2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: A THOUSAND THOUGHTS

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

A THOUSAND THOUGHTS
Sam Green and Joe Bini’s live documentary tells the story of acclaimed contemporary classical music ensemble Kronos Quartet.

Festival Section:
New Frontier

Sundance Program Description:

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green takes the stage with the legendary classical-music group Kronos Quartet to create a “live documentary” that chronologically unfolds the quartet’s groundbreaking, continent-spanning, multi-decade career. Wildly creative and experimental in form, A THOUSAND THOUGHTS is a meditation on music itself – the act of listening closely to music, the experience of feeling music deeply, and the power that music has to change the world.

Green will narrate the piece live onstage while the Kronos Quartet performs the score, and a rich blend of archival footage, photos, and interviews with members of the Kronos Quartet – as well as longtime collaborators like Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich – unspools on screen. The magic of cinema combines with the energy and urgency of live performance to create incredibly rich moments that remind us of the value in the unique, the handcrafted, the ephemeral, and something that is never experienced the same way twice.

Some Background:
Director/Screenwriter/Producer/Editor:

  • Sam Green
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS (2014)
    UTOPIA, PART 3: THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL (short) (2009)
    UTOPIA IN FOUR MOVEMENTS (2010)
    LUNCHFILMS: CLEAR GLASSES (2009)
    LOT 63, GRAVE C (short) (2006)
    N JUDAH 5:30 (short) (2004)
    THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (2003, Oscar nominee)
    PIE FIGHT ’69 (short) (2001)
    THE RAINBOW MAN/JOHN 3:16 (short) (1997)

    Green’s latest project received support from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and participated in the 2017 Catalyst Forum.

Director/Screenwriter/Editor:

  • Joe Bini
    Past Sundance docs:

    TROPHY (2017, consulting editor)
    SEPIDEH (2014, editing consultant)
    MANHUNT (2013)
    THE TILLMAN STORY (2010)
    ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (2008, Documentary Editing Award winner)
    GRIZZLY MAN (2005)

    Best known as Werner Herzog’s regular editor, the Emmy-winning Bini also cut 2018 Sundance Spotlight fiction feature YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE.

Producer:

  • Janet Cowperthwaite

    Cowperthwaite is the longtime managing director of Kronos Quartet, supervising the entire operation for the group and the Kronos Performing Arts Association. She previously produced/executive produced Bill Morrison’s BEYOND ZERO: 1914-1918, with a score commissioned and performed by Kronos Quartet. This is her first Sundance credit.

Co-Producers:

  • Tommy Kriegsmann
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

    Kriegsmann is the founder of ArKtype, a Brooklyn-based company supporting experimental live performance, and was recently the director of programs at New York Live Arts.

  • Brendan Doyle
    Past Sundance docs:

    BAYARD AND ME (short) (2017)
    THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

    Doyle co-founded production company C41 Media together with Pete Sillen.

Executive Producers:

  • Josh Penn
    Past Sundance docs:

    WESTERN (2015)

    The Oscar-nominated Court 13 producer also produced 2018 US Dramatic Feature title MONSTERS AND MEN, as well as Sundance fiction alum BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and executive produced alum PATTI CAKE$.

  • Maida Lynn Brankman
    Past Sundance doc:

    THE RABBIT HUNT (short) (2017, co-producer/executive producer)
    THE SEND-OFF (short) (2016)

    Brankman is the founder of Genuine Article Pictures, which supports the production of documentaries.

  • Ken Whitney and Liz Whitney

    The Whitneys are philanthropists, supporting programs at alma maters the University of Delaware and UCLA, as well as other organizations. Ken Whitney has a background as a private investment banker at The Blackstone Group, and is also a Tony Award winner for producing FUN HOME.

Why You Should Watch:
Green continues to expand on his unique approach to nonfiction in this collaboration with Kronos Quartet, this time working with acclaimed film editor Joe Bini. Given the nature of Green’s live documentary projects, audiences at the two Sundance performances are sure to have a singular experience.

More Info:
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For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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

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