The Best of Sundance Film Festival 2014:
Whiplash Scores Top Honors
BY CHRISTYNA PHILLIPS
The Sundance Film Festival is best known as the land of Filmmakers & Celebrities, Mountain Chic Fashion and Glamorous Festivities. The festival is a calling card for those hoping to break into the film world. Social Entrepreneurs flocked to Park City, Utah where 119 feature films were chosen from 4,057 submissions which included tons of short films.
This year, Whiplash completely dominated and took home both the “Grand Jury Prize” and “Audience Award for Dramatic Feature.” Damien Chazelle’s debut feature, about a tense relationship between a teacher and student at a New York music school, scored big at this year’s fest. J.K. Simmons stars as an abusive instructor alongside Miles Teller who plays his prize drummer pupil. This is the second year in a row that a single short film scored the top two U.S. dramatic prizes; last year, Fruitvale Station took those two honors.
The musical drama by writer-director Damien Chazelle opened the independent film showcase and rode a wave of positive buzz throughout the 10-day event. Chazelle, 29, turned around his film from an award-winning short at the festival just last year.
“Whiplash was not an easy movie to make, not an easy movie to convince people to make,” said Chazelle.
The freshman filmmaker drew on his personal experiences as a member of a high school jazz band as inspiration for the film. Upon accepting both awards, Chazelle thanked his fellow actors “who really made this movie work.”