WEEK IN WOMEN: Tabitha Jackson is new Sundance Film Festival Director — Brancy McDonnell reports

The Sundance Film Festival has named Tabitha Jackson its new festival director. Jackson, who was previously the Sundance Institute’s documentary program director, was announced as the prestigious American film festival’s new leader during its awards ceremony. She is the first woman, the first person of color and the first Brit to lead the annual independent film festival.

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CUTIES – Review by Lynnette Nicholas

Writer-director Maimouna Doucoure’s Cuties candidly and successfully depicts the intersection of budding adolescence, religion, binding generational beliefs, and the courage that it takes to break free from oppressive ideologies that no longer serve the mental and emotional health of women and young girls.

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Women At Sundance 2020: Cause for Celebration – Leslie Combemale reports

The Women at Sundance Celebration will be one of the highlights of my festival. I’m sure that’s true for many of those who attended it. It highlighted not only the work of two American icons, it celebrated new voices of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures, and it did so in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation. That is the essence of the female gaze.

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MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Although she notes “That was the first, and it wasn’t going to be the last, unfortunately,” the film – also unfortunately – doesn’t delve too deeply into pesky issues like Davis’ violence toward women. (His other two wives, singer Betty Mabry and actor Cicely Tyson, are both still living but aren’t interviewed.)

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MOONLIGHT SONATA: DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The story picks up when Jonas, an ornery, action-packed 11-year-old taking piano lessons, becomes enamored of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” He is determined to learn the piece even though his teacher warns him that it may be too difficult musically as well as emotionally for someone his age.

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BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo makes his feature film debut with the crowd-pleasing comedy, which won an audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. A playwright, he based the movie on his real-life best friend, which may account for the fact that it dodges easy answers and superficial uplifts in favor of a story that’s more meaningful, humorous and true-to-life.

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THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO – Review by Brandy McDonnell

In a cinematic era when so many movies seem to drown in exposition, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” addresses a myriad of deep and timely issues – gentrification and displacement, drug addiction and broken homes, toxic masculinity and gun violence – all without ever talking about them directly. Although the storytelling could be tightened up a bit, the film is a stunning feature debut for both its director and star as well as one of the best films of the year.

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