Yance FordPOV series producer Yance Ford writes in with a report on the screenings and parties from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

William Kunstler: Distrurbing the Universe had its premiere tonight at the new Sundance venue, Temple Theater. The Temple, now one of the largest venues at the festival, was filled to capacity for the world premiere of Sarah and Emily Kunstler‘s portrait of their father, attorney William Kunstler.

The filmmakers and producers of William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

From left: Gregory Joey Johnson, Michael Ratner, Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, Yusef Salaam

A lively Q&A followed the screening. Joining the filmmakers for the session were Yusef Salaam and George Johnson, both former clients of Kunstler’s, and Michael Ratner, a former co-council of Kuntsler’s who is also the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Yusef Salaam was convicted of rape in the Central Park Jogger case as a teenager, despite Kunstler’s vigorous defense. He was exonerated of the crime more than a decade later. Salaam recited a poem titled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” at the Q&A. The film’s producers, Jesse Moss, Susan Korda and Vanessa Wanger, also joined the filmmakers at the screening. Margaret Ratner Kunstler, mother to Sarah and Emily and Kunstler’s second wife, was also there. A highlight of the Q&A occurred when an attorney in the audience commented that the film reminded him of the ideals that first compelled him to study the law. William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe will air on POV in 2009 or 2010.

The opening night party at the Legacy Lodge was a packed affair, teeming with excited filmmakers, festival-goers and the casts of many narrative films at the festival. I managed to spot producer, director and editor Sam Pollard from a distance. Pollard, editor of the upcoming documentary on Barack Obama, is one of the documentary jury members. Now I’m off to the PBS/ITVS party, and then I’ll head to a screening of Push, the adaptation of the novel by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels. I’ll check back in later with more from the festival!

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Yance works closely with POV's executive director and programming director to evaluate films submitted to POV She is instrumental in curating the series, a showcase of acclaimed documentary film on PBS. Yance frequently represents POV | American Documentary at conferences, festivals and markets, procuring work from filmmakers both nationally and internationally. Yance also oversees POV's annual call for entries, which yields upwards of one thousand entries, and coordinates POV's annual programming advisory board. Yance is a Programming Consultant and Pre- Screener for film festivals around the country, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival, the Newport International Film Festival, Latino Public Broadcasting, Creative Capital and the Sundance Film Festival. She has served on festival juries at Full Frame and Silverdocs, appeared on panels at Sunny Side of the Doc and DocuClub and served on the IFP Advisory Committee. A graduate of Hamilton College and the production workshop at Third World Newsreel, Yance is a former Production Stage Manager for the Girls Choir of Harlem and has worked as a Production Manager on numerous independent productions for the Discovery Health and History channels. Ford has also worked in various capacities on the documentaries The Favorite Poem Project, Juanita Anderson, Executive Producer, Brian Lanker's They Drew Fire (PBS), and Barry Levinson's Yesterday's Tomorrows (Showtime).Yance's favorite documentaries include:1. Hands on a Hard Body2. Tongues Untied3. Harlan County, USA4. Cul de Sac5. When We Were Kings6. The Thin Blue Line7. Night and Fog