions. The filmmaker Kirby Dick's new documentary, THE INVISIBLE WAR, sheds light on the suffering of thousands of military rape victims, and he'll join Doug on Tuesday to talk about it.

On Monday, Doug talks with documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki. In his film Why We Fight, Jarecki examined America's war machine. His new documentary, The House I Live In, scrutinizes another unique expression of American conflict by telling the stories of individuals at all levels of our war on drugs. The drug war has made America the world's largest jailer even as narcotics of all kinds have become purer, cheaper and more available. Where did we go wrong, and what, can be done about it?

Much has been written about the Kennedy family. And yet, Ethel Skakel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has somehow managed to elude scrutiny, interview and biography. Until now. Rory Kennedy, Ethel's youngest child, has made a film about her mother that captures the life of a vivacious, authentic heroin who's often quick to deflect attention from herself. Ethel and Rory join Doug on Friday in Park City to talk about the film, ETHEL.

Pages