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11 Indie Films Make Digital Debut Today via Sundance Institute’s Artist Services ('Tall As The Baobab Tree,' 'Happy Sad,' 'Dear Mandela')

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 14, 2014 at 1:13PM

11 Indie Films Make Digital Debut Today via Sundance Institute’s Artist Services ('Tall As The Baobab Tree,' 'Happy Sad,' 'Dear Mandela')
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"Tall as the Baobab Tree."
"Tall as the Baobab Tree."

Sundance Institute today announced the 11 independent films now available through a variety of platforms and storefronts, via the Institute’s Artist Services program, which provides artists supported by the Institute with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing for their work. 

For details visit sundance.org/nowplaying

Titles will be available on a variety of platforms, including iTunesAmazon Instant VideoMicrosoft XboxSony Entertainment NetworkSundanceNOWVUDU and YouTube.

I already highlighted one of the 11 films on this list, earlier today, Otelo Burning. But there are S&A-covered titles on the list that you should be aware of - titles that I'm just learning are also now available via this Artist Services program; otherwise I certainly would've mentioned them earlier as well.

They include:

Happy Sad (Director: Rodney Evans) — Two young couples in New York—one black and gay, one white and heterosexual—find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity, and redefine monogamy. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)

Tall as the Baobab Tree (Director: Jeremy Teicher) — In a rural African village poised at the outer edge of the modern world, a teenage girl hatches a secret plan to rescue her 11-year-old sister from an arranged marriage. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)

Dear Mandela (Directors: Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza) — When their shantytowns are threatened with mass eviction, three ‘young lions’ of South Africa’s born free generation rise from the shacks and take their government to the highest court in the land, putting the promises of democracy to the test. (2010 Documentary Composers Lab and Creative Producing Documentary Lab)

Reporter (Director and Screenwriter: Eric Daniel Metzgar) — Reporter is the Emmy-nominated documentary film about Nicholas Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. The film tracks him on a harrowing reporting trip through the Democratic Republic of Congo. (2009 Sundance Film Festival)

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins (Director: Pietra Brettkelly) — Artist Vanessa Beecroft’s obsession to ‘save’ orphaned twins raises questions of a contemporary white woman’s right to adopt into the first world. Passion spills into her controversial art—including photographs of herself breast-feeding the twins, and a Venice Biennale performance of black women doused in blood-red paint. (2008 Sundance Film Festival)


These films, and the 6 others below, are making their digital premiere today, on the many platforms listed above.

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins (Director: Pietra Brettkelly) — Artist Vanessa Beecroft’s obsession to ‘save’ orphaned twins raises questions of a contemporary white woman’s right to adopt into the first world. Passion spills into her controversial art—including photographs of herself breast-feeding the twins, and a Venice Biennale performance of black women doused in blood-red paint. (2008 Sundance Film Festival)

Breakfast With Curtis (Director and Screenwriter: Laura Colella) — Syd, an eccentric bookseller with delusions of grandeur fueled by red wine, caused a rift five years ago between the freewheeling bohemian residents of his house and the family next door. He now drafts his young neighbor, Curtis, into a creative collaboration that sparks a season of change for all. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Film Independent)


Dear Mandela (Directors: Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza) — When their shantytowns are threatened with mass eviction, three ‘young lions’ of South Africa’s born free generation rise from the shacks and take their government to the highest court in the land, putting the promises of democracy to the test. (2010 Documentary Composers Lab and Creative Producing Documentary Lab)

Happy Sad (Director: Rodney Evans) — Two young couples in New York—one black and gay, one white and heterosexual—find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity, and redefine monogamy. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)

The Light in Her Eyes (Directors: Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix) — Houda al-Habash, a conservative woman preacher in Damascus, Syria, calls girls to the practice of Islam, teaching them that pursuing their ambitions is a way of worshipping God. (FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue)


Otelo Burning (Director: Sara Blecher) — Based on true events, Otelo Burning follows three teenage friends looking for an escape during the turmoil of South Africa’s apartheid, who discover freedom through the joy of surfing. Forced to choose between pursuing their dreams and fighting for justice, Otelo Burning is a gripping tale of courage, love, betrayal, hope and finding your freedom. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Independent Filmmaker Project)


Reporter (Director and Screenwriter: Eric Daniel Metzgar) — Reporter is the Emmy-nominated documentary film about Nicholas Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. The film tracks him on a harrowing reporting trip through the Democratic Republic of Congo. (2009 Sundance Film Festival)


The Talent Given Us (Director: Andrew Wagner) — A retired New York City couple drive across the country to reconnect with their reclusive son, joined by their two unmarried daughters. (2005 Sundance Film Festival)

Tall as the Baobab Tree (Director: Jeremy Teicher) — In a rural African village poised at the outer edge of the modern world, a teenage girl hatches a secret plan to rescue her 11-year-old sister from an arranged marriage. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)

Towheads (Director: Shannon Plumb) — A mother of two tries to balance her artistic aspirations with the demands of motherhood in this playful look at the difficulties families face everyday. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Film Independent)

When Billy Broke His Head (Directors: Billy Golfus and David E. Simpson) — When Billy Broke His Head...and Other Tales of Wonder is an entertaining, irreverent road movie about disability, civil rights, and the search for intelligent life after brain damage. (1995 Sundance Film Festival)

This article is related to: New On VOD, VOD


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