Sundance | Spotlight on: Dee Allen, Group Colour Director at The Mill

We caught up with Dee Allen, Group Colour Director at The Mill on what's on his radar at Sundance Festival 2020.
Thought January 24, 2020

How has Sundance evolved as a festival over the last few years?

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a seasoned campaigner, this year’s festival will be my 5th outing in the last 6 years. What I would say is that the festival appears to reflect what the temperature is within the industry. Whether that’s the introduction of VR/Experiential content creation or recognizing the work from film makers and storytellers whose voices are generally overlooked by other festivals. There is still much room for improvement in this area, but Sundance at least attempts to address the balance and seek out creatives who are often marginalized by the mainstream.


What 2020 Sundance projects and/or directors are on your radar?

Well obviously, the films that our Colour Team in New York had a hand in; ‘Zola‘, ‘Some kind of Heaven‘, ‘It’s Been Too Long’, ‘Omniboat‘ and the short film ‘Dirty‘. OMG, and where to start with the rest?! I wanna try and catch ‘City So Real’ Dir Steve James, ‘Blast Beat’ is a film set in Colombia that looks like it could be a great throwback to coming of age movies prior to the advent of social media. ‘Charm City Kings’ Dir Angel Manuel Soto grabs my attention for sure. I love the shorts program; you can always catch some gems in there. And I guess I’d be down one very talented friend if I didn’t have ‘The 40 Year Old Version‘ on my list. Director, writer and star of the movie Radha Blank is an amazing film maker and an inspiration to me in terms of believing in yourself, the story you want to tell and moving hell, heaven and earth to get it made. Super proud of her accomplishments and that is the only night I intend to drink more than I really should in celebration of her efforts.

Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia Graded By: Fergus McCall, Nicholas Metcalf, Josh Bohoskey & Mikey Rossiter at The Mill

Have you seen any prevailing creative themes across new film releases/ film festivals in the 
past year?

I think as we touched on, there is more of a conscious effort to bring story’s being made by previously marginalized filmmakers to the forefront. Whether that be subject matters dealt with on screen or talent behind the camera. I’m not championing this per se as I think films should be a reflection of the society we live in, even if you view it as escapism. I’m aware that the industry likes a trend or what is perceived to be ‘en vogue’, so I’m hoping that this shift is ongoing and heralds the change many of us want to see in terms of representation of the lesser heard voices in our community.


What are the most exciting Colour projects you’ve seen of late?

Once again, there is so much to choose from but if I had to commit – ‘Uncut Gems’ is just a killer ride of a movie. Damien’s work on that definitely brings it to that sugar rush high experience the directors have achieved with that piece of work.

In terms of colour, I’d have to pick Joker. I’m a huge Batman fan and have seen them all, dating back to Adam West in that terrible spandex situation. Jill Bogdanowiz’s grade is sick, I know these things are subjective, but I think the reason why it’s up for so many awards is in no small part down to her interpretation of the mood of the film.

Tell us about something that’s inspiring you right now

Trying to not sound too philosophical here, but I think the fact that world politics at this point in time has taken such a shift to the right, artists are really taking it upon themselves to comment counter some of the more extreme conditions we find ourselves in. Injustice often forces us to examine

what it is we are about and if you have an outlet you lean into that. There are some really powerful story’s out there, and film makers are finding whatever it is they need to tell those stories. I think it was Toni Morrison who eluded to the fact that great art sometimes comes out of times of great struggle…!