After hearing several people rave about this first film, I managed to get tickets to a screening:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
This film bravely pulls magical realism into a breathtaking story about father and daughter living in the Louisiana Bathtub.
The Sundance.org description:
Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in “the Bathtub,” a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack—temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
Hushpuppy is not just the film’s heroine; she’s its soul. Beasts of the Southern Wild exists entirely in its own universe: mythological, anthropological, folkloric, and apocalyptic. Benh Zeitlin’s first feature (a Sundance Institute Feature Film Program project) employs a cast of nonactors—reflecting its grassroots production—to fiercely portray the bond between father and daughter in a world where only the strong survive. Standing defiantly at the end of the world, Hushpuppy affirms the dignity of telling their own story: that they were once there.
Shorts Program I
I also did not have Shorts Program I on my original list. Shorts Program I contained the following films: Fishing Without Nets, Las Palmas, Morning Stroll, Random Strangers, Tooty's Wedding, and Una Hora Por Favor.
Although I enjoyed all of the short films, I originally went because I wanted to support the director of Fishing Without Nets, Cutter Hodierne, someone I have known for some time. I was impressed with the emotional depth and sweeping scale of the story. And, as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one impressed with this film. Fishing Without Nets was just awarded the Sundance Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking, an amazing and deserving achievement.
Here is the sundance.org description of the film:
A story of pirates in Somalia—told from the perspective of the pirates.