The Sundance Institute released the name of the six juries awarding prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Among the members of 2014’s U.S. Dramatic Jury, most will be familiar faces with respectable pedigrees. The committee of five will include critics Dana Stevens and Leonard Maltin as well filmmakers Peter Saraf (The Kings of Summer), Lone Scherfig (An Education) and Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects).
U.S. DRAMATIC JURY
Leonard Maltin is best known for his annual Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and his 30-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and appears on Reelz Channel. Maltin’s books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Disney Films, and The Art of the Cinematographer. He has served as president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, votes on selections for the National Film Registry, and sits on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He also hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series. Maltin has received awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, the Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. He holds court at leonardmaltin.com and on his self-named YouTube channel.
Peter Saraf’s producing credits include The Kings of Summer, Safety Not Guaranteed, Our Idiot Brother, Jack Goes Boating, Sunshine Cleaning, Away We Go, Is Anybody There?, Little Miss Sunshine, Everything Is Illuminated, The Truth About Charlie, Adaptation, Ulee’s Gold, and the feature documentaries Mandela and The Agronomist. He recently completed work on Gods Behaving Badly and is in postproduction on Me Him Her. Saraf has been nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards and has won multiple other honors, including Independent Spirit, Gotham, and Producers Guild of America awards. He is the co-founder of Big Beach, a New York–based independent film-production and financing company. Saraf is also the current chair of the Producers Guild of America East.
Lone Scherfig began her career directing award-winning commercials and television dramas in her native Denmark. Her first feature as director, The Birthday Trip, premiered at the 1991 Berlin International Film Festival, and her second feature, On Our Own, won the Grand Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival. Scherfig wrote and directed Denmark’s fifth Dogme film, Italian for Beginners, which won the Silver Bear, the FIPRESCI Prize, and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival. Her first English-language film, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, which she co-wrote with Anders Thomas Jensen, received four British Independent Film Award nominations. Scherfig directed An Education, which won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and received Academy Award nominations for best picture, best adapted screenplay, and best actress. She is currently in postproduction on Posh.
Bryan Singer is an American filmmaker, writer, and producer who has been a tour de force for nearly 20 years. Singer’s first feature film, Public Access, was co-winner of the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Since then he’s assembled an award-winning and critically acclaimed resume with the 1995 crime-thriller classic, The Usual Suspects, which won Academy Awards for best original screenplay and best supporting actor, as well as the seminal comic-book films X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003). Singer executive-produced the Emmy Award-winning series House, as well as producing the 2011 hit X-Men: First Class. Currently, he is back at the helm of the franchise that he helped create, both directing and producing X-Men: Days of Future Past. Coming back to the Sundance Film Festival marks a return to his filmmaking roots at the festival that gave him his first major break.
Dana Stevens is the film critic at Slate.com. She is also co-host of the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast and the host of another podcast, the Slate Spoiler Special. Stevens is one of 12 contributors to the weekly “Bookends” column on the back page of the New York Times Book Review. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Stevens studied comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley and got started writing about film in 2002 with a personal movie blog, “The High Sign.” She now feels very lucky to live in Brooklyn with a man, a child, and a dog, and to get to write and talk about movies, books, and culture for a living.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 16th through the 26th in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Ceremonies for the Short Film Awards and will be held January 21 at Park City’s Jupiter Bowl and the Feature Film Awards will be livestreamed on January 25 in Park City, hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.