Synopses & Reviews
A formidable new generation of American filmmakers are currently in their prime: Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, to name but six. Call them The Sundance Kids
A conspicuous number of these talents first kick-started their careers in the workshops of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute in Utah; or made the big time after screening their work at the Sundance Film Festival. Nowadays, acclaimed movies such as Payne's Sideways, Jonze's Adaptation and Coppola's Lost in Translation have got people talking of another Hollywood "golden age," not seen since the so-called "New Hollywood" of the 1970s spearheaded by Scorsese, Altman, and Sofia Coppola's father, Francis.
In this comprehensive study, James Mottram traces the roots of this new generation to Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies and videotape a low-budget tour de force that premièred at Sundance en route to conquering Cannes and, indeed, persuading some of the "Sundance Kids" to first pick up a camera. Mottram proceeds to analyse each director and their oeuvre, placing each carefully within the context of the ever-changing landscape of American cinema over the last fifteen years.
Mottram also explores the ambiguous meaning of "independence" at a time when most of these young mavericks find their financing through specialist subsidiary arms of the Hollywood studios. But he also draws the needful comparisons with that "golden age" of the 1970s, when free-thinking directors used studio funds to further their own idiosyncratic visions. As such, he poses the question are we witnessing The New Hollywood, Part II?
"The book has many virtues....Mottram has given us a valuable, detailed map to the newest New Wave in Hollywood." Los Angeles Times
"[O]ffers a wider view and more critical analysis of individual films, including coverage of two female directors." Library Journal
"James Mottram makes clear the impact Sundance and all its players has had on the so-called Hollywood studio system....The result is an enjoyable read, full of a wealth of information that leaves us asking, 'what next?'" Milo Addica, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Monster's Ball
An appreciation of the young turks who took hold of Hollywood in the nineties: from P. T. Anderson to Spike Jonze to the godfather of them all, Steven Soderbergh
Hollywood is undergoing a renaissance, spawned by a vanguard of auteurs who for more than a decade have managed to turn La-La Land upside down. With films like Boogie Nights, Rushmore, Being John Malkovich, and Memento, young filmmakers have in many ways forced the major studios to march to the beat of their very different drummer.
In Sundance Kids, James Mottram paints a vibrant portrait of Hollywood as it stands today. Focusing on writers and directors who made their debuts in the nineties, Mottram takes a close look at how these mavericks have impacted the cinematic landscape. He explores the current state of the Hollywood studios; what it can mean now to be "independent" in the wake of mini-majors like Miramax and New Line; the particular influence of uncompromising artists like Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino; the unique platform provided them by the Sundance Film Festival; the contribution of British filmmakers like Sam Mendes to the mix; and how, for the first time since Paddy Chayefsky, writers such as Charlie Kaufman are becoming household names while playing a key part in the new Hollywood.
Focusing on writers and directors who made their debuts in the '90s, Mottram takes a close look at how these mavericks have impacted the cinematic landscape. He explores the current state of the Hollywood studios; what it can mean now to be "independent; " and the particular influence of uncompromising artists like Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino.
About the Author
James Mottram is the author of The Making of Memento (Faber, 2002). He lives in London.