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Waititi to return to Sundance

Taika Waititi is named a jury member for the upcoming Sundance festival. He’ll serve on the World Cinema Dramatic Jury, considering titles including John Maclean’s NZ-shot debut feature Slow West.

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Oddly, Waititi still gets invited to dinner in Utah

Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s What We Do in the Shadows premiered in Sundance’s out-of-competition Park City at Midnight selection in January. Waititi’s short Tama Tu and features Boy and Eagle vs Shark, which was developed in part at the Sundance Directors Lab, were all selected. He also appeared in front of the camera in Nash Edgerton’s short The Captain which played Sundance in 2012.

Closer to home Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, to be produced with Piki partners Carthew Neal and Leanne Saunders, was one of five features offered production investment by the NZFC out of the December board meeting.

Slow West is one of four titles with NZ connections selected for Sundance. Three, including Slow West, are co-productions, the others being Jake Mahaffy’s US-NZ short AD 1363, The End of Chivalry , and the Ant Timpson and Tim Riley-produced NZ-Canada feature Turbo Kid. The final title with NZ links is Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah, which shot here early in the year.

Sundance will present its awards at two ceremonies. The short film awards will be presented on 28 January (NZ time) with the majority of the awards handed out on 1 February (NZ time). The main awards event will be streamed via the Sundance website.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs 23 January 22 – 2 February NZ time.

The jury members are:

US Documentary Jury
the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Eugene Hernandez; cinematographer and director Kirsten Johnson (Citizen Four, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity, The Invisible War); NPR host and correspondent Michele Norris; Kartemquin Films producer Gordon Quinn (Hoop Dreams, Stevie, The Interrupters, Life Itself); and director Roger Ross Williams, whose God Loves Uganda closed this year’s Doc Edge Festival.

US Dramatic Jury
Cinematographer Lance Acord (Where the Wild Things Are, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation, Being John Malkovich); editor Sarah Flack (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring); Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) and ,True Detective, for which he won an Emmy; actress Winona Ryder (The Iceman, Turks and Caicos, Black Swan); and writer and director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) who also co-write Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, produced by Peter Jackson.

World Cinema Documentary Jury
Director of Mexico’s doco-supporting trust Ambulante Elena Fortes Acosta; filmmaker Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey, Here be Dragons, A Story of Children and Film); and Tribeca’s Ingrid Kopp, a mentor for this year’s DOC Lab.

World Cinema Dramatic Jury
Director Mia Hanson-Løve (All is Forgiven, Father Of My Children); IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham; and Taika Waititi.

Short Film Jury
Production designer K.K. Barrett (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, Being John Malkovich); actress Alia Shawkat (Me Him Her, Green Room, Arrested Development); photographer and director Autumn de Wilde (Transparent, Girls, 50 Shades of Grey).

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