John Cooper, the outgoing director of the Sundance Film Festival, has been on Robert Redford’s payroll for 30 years. Many in the small world of Hollywood, and the even smaller ecosystem of global film festivals, braced at the announcement last June that Cooper would step down, taking with him decades of institutional memory. Cooper spoke […]
Rosanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano and Idina Menzel are among dozens supporting those accusing Russell Simmons of rape and sexual misconduct in the documentary “On the Record.” The music mogul has denied the accusations. The film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25. The statement of support was organized by Equality […]
As bizarre as much of the new film “Nowhere Inn” is, cowriters and costars St. Vincent — aka Annie Clark — and Carrie Brownstein are on somewhat familiar ground when it comes to playing with rock-star/media archetypes in deadpan fashion. They’d previously had satirical fun with some weirdly comedic short films they made to promote […]
Writer-director Janicza Bravo is a officially Sundance veteran. “Zola” is her second feature to premiere and her fourth time showing work at the festival. And as a such, she’s taking all of the buzz around her film — based on the 148-Tweet stripper saga that went viral in 2015 — in stride. “I can’t wait […]
Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a market for independent movies and a place to discover new talent — it’s also a barometer of current moods. In 2020, an election year, it’s not always easy to separate politics from art — and maybe it shouldn’t be, not at Sundance. Hillary Clinton will visit Park City to […]
Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway […]
Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” follows Autumn, a 17-year-old girl in rural Pennsylvania, who is pregnant and desperate to get an abortion. A minor in a state that requires parental consent, she embarks on a dangerous journey into New York City, accompanied by her cousin, to find a clinic where she can have the […]
In Julie Taymor’s official Sundance entry “The Glorias,” 80 years in the life of feminist icon Gloria Steinem unfold in chronological order. Except when they don’t. The visionary director behind “Across the Universe” says she could not bear the conventions of sweeping Hollywood biopics, which are fond of flashing title cards with years and geographic locations, among other shortcuts […]
“I feel really really good about not being muzzled anymore, and it was my own doing,” Taylor Swift reveals in the first trailer for her Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana.” The singer and songwriter gets candid in behind-the-scenes footage, saying, “Throughout my whole career label executives would just say: ‘A nice girl doesn’t force their opinions […]
Brand Storytelling is returning to Park City this year to host its fifth annual media and marketing event at the Sundance Film Festival, with a lineup of keynotes, panels, screenings, music performances and more. Launched in 2016, the company’s “festival within a festival” at Sundance will again bring together execs from major brands with media […]
In today’s film news roundup, Legion M is launching its Film Scout mobile app, the first round of Oscar presenters are unveiled, Verve is expanding its book-to-screen business, “Gladiator” producer David Franzoni boards an American Indian project, and XYZ announces promotions. SUNDANCE LAUNCH Fan-owned Legion M is launching its Film Scout mobile app at this […]
Anyone expecting this new Taylor Swift documentary to be just another concert film with some behind the scenes moments of quick costume changes and rushing backup dancers is in for a rude awakening.
According to Tay’s revelatory Variety cover profile, Taylor Swift Miss Americana is a gradual examination of how the pop star found her political voice, or as the trade rag so dramatically puts it, it’s “a portrait of the birth of an activist.” Wow.
You’d expect then, the film — which scored a prestige premiere spot on Thursday, January 23 at the Sundance Film Festival — to focus on the political issues Taylor has found herself fighting for, and how they shaped her personally. You know, LGBT equality and women’s rights.
But don’t expect a PBS political doc. This movie sounds like it’s going to deliver the goods in the way of HOT. CELEB. GOSSIP.
See, one of the most important steps on the journey to Taylor speaking out for what she believes comes from an episode in which she followed her old pattern of people-pleasing — and it blew up in her face in a way few things ever had.
We are of course talking about the incident in 2016 when Taylor publicly took offense at Kanye West‘s song Famous, in which he rapped the lines:
“Me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous”
Her outrage was answered immediately by Kim Kardashian West releasing secretly recorded audio of a phone call between the two artists in which Taylor gives Kanye the green light to one of the lyrics. The whole thing made Taylor look like a huge phony, selling feminism as a brand. But in this documentary, we are shown all of those events from her side of the story!
The Style singer hasn’t spoken much about the incident, basically NEVER talking about Kanye in public, but she did open up a bit about the experience last year. In a candid Rolling Stone interview, she explained she was trying to be magnanimous to the rapper after their earlier animosity — but he was using her desire for peace in order to ambush her later!
She claims he only shared some of the lyrics and surprised her with the most offensive stuff, and that wasn’t the first time he was “two-faced”. She revealed he’d pulled a similar stunt on her at the 2015 VMAs, personally asking her to present his award and then going on TV complaining about how MTV had chosen her.
It’s all so much duplicitous drama, and we are SO HERE FOR SEEING IT ON THE BIG SCREEN!
What does it have to do with the movie’s political journey though? Director Lana Wilson tells Variety it was her call and not Taylor’s — when she realized how much of a role Kanye has had in shutting Taylor down over the years:
“With the 2009 VMAs, it surprised me that when she talked about how the whole crowd was booing, she thought that they were booing her, and how devastating that was. That was something I hadn’t thought about or heard before, and made it much more relatable and understandable to anyone.”
Tay recalls to the outlet herself how that infamous 2009 moment affected her mental health for years:
“As a teenager who had only been in country music, attending my very first pop awards show, somebody stood up and sent me the message: ‘You are not respected here. You shouldn’t be here on this stage.’ That message was received, and it burrowed into my psyche more than anyone knew.”
And that led directly to the 2015 incident:
“That can push you one of two ways: I could have just curled up and decided I’m never going to one of those events ever again, or it could make me work harder than anyone expects me to, and try things no one expected, and crave that respect — and hopefully one day get it. But then when that person who sparked all of those feelings comes back into your life, as he did in 2015, and I felt like I finally got that respect [from West], but then soon realized that for him it was about him creating some revisionist history where he was right all along, and it was correct, right and decent for him to get up and do that to a teenage girl. I understand why Lana put it in.”
It’s not about the issues on which Taylor takes a strong moral stance. It’s about a woman learning to not let herself be shut down and silenced because she’s worried about what people think of her. Some things ARE worth fussing over!
As we said, we are SO stoked for this doc now! We’ll have to wait for the Netflix premiere later this month on January 31, then you can be sure we’ll be talking all about any revelations from the film itself.
[Image via WENN/Instar.]
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When it comes to big acquisition deals for independent movies, Sundance is the room where it happens, to borrow a lyric from “Hamilton.” So it’s a lucky coincidence that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be a guest at this year’s film festival. For the first time, Miranda will hit the slopes in Park City, Utah, to rub […]
“Not a shot. Not a single chance. Not a snowball’s chance in hell.” Taylor Swift — who, at 30, has reached a Zen state of cheerful realism — laughs as she leans into a pillow she’s placed over her crossed legs inside her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, leaning further still into her infinitesimal odds of winning […]
Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim and Jonathan King are launching Concordia Studio in partnership with Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective. Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, founded social change organization Emerson Collective in 2004. Emerson Collective became the majority owner of the Atlantic in 2017 and made an investment in 2018 in Reese […]
French actor Noémie Merlant plays a young woman who falls in love with a funfair ride in Zoé Wittock’s “Jumbo,” which is screening in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Variety spoke to her about the film, and her debut feature as director “Mi Lubita.” Merlant is viewed as one of the most promising actors of […]
Massoud Bakhshi’s second feature, “Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness,” has its world premiere in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, to be screened without the director. The pic’s production company, JBA Production, and sales outfit, Pyramide International, issued a joint statement on Jan. 14 explaining that the director won’t be attending due to the U.S.-Iran crisis, […]
Zoé Wittock’s debut feature, “Jumbo,” screening in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, is also the first feature film produced by up-and-coming French producer Anais Bertrand, of Insolence Productions, who has cut her teeth on award-winning shorts, including winning the Procirep Short Film Producer Award last year. “Jumbo” is about a young woman, played by Noémie […]
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons launched an “intense campaign” to pressure Oprah Winfrey to withdraw her support from a forthcoming film about women accusing him of misconduct, including rape, a new report says. Following the shocking, last-minute decision to remove an untitled film from noted sexual assault documentarians Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick from her overall […]
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired rights to “The Father” ahead of its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The pact takes one of the hottest titles off the block. “The Father,” based on an acclaimed stage play by Florian Zeller, stars Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. The deal is for U.S. […]