Doug McFarlane Shares the Top Ten Films From Sundance You Need to See!!

Doug McFarlane is a UK-based indie documentary film-maker whose career I follow on Facebook. He’s got his film “Hot in Hollywood”.
This is from his blog post for Magazine
I’m just starting to get my head back into London mode after one of the most exciting weeks at Sundance Film Festival. It was my second time, so I knew my way around a little better and I was anticipating more coincidental connections like last year–and I wasn’t let down. After writing the following blog on the 16th January, 2009.
Ewan McGregor
…..I went on to film a chat with Ewan McGregor and Alan Cummings. I told Kevin Bacon he was brilliant in Taking Chance and filmed his cool walk, and then filmed Elijah Wood getting caught in amongst fans and paparazzi. You’ll see this in the final version of Making It In Hollywood.
Further chance meetings were had with people from (back home) Scotland. The Head of Talent and Creativity of Scottish Screen and the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Film Festival. Both of whom offered to help me in making the final steps of the journey of making my first documentary. Incredible. I’ll have so many people to thank when the film finally sees light of day, that it could be almost 15 minutes worth of credits.
Now I have PATHE, LIONSGATE, REVOLVER, BBC SCOTLAND, SKY, and two U.S. distributors all interested in MAKING IT IN HOLLYWOOD. The film will be getting a spit and polish this week; a fine-tuned sound mix next weekend; and then land on the desks of individuals who will hold the destiny of the film in their hands. Exciting times!!
You have to see this film to believe it. Director Nicolas Winding Refn and actor Tom Hardy have rewritten the rules of filmmaking with an incredible and grueling portrayal of notorious prisoner Michael Peterson. I loved everything about this film. From the unique style of acting that Hardy brings to the screen, the camera angles, telling the story from a theatrical perspective, the use of “It’s A Sin” during a party scene with inmates. Every single choice the director made in setting the scene was different, fresh, exciting and worthy of recognizing as a work of art. GO SEE IT !
AFGHAN STAR World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary 
 and World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary 

A documentary about the equivalent of X-Factor in Afghanistan. We learn that it’s only in 2004 that the government lifted a ban on broadcasting music and entertainment and this is the first program which has a massive following. Like the mania that follows this type of program in the UK, some people were buying thousands of SIM cards in order to vote for their favorite more than once. The songs were quite amusing after translation, such as “You’re like a scorpion with eyebrows meeting in the middle”. The program also courted it’s own controversy, due to one of the female participants dancing and showing hair resulting in death threats against her and an outcry from a political leader who felt she had disgraced Sharia Law. This documentary is as much a reflection of our own society, as it is of Afghanistan.

This is a very funny film in which Peter Capaldi is a relentless Scottish loudmouth, aggressive, articulate politician. Side splitting humor and incredible dialogue.
AN EDUCATION World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic 

Peter Saarsgard is truly brilliant in this coming of age story. The screenplay is by Nick Hornby so you can be assured of a well written and structured film.
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic 

Two great Irish actors, Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt meet in a fictional televised truth and reconciliation meeting after the end of “the troubles”. It’s told from the inner thoughts of each of the main characters which lets you know more about what they are thinking as the plan to see each for the first time after one witness the other shooting his brother in the early 80s. Look out for a fantastic fight scene which is both well choreographed and will stun you with it’s amazing camera work. How did they do it ?
One of the best openings of a film I’ve ever seen. Featuring an opulent mansion house in the 80, it’s set in LA and there’s a party going on and we hear Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) playing loudly. The guys wear Raybans, the women are very attractive, Porsche cars come and go and then 1 minute into the film, and if you haven’t sat down and settled into your seat, you’ll have missed it. Some great performances from Amber Heard (whew!), Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, and even musician turned actor Chris Isaak.
It’s South Africa in the 80s with the end of apartheid. This is the definitive story and a must see film for everyone. Johnny Lee Miller stood out as Mike Young an executive at Consolidate Goldfields in London, who we learn in the titles that he gave most of the story to the filmmakers. He was in the meetings and therefore had access to personal and private information. FW De Klerk and Nelson Mandela are well cast as was Thabo Mbeki, nicely played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. William Hurt also does well with his South African accent as an Afrikaans Professor.
Kevin Bacon is perfectly cast in this powerful drama based on the true story of a young soldier, Chance Phelps, who dies in the Iraq War.
Special Jury Prize: US Dramatic, for The Spirit of Independence
Seattle based director Lynne Shelton creates an hilarious look at what might happen if two straight men took their friendship a little too far.
Sam Rockwell takes us to the Moon in this intriguing sci-fi which explores the possibilities of cryogenics and cloning.
Thanks to Douglas McFarlane for his time and effort in getting me this post for this blog. You can email him at the address below and definitely check out this online magazine UKFilm.TV and also become a part of his group on FACEBOOK (shown below)
Douglas McFarlane, UKFILM.TV
Stevie Wilson

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Author: Stevie Wilson

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