2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

measure of all thingsShifting over to the festival’s innovative New Frontier section for this last day of 2014 Sundance doc profiles: Sam Green’s latest live documentary, THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS, a meditation on mankind’s sense of self.

Sundance Program Description:

Acclaimed documentarian Sam Green began experimenting with “live documentary” storytelling at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival with UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS. Green returns to Sundance to develop the form with THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS, a playful and beautifully poetic meditation on humanity, loosely inspired by the Guinness World Records book series.

Green interprets our collective fascination with the book of world records as a profound need to try and make some sense of who we are by calibrating human experience and marveling at its outer contours. Green himself travels to various reaches of the earth to collect original footage of record-holding people, places, and things—the tallest man, the woman with the longest name, the oldest living thing on the planet. He weaves into these original portraits a rich assembly of archival footage, his own live narration, and an evocative live soundtrack from the chamber group yMusic to create an indelible rumination on fate, human endeavor, and the nature of our existence on Earth.

Some Background:
Green has brought several past projects to Park City, including docs UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS (2010) and THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (2003, Oscar nominee); shorts UTOPIA, PART 3: THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL (2009), LOT 63, GRAVE C (2006), N JUDAH 5:30 (2004), and PIE FIGHT ’69 (2001); and dramatic feature THE RAINBOW MAN/JOHN 3:16 (1997). Producers include Brooklyn’s ArKtype, founded by Thomas O Kriegsmann to support artists who incorporate live performance in their work; and C41 Media, the production company founded by Pete Sillen and Brendan Doyle. Sillen serves as cinematographer here, and also shot Sundance alum OLD JOY (2006), and directed Sundance shorts BRANSON: MUSICLAND USA (2003) and SPEED RACER (1994). Green’s frequent cinematographer Andrew Black also shot the project, having also worked on both UTOPIAs, LOT 63, and THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, as well as Sundance alums SCOUT’S HONOR (2001, audience award winner), and DRYLONGSO (1999). Annie Dorsen, Green’s creative collaborator for the project, was a participant in Sundance’s Theatre Lab with the 2008 Broadway musical PASSING STRANGE, which she co-created and directed.

Why You Should Watch:
Green has carved out a distinctive space with his live documentary projects, which have previously covered such diverse terrain as San Francisco fog, futurist architect Buckminster Fuller, and the utopian impulse. His newest effort continues this amalgam of live performance, music, narration, archival, and newly shot material in a speculation about why we’re fascinated by extremes within the human experience.

More Info:
Green recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the project, which offers a sneak peek at elements from the film. For more information, visit the project’s website and Facebook page. Should they become available, I’ll link to Green’s Meet the Artist Sundance video profile and to his Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2014 Twitter list.

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

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