Jerry Garcia appears in Long Strange Trip by Amir Bar-Lev, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Roberto Rabanne.
Jerry Garcia appears in Long Strange Trip by Amir Bar-Lev, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Roberto Rabanne.

A Strange Trip in the Utah Mountains with Amir Bar-Lev

The Sundance Film Festival has recently announced four additional films set to screen for the 2017 event in Utah from January 19-29.

Sundance announced the following films to debut: Bending the Arc and Long Strange Trip. Two from the vault include: Desert Hearts and Reservoir Dogs.


Out of these four projects, Reservoir Dogs, is one film I don’t find necessary screening at Sundance. With the amount of anti-gun films set to debut this year, it is my personal view that screening that violent film is in bad taste. When filmmakers are pushing to remove guns from entertainment, it is really just a throwback slap in the face to the destructive nature of filmmaking.

There is a demand to limit or totally remove guns from films and entertainment following the out of control gun violence in major cities across the United States.

As Sundance stands out for its ability to share non-corporate projects, I hope the festival does a Q and A following the film showcasing the forward-thinking minds that want to change the way people look at violence.

For generations the United States has used violence as a cheap and easy way to get attention in entertainment. Along with the destructive behavior that is reproduced from violence in entertainment; it is a broken cycle of negativity that worked for decades. A new wave of thoughtful minds are reading books and producing work on the negative impacts caused by violence and crime.

Spoiler alert, the millennial generation is going to end violence in filmmaking by pointing out its flawed attempt at influencing people to work slave labor for private prisons. Our lack of demand will force the studios to create cinema with substance once again. The revolution has started, and we are not looking back, not even for Quentin Tarantino.

Aside from Reservoir Dogs, the film festival is hosting a debut screening of Long Strange Trip by Sundance Film Festival veteran filmmaker, Amir Bar-Lev. In contrast to Netflix’s recent release of The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir, this film will feature never-before-seen interviews with the band.


  • Bending the Arc / U.S.A. (Directors: Kief Davidson, Pedro Kos, Screenwriter: Cori Shepherd Stern) — This powerful epic is about the extraordinary doctors and activists—including Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl—whose work 30 years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. World Premiere
  • Long Strange Trip / U.S.A. (Director: Amir Bar-Lev) — The tale of The Grateful Dead is inspiring, complicated and downright messy. A tribe of contrarians, they made art out of open-ended chaos and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms. Never-before-seen footage and interviews offer this unprecedented and unvarnished look at the life of the Dead. World Premiere


  • Desert Hearts / U.S.A. (Director: Donna Deitch, Screenwriter: Natalie Cooper) — Nevada, 1959: Vivian Bell arrives to get a divorce and finds herself increasingly drawn to Cay Rivvers, a self-assured lesbian. The emotions released by their developing intimacy combined with Vivian’s insecurities are played out against a backdrop of rocky landscapes and country and western songs. The Festival will screen a new digitally restored version by the Criterion Collection and UCLA Film & Television Archive in conjunction with Sundance Institute and Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. Cast: Andra Akers, Dean Butler, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Helen Shaver, Glen Welles.
  • Reservoir Dogs / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino) — They were perfect strangers, assembled to pull off the perfect crime. Then their simple robbery explodes into a bloody ambush and the ruthless killers realize one of them is a police informant. But which one? Miramax provided a brand-new 35mm print for this special 25th anniversary screening, which will be followed by an extended Q&A with Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender. Cast: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen.

Sundance Film Festival 2017: Tickets

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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.