One of Sundance’s stated goals is to increase diversity both at its festival and its talent-incubating labs.
That effort received a boost Sunday when the organization announced that the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation would lend financial support the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive program.
The Intensive program offers a two-day workshop to a number of screenwriters from underrepresented communities, and also works with the Diversity Initiative. The grant has been set up for two years; the amount of the donation was not disclosed.
Grammy-winning disc jockey, producer and songwriter Diplo comments on the lack of celebrity culture in Cuba, where he performed for the Sundance documentary, "Give Me Future." Video by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times
Grammy-winning disc jockey, producer and songwriter Diplo comments on the lack of celebrity culture in Cuba, where he performed for the Sundance documentary "Give Me Future. Video by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times
Not long into "The Big Sick," the new film produced by Judd Apatow, the lead character makes a choice one rarely sees in a mainstream U.S. comedy.
A young Pakistani Muslim visiting his parents for dinner tells them he's going downstairs to pray, per their wishes. Then he heads to the basement, takes out a prayer mat, sets a timer for 5 minutes and does everything but pray before returning upstairs when the clock runs out.
Many comedies — and certainly many comedies under Apatow's guiding hand — would play the scene for maximum (and likely raunchy) laughs. (In many comedies the lead character wouldn’t be a Pakistani Muslim either, but that’s another matter.) Yet a more serious tone percolates here. The son has given up tradition, but hardly happily, and there’s something a little touching, even sad, about him having to conceal his choice.
While Donald Trump spent his first full day as the president of the United States warring with journalists over inauguration attendance numbers, Hollywood stars in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival added their voices to the protests around the globe.
Led by comedian Chelsea Handler, an estimated 8,000 protesters flooded the mountain town of Park City, Utah, to voice their objection to Trump and call for solidarity — far exceeding the predicted turnout.
“Today’s a beautiful day and nothing can take that away,” Handler told The Times on Saturday in Park City, and said she was determined to keep the momentum going after the Women’s March on Main.
On Friday, Tom Brokaw was in Washington, D.C., helping to lead NBC News’ coverage of President Trump’s inauguration. Less than 24 hours later — as thousands of women marched through the heart of Sundance mid-snowstorm to protest the new administration — the veteran newscaster touched down in Utah to promote a documentary.
Culture shock much?
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and that one was — to put it lightly — unique,” the 76-year-old said of the inauguration. “Most presidents who deliver State of the Union addresses try to do something that is lyrical, poetic and historically contextual. He did not. It was another campaign speech — which was his intention. He’s going to run the White House as if his campaign never stopped.”