2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS

BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
Bill Ross and Turner Ross chronicle the patrons and staff of a dive bar on its final day.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, it’s last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. Its regulars, a cross section of American life, form a community—tight-knit yet forged in happenstance, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world they’re escaping from. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a mosaic of disparate lives adrift in a failed society—disillusioned and reeling, singing while their ship goes down.

Filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross (WESTERN, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke.

Some Background:

Director/Editor:

  • Bill Ross

    Director:

  • Turner Ross
    Past Sundance docs:

    WESTERN

    This marks the Ross Brothers’ sixth feature and second at Sundance. The film was an Art of Nonfiction Fund recipient from the Sundance Institute.

Producers:

  • Michael Gottwald
    Past Sundance docs:

    WESTERN

    Gottwald also executive produced fellow 2020 Sundance titles WENDY in Premieres and FAREWELL AMOR in the US Dramatic Competition. The Department of Motion Pictures’ producer previously produced fiction alumni projects PATTI CAKE$, PING PONG SUMMER, and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD – receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter.

  • Chere Theriot

    The New Orleans-based Theriot has an extensive background as set decorator, art director, and production designer, but this is her first producer credit.

Associate Producer:

  • Jesy Rae Buhl

    Buhl has worked with New Orleans’ Court 13 Arts for several years in casting. This is her first producer credit.

Contributing Producer:

  • Justin Lacob

    Lacob is the head of development for Bryn Mooser’s nonfiction studio, XTR, following executive roles at Spike TV/the Paramount Network. This is his first Sundance credit.

Executive Producers:

  • Matt Sargeant

    This is Sargeant’s first film credit. He has written about films for local New Orleans website Via Nola Vie.

  • Josh Penn
    Past Sundance docs:

    A THOUSAND THOUGHTS (2018)
    WESTERN

    The Department of Motion Pictures producer also produced fellow 2020 Sundance titles WENDY and FAREWELL AMOR. He previously produced Sundance fiction alumni MONSTERS AND MEN and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (receiving an Oscar nomination), and executive produced alum PATTI CAKE$.

  • David Eckles and Minette Nelson
    Past Sundance docs:

    3 1/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS (2015)

    Eckles and Nelson are founders of the Filmmaker Fund, with the former also serving as its business director. Eckles was the chairman and CEO of the Helm Financial Co until he turned his attention to philanthropy in 2005. Nelson has a background in commercial production and nonprofit consulting in addition to producing documentaries supported by the Filmmaker Fund.

  • Davis Guggenheim
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? (2019)
    BISBEE ’17 (2018)
    THE PRICE OF FREE (fka KAILASH) (2018)
    AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (2017)

    The Oscar-winning Guggenheim is also an executive producer of fellow 2020 Sundance US Documentary Competition titles BOYS STATE, TIME, and A THOUSAND CUTS as the chief creative officer of Concordia Studio.

  • Nicole Stott
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
    BISBEE ’17
    WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST (2018)
    DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD (2015)
    CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM (2015)
    LISTEN TO ME MARLON (2015)

    Stott also serves as an executive producer of BOYS STATE, TIME, and A THOUSAND CUTS as EVP Nonfiction Films & Series for Concordia Studio. She was previously the longtime head of documentary at Passion Pictures.

  • Jonathan Silberberg
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
    BISBEE ’17
    THE PRICE OF FREE

    Silberberg is also an executive producer of BOYS STATE and A THOUSAND CUTS and co-executive producer of TIME as president of Concordia Studio. The Emmy-nominated producer was previously a longtime producer at RadicalMedia.

  • Bryn Mooser
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE BRINK (2019)
    THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER (2019)
    ON HER SHOULDERS (2018)

    The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Mooser also co-produced fellow 2020 Sundance US Documentary Competition title MUCHO MUCHO AMOR. He is founder/CEO of XTR, and previously co-founded RYOT.

  • Kathryn Everett

    Everett is also a co-producer of MUCHO MUCHO AMOR. She is the chief of staff of XTR.

Co-Executive Producers:

  • Matthew Petock, Zachary Shedd, and Daniel Patrick Carbone

    Petock, Shedd, and Carbone are part of the Flies Collective, a collaborative production company based in Brooklyn through which they have produced and/or directed several features. This marks their first project at Sundance.

Why You Should Watch:
The Ross Brothers’ previous work has excelled in creative observational filmmaking. For their latest, they draw the audience into the ramshackle environment of a dive bar to observe some of its regulars as they, in a way, play their familiar parts, regardless of place and time.

More Info:
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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