KSR IRL: Beloved by critics and audiences alike, if you haven’t seen Dee Rees’ PARIAH yet: run, don’t walk. One of our favorite Kickstarter projects of 2011 and a breakout hit at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, PARIAH is one you simply cannot miss!
PARIAH is important, not simply as a promising directorial debut, but also as the most visible example of the mini-movement of young black filmmakers telling stories that complicate assumptions about what “black film” can be by embracing thorny issues of identity, alienation and sexuality.
Director Dee Rees had been independently financing Pariah, a coming of age feature about a Brooklyn teenager who struggles with conflicting identities, for over five years. After filming wrapped, she launched a Kickstarter project, hoping to complete post-production in time for Sundance. Not only did her successful campaign do just that, but the film’s cinematographer Bradford Young won the award for Excellence in Cinematography Award, US Dramatic Competition. We only wish we could have been there when, upon the award’s announcement, Dee called out to Bradford: “Yo! You won the cinematography award!”
In addition to receiving critical accolades, Pariah was picked up by Focus Films, the popular art-house film distributor responsible for Academy Award-winning movies like Traffic, Lost in Translation, and Brokeback Mountain, among others. This makes Pariah the first film in Kickstarter history to have been bought by a major distributor! Very exciting news, and congrats to the whole team!
The tantalizing Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles was crowned winner of the U.S. Documentary Competition Directing Award. In his victory speech, director Jon Foy, who dropped out of school and moved to Philadelphia in 2005 to pursue completion of the film, said, “I had no idea that such things were possible in life. Just a few weeks ago I was a housecleaner… This is for all the artists working in obscurity out there… Never give up, because if you do, you know what will happen. If you don’t give up, you don’t know what will happen.”
We’re right there with you, Jon. Congrats to all the Kickstarter films at Sundance this year! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next.