Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 02:02 pm est

Buzz builds for Sundance selections

Posted on February 2, 2014 | by Zack Grullon

via flickr

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival showcased new films expected to please audiences in the coming year. For the past 30 years, the festival has provided an oasis for new and niche filmmakers to premiere their films and has become one of the most important independent film festivals in the United States.

This year’s festival saw many directors returning with new films. Zach Braff reappeared at Sundance after a decade with “Wish I Was Here.” Critics say the film deals with similar themes as his previous film, “Garden State,” such as father issues, oddball friends and unfulfilled goals. After “The Guard” hit Sundance in 2011, writer-director John Michael McDonagh returned with a completely different starring vehicle for Brendan Gleeson in “Calvary,” wherein Gleeson plays a melancholy priest whose life is threatened during a confession. Writer-director Gregg Araki is a regular at Sundance, having premiered nine films there in his career, and this year he showcased yet another strange coming-of-age story — “White Bird in a Blizzard,” featuring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green.

Some of the feature films premiered at Sundance stemmed from shorts played at the festival in years prior. The festival’s opening film “Whiplash” started as a short from writer-director Damien Chazelle. The story involves a young, aspiring drummer (Miles Teller) who receives Sgt. Hartman-esque training from a music instructor (J.K. Simmons) to prepare the boy for his school’s showcase competitive band. Chazelle’s film won this year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition and Audience Awards. Kat Candler’s “Hellion” also started as a short at Sundance in 2012. The feature stars Aaron Paul as a broken father of two children alongside Sundance breakout Josh Wiggins.

Many A-list actors at Sundance this year are starring in atypical fare. “Frank,” based on the real life enigmatic English comedian-turned-musician Chris Sievey, features Michael Fassbender wearing a papier-mâché head for the majority of the film that showcases Fassbender’s finesse with body language and delivery in a musical dramedy. “Camp X-Ray” features Kristen Stewart as a guard at Guantanamo Bay who develops a relationship with one of the prisoners. While the film itself has received mixed reception, critics have been lauding Stewart’s performance.

“Saturday Night Live” comedians Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig took more serious roles in “The Skeleton Twins,” the story of twins who reconnect after faking their deaths to escape their boring lives. “The Voices,” a horror-comedy from Marjane Satrapi, stars Ryan Reynolds as a factory worker who seeks advice from his talking pets.

Nevertheless, of all these entries Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” has garnered the most prestige. Linklater has filmed scenes for a few weeks every year since 2002 in order to capture the real-life growth of a child to a young adult. Featuring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and newcomer Ellar Coltrane, the film tells the story of a boy growing up as his parents’ relationship disintegrates. An innovative and remarkable feat in storytelling, critics expect “Boyhood” to make an impact in theaters.

So far, only festival attendees have seen the films, but distributors large and small have already picked up many of them. Moviegoers should look out for these titles in theaters throughout the year.

Zack Grullon is a contributing writer. Email him at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.