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FROM THIS EPISODE

We’re back from Sundance, and Kim Masters shares a snapshot of her big Sundance adventure: appearing in the Alex Gibney documentary Going Clear. Then, director Pawel Pawlikowski has made movies in the UK and France. Ida is his first film from his home country, Poland. He made it with the modest hope that it would play at arthouse theaters in Europe and maybe a few festivals. Now his film about a young nun in training who finds out that she is in fact Jewish is up for Oscars for Best Foreign Language Picture and Best Cinematography.

Banner Image: Pawel Pawlikowski, Director of Ida. Courtesy Music Box Films.

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 54 SEC

Kim Masters is joined by Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

-After all the talk of digital services being big players at Sundance, most of the acquisitions at the festival came courtesy of traditional indie studios like Fox Searchlight and Magnolia.
- American Sniper is breaking records at the box office, but those ticket sales probably don’t help its Oscar chances.
- And on the TV side, Empire is a huge hit for Fox, gaining viewers every week in a way the broadcast networks haven’t seen in more than 20 years.

Guests:
Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard (@THRMattBelloni)

More:
All the Sundance 2015 Acquisitions As They Come In
'American Sniper' Quickly Becoming No. 1 War Film of All Time
Empire Is a Massive Hit. Here’s What Its Success Could Mean for the TV Business.

‘Sundance Postcard’ 5 MIN

Kim Masters has been to Sundance several times before, but this time, her visit to Park City had a unique element—she actually appeared in a film that was premiering at the festival.

She shares her experience of watching herself as a talking head in the Alex Gibney documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and going on stage of a Q&A following the screening.

While there were security concerns about angry Scientologists showing up to protest the film, the event went off without a hitch. The only people upset were those ticket holders left standing outside the theater, unable to find a seat at the popular premiere.

Guests:
Alex Gibney, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker (@AlexGibneyfilm)

More:
Tom Cruise Wiretapped Nicole Kidman and 5 More Revelations from 'Going Clear'

‘Ida’ 15 MIN, 48 SEC

The Polish indie, Ida, is about a young nun who learns that she’s really a Jew. The film played Sundance last year and became a favorite on the festival circuit, winning awards in Toronto and at the BFI Fest in London.

Ida’s writer and director, Pawel Pawlikowski, never imagined that his small, black and white arthouse film would get much traction outside of Poland. Now it’s an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Picture and Best Cinematography.

Pawlikowski spent much of his childhood in Warsaw but as a teenager moved to London, where he later made English-language films like My Summer of Love, which put actress Emily Blunt on the map. He also made a movie in France. But now he’s moved back to Warsaw and Ida is his first feature from his home country.

Set in early 1960’s Poland, Pawlikowski’s film tells the story of two women: the young nun to-be, Ida, played by Agatha Trzebuchowska, and her aunt Wanda, played by Agatha Kulesza.

Ida is an orphan who grew up in a convent, but before she is allowed to take her vows, she is sent to meet her aunt—a hard-drinking prosecutor who had been associated with the Stalinist regime. Ida learns that she is in fact Jewish, and together the women set out to learn where and how Ida’s parents had died during World War II.

Shot in black and white, Ida is stark and austere and the camera remains largely stationary throughout the film. When he set out to find funding for the project, Pawlikowski knew he’d have to temper his expectations and keep his budget small.

He tells Kim Masters about the unusual journey from small foreign indie filmmaker to Oscar contender, and reflects on the history of Polish cinema, which perhaps counterintuitively, blossomed under a Communist regime.

Pawlikowski also tells us that when it came to finding the young woman to play the title role in Ida, he auditioned over 400 actresses, but ultimately found Agatha Trzebuchowska in a cafe, through the help of a friend. Trzebuchowska wasn’t an actress, and unlike Ida, is an atheist. But Pawlikowski knew very early on that she would be the perfect Ida, especially once you took away her “hipster exterior.”

Guests:
Pawel Pawlikowski, director, 'Ida'

More:
Official website of “Ida”

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