- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) - The Associated Press is all over the Sundance Film Festival, which runs through Jan. 31, from its premieres to the Hollywood glitz. Here’s what they’ve seen and heard:



Daisy Ridley knows a little something about being one of the only girls in a boys’ club. The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” star transfixed audiences as the can-do Rey, and now Ridley is lending her support to another young girl with a dream - Aisholpan, 13-year-old Mongolian girl who endeavors to become the first female Eagle Hunter.

After seeing a cut of the film, Ridley decided to sign on as an executive producer of “The Eagle Huntress,” a documentary from director Otto Bell about Aisholpan’s journey to reach her goal. Executive producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”) announced her involvement on Friday.

The film is making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, and Ridley hopes to use her newfound star power to increase the documentary’s visibility and it’s message of female empowerment.

“I was deeply moved by Aisholpan’s story and wanted to be a part of this beautiful film,” Ridley said in a statement. “I feel audiences and young girls around the world will be as inspired by her story as I was, and I am so proud to share her journey with the world.”

—By Lindsey Bahr



Sundance filmmakers and their supporters broke bread together at the film festival’s annual dinner celebration, An Artist at the Table.

Ava DuVernay, Jon Hamm, Casey Affleck, Zosia Mamet and Nick Jonas were among the artists dining with Sundance donors at the private event, held on a ranch outside Park City.

Guests were invited to experience a short virtual-reality film, and people wearing special goggles and earphones dotted the room.

Norman Lear was the guest of honor, attending the dinner after the documentary about his life, “Norman Lear: Another Version of You,” premiered as the festival’s opening-night film.

Lear said the film “startled and stunned and thrilled me.”

Later, a troupe of musicians performed the theme songs to some of the most popular shows Lear created, including “All in the Family,” ”The Jeffersons” and “Good Times.”

Flanked by his wife and one of his daughters, Lear was merrily singing along.

—By Sandy Cohen



Dads will be dads no matter where they are and producer, director and writer Judd Apatow was no exception at Thursday’s Sundance premiere of the movie “Other People.”

His 17-year-old daughter Maude Apatow, who has appeared in “Knocked Up,” ”Funny People” and “This is 40,” is in the film - and it’s her first movie not made by her dad or starring her mom, Leslie Mann.

“It’s really nice,” said Maude on the red carpet. “This is the first film I’ve done without my parents too, and I think it feels like the same sort of people like funny people and I felt really comfortable the whole time. It was awesome.”

As the teen did interviews on the red carpet, Judd Apatow stood close by, filming her with his phone. When a reporter asked him what Maude is supposed to do in interviews he said, “I’m cuttin’ bait.”

Maude said her goal has always been to be in showbiz like her parents.

“I think I’ve always loved acting. … I’m a senior in high school now but like now I feel like, ‘Oh, yeah. I really have to start thinking about what I’m going to do with my future and acting is what I want to do.”

“Other People” stars Jesse Plemons as a gay, struggling comic in New York who returns to his childhood home in Sacramento to care for his dying mother, played by Molly Shannon.

The movie is written and directed by Chris Kelly, a writer on “Saturday Night Live.”

—By Alicia Rancilio

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