Sundance 2015: Tangerine, Meru
After the world premiere of Tangerine at Sundance, a collective gasp rose from the audience when director/writer/editor Sean Baker revealed that the widescreen movie had been shot entirely on three iPhone 5Ss. “We decided, let’s go for something very different with the look,” said the L.A.-based hyphenate, who also shared cinematography credit with his longtime collaborator, Radium Cheung, HKSC. The festival was soon buzzing about the project's technical novelty, as well as its humor and heart.
At its essence, Tangerine is a story of two transgender girlfriends who work the streets of L.A. [...]
In the Himalayas, there’s a peak that has enticed and defeated more elite climbers than any other, a siren song called Meru. At 21,850’, it’s not the Himalayas’ tallest, but it is among the most technically challenging, especially at its summit, a sheer 1,500’ wall of smooth granite dubbed the Shark’s Fin. “It’s the point where heaven, hell and earth all come together,” says author Jon Krakauer in the feature documentary Meru.
The fact that Sundance viewers rallied behind this film, giving it the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary Competition, proves it’s much more than a climbing doc. It’s also a nail-biting, emotional saga in which friendships are tested and near-death experiences intrude. Failure, as much as breathtaking beauty, is part of the mix, and fate throws in an avalanche, a skull-crushing fall and a stroke.
What’s not visible onscreen is the added challenge of shooting. [...]