This week’s profiles begin with the penultimate title in the Documentary Premieres section: TIG, a candid portrait of a comedian’s struggles with illness, love, and career.
Sundance Program Description:
“Good evening, I have cancer,” comedian Tig Notaro famously announced in front of a stunned audience back in 2012. “Everyone having a good time? I have cancer.” In just 30 minutes, Notaro not only revealed her grave prognosis, she delivered the news with a disarming mixture of humor and vulnerability. The set became a media sensation and critical smash overnight and, as Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York’s new documentary reveals, helped push the beloved comedian past a series of devastating setbacks. Having just recovered from a life-threatening infection and still in mourning over her mother’s sudden passing, Notaro’s subsequent discovery of bilateral breast cancer left her no choice but to turn profound pain into an ongoing punch line, both on and off the stage. The result is an alternately poignant and playful window into a comedian’s process turning her worst fears and anxieties into pure comic gold.
This project marks Kristina Goolsby’s debut, while fellow director/producer Ashley York’s previous Sundance credits include associate producing INSIDE DEEP THROAT (2005) and co-producing GRAB (2011). Joining them as producers are Big Beach’s Michael B Clark and Beachside’s Alex Turtletaub, also at Sundance with US Dramatic Competition title PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, while executive producers include Notaro, who was previously featured in Sundance alum IN A WORLD…; Big Beach’s Leah Holzer, whose Park City credits include THE KINGS OF SUMMER (2013); Beachside’s Tim Foley, who is also executive producing PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS; and Hunter Seidman. Editors include Sundance alum Mary Manhardt, who most recently cut AMERICAN PROMISE (2013) and VALLEY OF SAINTS (2012); and Scott Evans. Serving as the project’s screenwriter is alum Jennifer Arnold, most recently at the festival with A SMALL ACT (2010).
Why You Should Watch:
Goolsby and York are on hand to capture serendipitous moments as Notaro navigates a particularly treacherous and challenging year. For her part, as suggested by the candor shown in her legendary cancer set, the comic is a surprisingly open and personable documentary subject, aided, no doubt, by her experience telling stories in front of audience in her stand up routine.
For more information, visit the film’s Facebook page. Check out Goolsby and York’s 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 2015 Twitter list.