Film Analysis | Film Festivals | Film Reviews

Sundance Preview

1 Jan , 2006  

Written by Michele Meek | Posted by:

A preview of some of the shorts, documentaries and features screening at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival - with, of course, New England connections.

If you’re headed to Park City this January, skip the slopes and catch some of the films screening at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.  We’ve scoured the list for a handful of shorts, docs and features that have New England connections.  For more information on these films and for screening dates and times, visit Also be sure to check out the roster at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival ( which always is sure to feature a handful of wonderful off-beat New England hits.

The films screening at Sundance this year include:

Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture

U.S.A., 2005, 60 Minutes, color
Director:  Byron Hurt 
Screenwriter:  Byron Hurt    

This documentary examines representations of manhood, sexism and homophobia in Hip-Hop culture. Conceived as a ‘loving critique’ of certain disturbing developments in rap music culture from a long-time Hip-Hop head and former college quarterback, Beyond Beats and Rhymes features highly revealing interviews with famous rappers such as Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes; Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons, along with cultural commentary from Michael Eric Dyson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Kevin Powell, and Sarah Jones. Beyond Beats and Rhymes features on-the-street interviews with aspiring rappers at Hip-Hop events, as well as interviews with young women at Spelman College. 

N.E. Connection: Activist and documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt founded God Bless the Child Productions in 1993, while attending Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. 

The Bleeding Heart of It

Canada, 2005, 8 Minutes, color
Director:  Louise Bourque 
Screenwriter: Louise Bourque 

Our childhood ideals melt and deteriorate, like the footage of Bourque’s childhood (shot by her father). An oppressively grim vision of innocence lost, of promises unfulfilled.

N.E. Connection: Louise Bourque is a French Canadian filmmaker who has taught cinema in Boston.


U.S.A., 2005, 7 Minutes, color
Director: Daniel Sousa  

A woman’s and man’s passions are overshadowed by their predatory instincts.

N.E. Connection: Dan Sousa studied at Rhode Island School of Design and worked at Olive Jar Studios in Boston. Read the interview with him in this months 
Director(s) Bios

One Sung Hero

U.S.A., 2005, 10 Minutes, color
Director: Samantha Kurtzman-Counter
Screenwriter: Lara Spotts 

A 34-year-old copy-machine salesperson (by day) finds her true calling as a karaoke missionary.

N.E. Connection: Associate Producer William Fraser is a Damariscotta, Maine native. 

Puccini for Beginners 

United States, 2006, color
Director: Maria Maggenti  
Screenwriter: Maria Maggenti 

On the rebound from her latest lesbian relationship, a New York writer finds herself in two surprising complicated love affairs in this only-in-New-York screwball comedy.

N.E. Connection: Maria Maggenti studied philosophy and classics at Smith College.

So Much So Fast

U.S.A., 2005, 87 Minutes, color
Director:  Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan 
Screenwriter: Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan   

So Much So Fast unfolds like a nonfiction novel. Stephen Heywood finds out he has ALS. His brother Jamie becomes obsessed with finding a cure. The woman who’s falling in love with Stephen has a decision to make. A black-humored cliffhanger of romance, guerilla science and the redefinition of time from Academy Award nominees Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan.

N.E. Connection: Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan’s West City Films, Inc. is located in Newton, Massachusetts.

Through the Ice

U.S.A., 2005, 6 Minutes, color
Director:  Jennie Livingston 

Early morning dog walkers relate a tragic story.

N.E. Connection: Jennie Livingston attended Yale University.

Old Joy

U.S.A., 2005, 83 Minutes, color
Director: Kelly Reichardt 
Screenwriter: Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt 

Two old friends, Mark and Kurt, reunite for a weekend camping trip in the mountains outside Portland, Oregon. 

N.E. Connection: Kelly Reichardt attended Massachusetts College of Art and graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.