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Sundance report: Spike Lee's outburst, movie deals and Parks and Rec

PARK CITY, UT - The 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2012 in Park City, Utah.
PARK CITY, UT - The 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2012 in Park City, Utah.
Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

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From a new Spike Lee film, to a slew of female-centered Bridesmaids riffs, to an independent feature about a fantastical post-Katrina Louisiana, there's a lot to look forward to at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

On Sunday night, director Spike Lee shocked the audience at a screening of his new film "Red Hook Summer," when he burst out angrily that Hollywood "knows nothing about black people." He had been asked by audience member Chris Rock how his film would be different if he had studio money.

Controversy is also swirling around the film, "Compliance," which dramatizes the real-life case of a man who called fast food restaurants pretending to be a law enforcement officer and instructed managers to strip search and humiliate female employees. Audiences heckled director Craig Zobel, calling him misogynistic and exploitative for his treatment of the lead actress, who endures demeaning situations with extensive nudity.

One of the biggest crowd-pleasers so far has been the documentary "Finding Sugar Man," about forgotten 70s musician Sixto Rodriguez, whose music became legendary as anti-apartheid anthems in South Africa.

The magical realist "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is also getting a lot of positive response. It's a fantastical look at a post-disaster Louisiana by first-time director Benh Zeitlin, who used a cast of non-actors.

Kyle Buchanan of New York Magazine's Vulture blog said the festival this year has been dominated by break-up movies and a surprising glut of crowd-pleasing romantic comedies, many starring cast members from the NBC show, Parks and Recreation.

Rashida Jones co-wrote and stars with Andy Samberg in "Celeste and Jesse Forever," while fellow Parks and Rec alum, Aubrey Plaza, is getting noticed for her starring role in "Safety Not Guaranteed," about a magazine intern who meets a man who purports to have a time machine.


Kyle Buchanan, movies editor for New York Magazine's Vulture blog

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