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Sundance 2013: Track Records

Let directors' previous works guide you



You might not think you’ve seen too many movies by directors in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival lineup—but chances are good that you actually have. Here’s a look at some of the filmmakers whose work you may have seen, just as an entry point into what you might expect.

Big Sur (Premieres)


Director: Michael Polish

Track Record: Polish’s films have appeared at Sundance in years past (Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork), as well as on multiplex screens (The Astronaut Farmer).

What You Might Expect: An oddball sensibility often addressing outcasts with a deliberate (read: sloooow) pace.

Breathe In (Premieres)


Director: Drake Doremus

Track Record: Sundance showed two of Doremus’ previous features, Douchebag (2010) and Like Crazy (2011).

What You Might Expect: Intense character study of friends and lovers trying to negotiate their tangled love-hate feelings for one another.

Citizen Koch (U.S. Documentary)


Directors: Tia Lessin & Carl Deal

Track Record: Lessin and Deal co-directed the 2008 Sundance documentary Trouble the Water about survivors in post-Katrina Louisiana, and have been longtime producers for Michael Moore.

What You Might Expect: Well-constructed, character-based documentary filmmaking, with a pretty direct political point.

The East (Premieres)


Director: Zal Batmanglij

Track Record: Batmanglij collaborated with screenwriter/actress Brit Marling on the 2011 Sundance feature (theatrically released in 2012) Sound of My Voice.

What You Might Expect: Psychologically dense character piece with a touch of the fantastical; like Sound of My Voice, this one looks to be about understanding cult-like mentality.

The Look of Love (Premieres)


Director: Michael Winterbottom

Track Record: A 20-year filmmaking career ranging from thrillers to documentary to drama, including several previous collaborations with actor Steve Coogan (24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story, The Trip).

What You Might Expect: An experienced hand wise enough to let Coogan’s performance carry the film.

The Rambler (Midnight)


Director: Calvin Reeder

Track Record: Reeder’s previous feature, the dark drama The Oregonian, showed at Sundance in 2011, where the reception was … less than rapturous. As in “lots of walk-outs.”

What You Might Expect: Attempts at a David Lynch-ian mix of surreal humor and genuine terror, with a lot of experimental use of both sound and editing.

Stoker (Premieres)


Director: Chan-wook Park

Track Record: Several tales of at-times-graphic horror, whether supernatural (Thirst) or based squarely in the brutal real world (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance).

What You Might Expect: Park’s first English-language feature may have a cast of stars like Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska, but it’s hard to believe his dark-edged sensibility won’t emerge somewhere.

Touchy Feely (U.S. Dramatic)


Director: Lynn Shelton

Track Record: The hilarious Humpday was one of the best films in the 2009 Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition; Your Sister’s Sister was featured at Sundance in 2012.

What You Might Expect: Perceptive relationship comedy with a decidedly “adult” approach that stays genuine and avoids cutesy indie-film pitfalls.

Upstream Color (U.S. Dramatic)


Director: Shane Carruth

Track Record: Only one previous film, but it’s a doozy: His 2004 time-travel suspense-drama Primer was an amazing discovery at that year’s Sundance.

What You Might Expect: Something steeped in a respect for hard science, yet genuinely mind-bending in the way it deals with how people respond to radical shifts in their sense of reality.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (Documentary Premieres)


Director: Alex Gibney

Track Record: More than a decade of intriguing documentaries, ranging from politically charged Sundance films like Taxi to the Dark Side and Casino Jack & the United States of Money to the ESPN Chicago Cubs/Steve Bartman profile Catching Hell.

What You Might Expect: Terrific sense of editing rhythm that turns “talking heads” into characters and can make complex issues understandable for lay-viewers. 

Also in Sundance Film Festival 2013 Guide:

Finding your Level: How to find your kind of films

By the Book: What to expect from films based on source material

Music Makers: Who's playing Sundance this year

Slamdance: Carving out its own Park City space