2011 Sundance Docs in Focus: CONNECTED

Tiffany Shlain’s US Documentary Competition title, CONNECTED, serves, as its tagline tells us, as “a declaration of interdependence.”

Sundance Program Description:

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, CONNECTED, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a brain surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess.

With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization. CONNECTED illuminates the beauty and tragedy of human endeavor while boldly championing the importance of personal connectedness for understanding and coping with today’s global conditions.

Some Background:
Shlain, who may be best known as the founder of the Webby Awards, has been to Sundance before with two short films – in 2003 with LIFE, LIBERTY & THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and in 2006 with THE TRIBE, which went on to became the top most downloaded short on iTunes. Her latest short, YELP (WITH APOLOGIES TO ALLEN GINSBERG’S “HOWL,” is also screening at the festival this year.

Why You Should Watch:
Like fellow US Doc Competition filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s MISS REPRESENTATION, one of CONNECTED’s strengths is the pragmatic perspective Shlain comes from. She looks at the interdependency of, well, just about everything on a macro level while grounding it within the micro level of her personal relationships with her dying father and unborn child – coincidentally Siebel Newsom’s inspiration for her own film. Unlike other docs where the presence of the filmmaker begs the question “why is she even in this?,” Shlain’s connection to her father, and his own history of writing about interconnectivity, perfectly dovetail with the film’s concerns and with Shlain’s theories.

Screening Info:
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has a website, including a mailing list sign-up, and a Facebook page to keep you updated on future screenings and other plans.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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