Craig Zobel (Compliance), left, with David and Nathan Zellner (Kid Thing). Photo by Eugene Hernandez / FSLC.
Tuesday's edition of “The Daily Buzz” opened with the tragic news of the death of friend and indie film champion Bingham Ray, an attempt to move past the shock of his loss and into a discussion of his singular legacy. It’s a long discussion.
David Douris, who knew Ray since high school, joined FIlm Society's’s Eugene Hernandez and Christine Vachon of Killer Films to pin down what his work ultimately meant to independent film and to the industry at large. They focused on the much-debated Happiness (1998), which they cited as a turning point in Hollywood’s romance with independent film in the 1990s. Asked to parse Ray’s impact for a new generation, Dorius said he showed that “the films have to be good, you have to respect your directors, you have to fight to protect what you’re making—and recognize that it is a fight.”
Subsequent guests included Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics, who discussed what led Midnight to Paris to four Oscar nominations and some of the best box office of Woody Allen’s career, and brothers David and Nathan Zellner, Sundance habitués who returned this year with Kid Thing. The latter were joined by Craig Zobel, who was at the festival with Compliance, his intensely received film about the disturbing fallout of a prank call to the manager of a fast-food joint.
Tuesday’s guest of honor, however, was Stan Lee, who appeared with the director of a new documentary on him, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. Turning 90 this year, Lee charmingly hijacked the discussion to explain why they made a movie about him (“I was adorable”) and even ruminated on the enduring popularity of comic books.
The show wound down with inevitable discussion of the Oscar nominations with several critics, which homed in on an overall sense of film nostalgia in this year’s top contenders—or, as one guest less charitably put it, Hollywood’s desire to celebrate itself.
Listen to the whole podcast of Tuesday's show above. Track us anytime on Twitter, ask questions or join the conversation using: #SundanceBuzz.