2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: US KIDS

US KIDS | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

US KIDS
Kim A Snyder follows the young survivors of the Parkland school shooting over a transformative year and a half.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

After a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School claims 17 lives, a number of students rally themselves around the tragedy as an opportunity to speak out against the national gun-violence epidemic. As their adrenaline propels a dive into full-on activism, their movement catalyzes, and students impacted by gun violence nationwide join in, giving voice to a generation of traumatized but determined youth.

Director Kim A Snyder (NEWTOWN, 2016 Sundance Film Festival) returns to the Festival with a film that carefully chronicles 18 pivotal months in the development of the March For Our Lives movement through a deeply personal lens. With extended access to the young activists not only on stage but in their homes and among their friends, US KIDS allows us to see them through one another’s eyes – as “normal-ass kids” bravely dealing with the weight of their traumas. Snyder tells the touching coming-of-age story of this group of driven, resilient, empathetic individuals all navigating the personal consequences of their remarkable choice to dedicate their own lives to honor the fallen and take back democracy.

Some Background:

Director/Producer:

  • Kim A Snyder
    Past Sundance docs:

    NEWTOWN
    TREVOR (1994, short, associate producer)

    The Peabody award-winning Snyder has received support from the Sundance Institute for this project through the Sundance Fund’s partnership with the Kendeda Fund, which focuses on work exploring gun violence prevention or the environment. She also participated in the Catalyst Forum.

Producers:

  • Maria Cuomo Cole
    Past Sundance docs:

    NEWTOWN
    THE HUNTING GROUND (2015)
    THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012)
    LIVING FOR 32 (2011, short)

    Cole is an Emmy-winning producer who has focused on social impact filmmaking. She is the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and the wife of designer Kenneth Cole.

  • Lori Cheatle
    Past Sundance docs:

    HAIL SATAN? (2019)
    MATANGI/MAYA/MIA (2018)
    KIKI (2016)
    CAPTIVATED: THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART (2014)

    Cheatle is the founder of Hard Working Movies, where she has produced docs since 2004.

Executive Producers:

  • Dan Cogan
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    SHOOTING THE MAFIA (2019)
    BISBEE ’17 (2018)
    OF FATHERS AND SONS (2018)
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT (2018)
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR (2018)
    BENDING THE ARC (2017)
    DINA (2017)
    ICARUS (2017)
    STEP (2017)
    TROPHY (2017)
    UNREST (2017)

    Cogan, the Oscar-winning co-founder and chairman of Impact Partners, has recently launched Story Syndicate, his own production company in partnership with acclaimed filmmaker Liz Garbus. He also serves as executive producer for fellow 2020 Sundance titles SPACESHIP EARTH, in the US Documentary Competition; EPICENTRO, in the World Cinema Documentary Competition; and ASSASSINS, ON THE RECORD, and GIVING VOICE, all in Documentary Premieres.

  • Geralyn White Dreyfous
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    ALWAYS IN SEASON (2019)
    THE GREAT HACK (2019)
    SHOOTING THE MAFIA
    306 HOLLYWOOD (2018)
    GENERATION WEALTH (2018)
    BISBEE ’17
    OF FATHERS AND SONS
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR
    BENDING THE ARC
    STEP

    The Oscar and Emmy-winning co-founder of both Impact Partners and Gamechanger Films also has produced several Sundance fiction and VR alumni projects and has served as a creative advisor for Sundance’s Catalyst Forum. For the 2020 festival, she also serves as executive producer for SPACESHIP EARTH, ASSASSINS, ON THE RECORD, GIVING VOICE, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS (in the World Cinema Documentary Competition), AGGIE (in Documentary Premieres), BORN INTO BROTHELS (in From the Collection), and executive producer/key collaborator for the New Frontier exhibition PERSUASION MACHINES.

  • Jenny Raskin
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    SHOOTING THE MAFIA
    BISBEE ’17
    OF FATHERS AND SONS
    OUR NEW PRESIDENT
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR
    BENDING THE ARC
    DINA
    ICARUS
    STEP
    UNREST

    Raskin is the executive director of Impact Partners. She also serves as executive producer for SPACESHIP EARTH and GIVING VOICE, and as co-executive producer for EPICENTRO.

  • Wendy Neu
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE SENTENCE (2018)

    Entrepreneur and activist Neu is CEO of electronics recycling firm Hugo Neu and the sister of fellow executive producer Jackie Kelman Bisbee. She also executive produced fellow 2020 Sundance features THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS; FAREWELL AMOR, in the US Dramatic Competition; and THE LAST SHIFT, in Premieres; and previously executive produced alumni narrative feature GOD’S POCKET.

  • Jackie Kelman Bisbee and Sam Bisbee
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE SENTENCE

    The Bisbees also serve as executive producers on fellow 2020 Sundance doc feature THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, and as producers on fiction features THE LAST SHIFT and FAREWELL AMOR. They have produced several Sundance fiction feature alumni projects, including HEARTS BEAT LOUD, AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN, THE HERO, and OTHER PEOPLE, among others, through their company, Park Pictures.

  • Hallee Adelman

    Adelman is a children’s book author and teacher who is committed to bettering the lives of children and family through education, storytelling, and film. She also serves as associate producer on THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS and executive producer on THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, in Documentary Premieres.

  • Ivy Herman

    Herman is a philanthropist who has partnered with fellow executive producer Hallee Adelman to support film, television, and theatre projects with social impact or that serves children and families. She also serves as associate producer on THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS and executive producer on THE SOCIAL DILEMMA.

  • Regina K Scully
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE (2019)
    ALWAYS IN SEASON
    THE GREAT HACK
    306 HOLLYWOOD
    GENERATION WEALTH
    BISBEE ’17
    WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
    THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING (2018)
    STEP
    UNREST
    DOLORES (2017)

    The Artemis Rising Foundation founder and CEO is an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated social entrepreneur and philanthropist focused on transforming culture through media, education, and the arts. She also executive produced THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, AGGIE, and ON THE RECORD in this year’s festival.

  • Jamie Patricof

    The Electric City Entertainment co-CEO previously produced Sundance fiction feature alumni projects including CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, MISSISSIPPI GRIND, BLUE VALENTINE, LITTLE BIRDS, SUGAR, and HALF NELSON.

  • Katie McNeill

    McNeill is Electric City Entertainment’s VP of production. She previously co-produced MISSISSIPPI GRIND and associate produced LITTLE BIRDS.

  • Jamie Wolf
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? (2019)
    THE GREAT HACK
    AUDRIE & DAISY (2016)
    CITY OF GOLD (2015)

    Wolf is a journalist, editor, photographer, and member of Impact Partners. She also executive produced THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS.

  • Lynda Weinman
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE GREAT HACK
    HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING (2018)
    INVENTING TOMORROW (2018)
    CHASING CORAL (2017)
    CHASING CORAL: THE VR EXPERIENCE (2017, short)
    UNREST

    Weinman is a founder of the LinkedIn-acquired online software training website Lynda.com. She previously worked in animation and special effects for Hollywood studio films and taught digital media and graphics. Weinman also executive produced this year’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, and, in Documentary Premieres, DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN.

  • Jim Swartz and Susan Swartz
    Past Sundance docs:

    OUR NEW PRESIDENT
    BENDING THE ARC
    ICARUS
    RACING EXTINCTION (2015)
    SEMBENE! (2015)
    E-TEAM (2014)
    PANDORA’S PROMISE (2013)
    CONNECTED (2011)
    SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (2010)
    TO CATCH A DOLLAR (2010)
    SERGIO (2009)
    SECRECY (2008)

    The technology venture capitalist and American landscape artist, respectively, are founding members of Impact Partners and longtime Park City residents. They executive produced this year’s THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, and Jim Swartz also serves as an executive producer of THE DISSIDENT, in Documentary Premieres.

Editor:

  • Leigh Johnson

    This is the first Sundance project for Johnson, a past Karen Schmeer Film Editing fellow and contributor to the Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab.

Co-Editor:

  • Joshua Banville
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHEN I WALK (2013)

Why You Should Watch:
While several of the Parkland student activists became regular faces on news programs and in other documentaries, Snyder brings a deeply intimate and sympathetic focus here, as demonstrated in her previous work on the aftermaths of school shootings.

More Info:
Website

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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