Memphis Sundance Film Festival
Schedule of Events
6:00PM - I Was a Simple Man
Directed by Christopher Makoto Yogi
The rushing wind on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawai'i, never stops. It constantly rustles the leaves outside Masao's house, providing a balmy sonic backdrop. Nature is both a driving force and a spiritual indicator in I Was a Simple Man, the second feature from writer-director Christopher Makoto Yogi. When Masao is healthy, his plants thrive; when a terminal sickness encroaches, the plants wither and die. The island's ambient noises—the waves, the wind, the birds—thread through the film's time-shifting chapters, from the pre-World War II sugar plantations of Oahu to Hawai'i statehood to the present gentrification of Honolulu.
As Masao gets sicker, he is visited by ghosts of his past, including his wife, Grace (Constance Wu), who helps shepherd him into the beyond. Part dream, part family history, I Was a Simple Man feels both achingly intimate and incredibly expansive. The director's restrained filmmaking grounds the film in Hawaii's pastoral landscape, while match cuts and surrealistic editing alter time and space, connecting and disrupting past and present and one family's relationship to their patriarch—and the place they call home.
9:00PM - Cryptozoo
Directed by Dash Shaw
Cryptids are creatures whose existence is disputed or unsubstantiated. When Amber and Matt get lost in the woods during a sex date, they stumble upon a high-security fence. On the other side, they find a cryptid—a unicorn—that would change their lives.Military brat Lauren spent her childhood nights in a nightmarish state, until a mythical baku came to eat her dreams, releasing her from nocturnal torment. Lauren decides to dedicate her life to rescuing and sheltering cryptids from those who seek to exploit them, so she becomes a cryptozookeeper.
But when Lauren's and Amber's paths cross, Lauren begins to wonder if displaying these rare beasts in confinement is better than enabling these mythical creatures to remain hidden and unknown.Cryptozoo is a vibrant, wondrous, and fantastical feature animation for adults, taking audiences on a sublime journey toward multispecies justice. With penetrating precision and poetic intelligence, filmmaker/animator Dash Shaw explores the complex relationship between idealism, utopian visions, the call to duty, and the alluring power of controlling dreams.