Festival Preview: Sundance London 2012

on Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Sundance London (02 Arena, 26-29 April '12) // Words: Saam Das

The widely acclaimed Sundance Festival makes its first appearance outside of its Utah home when it comes to London's O2 Arena this week. Bringing us a selection of features and shorts from American independent cinema as well as special musical performances and events, we're very excited to welcome Robert Redford and company to London. I've chosen a handful of films and musical events to recommend below.

14 UK film premieres will occur during the festival, as well as a world premiere or two, and one-off musical performances from the likes of Placebo and a collaboration between Tricky and Martina Topley-Bird. Aside from those events, I've carefully hand-picked six of my own highlights of Sundance London, ones which I hope will appeal to you also.

An Evening With Robert Redford And T Bone Burnett (Thurs 26th, 8pm)

A very special event on the opening night of Sundance London - a discussion of the relationship between film and music between 12 time Grammy Award winner T Bone Burnett and Robert Redford, complete with film clips, moderated by popular author Nick Hornby. Furthermore, Guillemots and Glen Hansard will be performing, the latter of whom is an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, and more recently contributed two songs to 'The Hunger Games' soundtrack.

'Shut Up And Play The Hits' (repeated showings)

This much anticipated LCD Soundsystem documentary chronicles the final 48 hours of James Murphy's project, spotlighting their triumphant last gig at Madison Square Garden while also capturing Murphy's reflections on the morning after. Undoubtedly, a unique insight into the death of a band.

'Extranjero' (Sun 29th, 7.30pm)

The winner of the inaugural Sundance London Short Film competition, this five minute short from Daniel Lumb and Crinan Campbell took on the entry theme of "Story Of Our Time", offering a unique perspective on immigration. 'Extranjero' screens as part of the Short Film Programme on the final evening of the festival.

Rufus And Martha Wainwright Sing Kate McGarrible (Sun 29th, 5pm)

A performance by two substantial solo artists in their own right, Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, who as their names suggest, happen to be siblings. This event ties in with Sundance London's world premiere of Lian Lunson’s film about the music of folk singer Kate McGarrigle, the late mother of the two Wainwrights.

'Under African Skies' (repeated showings)

Paul Simon has undergone an unexpected cultural renaissance in recent years with the influence of his afro-pop inspired 'Graceland' which has propelled the likes of Vampire Weekend to worldwide fame. Here, Simon returns to South Africa to examine the history of that album, and how his actions were seen as breaking the UN's cultural boycott of the country and the resulting political implications.

Daughter live at The Music Cafe (Fri 27th, 6.40pm)

One of the FG tips for 2012, Elena Tonra et al have excitingly just signed to 4AD. Indeed, this is perhaps their first gig since that record deal, and consequently something of a celebration in itself. Although they are only performing a 20 minute set here, that is roughly 19 minutes more than needed to demonstrate the outstanding talent on offer. Similarly, acts like Cosmo Jarvis, Gabrielle Aplin and fellow tips for 2012 The Staves (all at The Music Cafe) are worth investigating.

Sundance London begins on 26th April. For more info and ticketing details, go to sundance-london.com.

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