5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT SUNDANCE

UTAH – Sundance is American Independent cinema’s annual gathering, taking place in the high altitude resort of Park City and promoted by Robert Redford. But how much do we really know about this most secretive of cinematic happenings.

The Studio Exec FACT squad – under the direction of Steven Soderbergh – were dropped by helicopter to find out.

1. Although success at Sundance is a guarantee of lifelong wealth (see Steven Soderbergh), failure at Sundance can result in the payment of a terrible price. Filmmakers whose films are met with anything less than enthusiasm are ritually stripped of their clothes and forced to run through the snow in the nude, midst pelting stones and stinging mockery. 

2. The name Sundance comes from a role that Robert Redford played in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. However, for the first seven years of its thirty year existence the festival went by a number of names, including: ‘The Big Halsy Fest’, ‘The Sting Fest’ and the ‘The Bob Woodward Festival for the Appreciation of the Cinematic Arts.’

 3. Paul Newman also started a film festival in Berlin, Germany called ‘The Butch Cassidy Film Festival’ but he was so cool, he forgot to tell anybody about it and, after a disastrous inauguration year, it changed its name to ‘The Berlin Cassidy Film Festival’ and then ‘The Berlin Film Festival.’

4. Approximately 62% of the state of Utah are Mormons, which means for a film to be shown, there must be no scenes of coffee drinking and at least two wives per male character. 

5. The first film ever to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival was The Bad News Bears Go To Japan. The filmmakers were stripped naked and forced to run through the snow in the nude, midst pelting stones and stinging mockery.

For more FACTS click HERE.

FIRST LOOK AT JESSICA CHASTAIN AS DAVID BOWIE IN STARMAN

LONDON – He was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and even David Robert Jones, but now David Bowie is the subject of a new biopic entitled Starman, to be directed by Robert Redford and starring Jessica Chastain as the Thin White Duke himself.

The news came just days after Chastain lost out to Scarlett Johansson to play the First Lady in the new Hillary Clinton biopic Rodham (for more on that story CLICK HERE). With a photograph released showing Chastain in the guise of the Ziggy Stardust crack’d actor himself, the fan world is delirious at the prospect of the film. 

Director Robert Redford spoke exclusively to Studio Exec about the project:

Starman has been in the works since the eighties, but the script was never quite right. I’ve always been fascinated by Bowie and especially his androgyny, his drug taking and his willingness to push the boundaries to often dangerous degrees. In those respects I think we’re very, very similar.    

Has Bowie collaborated on the project?

I know that he knows about it, because we obviously had to approach his people about rights and what have you, but I feel both camps have been respectfully wary. We don’t want to get too close and they are interested in seeing what we’ll come up with.

 And what about the rival Tilda Swinton project [entitled Moonlight Daydream Oh Yeah]?

I can’t really comment on that, except to say that Bowie is a big enough player for there to be many films about the man.

What is your own personal attachment to Bowie?

As I said earlier, I think our careers are very similar. When I did Butch people were saying ‘Woah! Gay cowboys?’ but then Brokeback Mountain comes along and well … Nowadays I listen to his music all the time, I often go to parties dressed as Bowie and people are like ‘When’s Redford coming?’ Ha ha! Ha ha, ha.

Starman is due to be released in 2017.