The Korean film Jiseul was awarded the highest award in its category, the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema at Sundance 2013. At its final screening on Sunday, January 27, at a nearly full Eccles auditorium, the largest and most coveted screening space at the festival, the film’s introducer said of the award, “The jury was unanimous, and felt it was an easy decision.” For audiences, the film is both difficult and stunning, standing out for its dramatically different look and feel.
“You’re waaaaay more commercial than me! You’re blowing up!” Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) reported her husband and collaborator Jared Hess saying about her on the Saturday after the premiere of her directorial debut Austenland, at Sundance’s sold-out Eccles auditorium, January 18th.
The “wow” factor at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is the strong presence of female directors in the program’s offerings–for the first time in the festival’s history, 50% of the directors are women. It will be fun to see if this new parity for women at the festival changes the film landscape in the coming years: will the stories be different? What will the films look like? Will the female characters speak more, be more nuanced, have more onscreen time, challenge traditional stereotypes?