My review and pictures of “A Teacher” World Premiere Q&A at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013 I attended the gala World Premiere of A Teacher at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The sold-out screening was held in the piously elegant 314-seat Temple Theatre. The film was a selection in the NEXT <=> section.

In her second feature, director/producer Hannah Fidell (2010's We're Glad You're Here) has crafted a ripped-from-the-headlines narrative all too familiar to audiences -- an illicit relationship between a female high school teacher and a young male student. Lindsay Burdge portrays Diana Watts, the cougar with a heart of gold, aching for young Eric. As the youth, Will Brittain is cool without being macho, tender without being tentative -- in short, what every woman desires. He's the perfect vulnerable man/boy with the puppy dog eyes destined to fill the educator's boring days and long nights otherwise spent grading papers and hoisting drinks with equally dull colleagues. What sets A Teacher apart from the typical Lifetime movie is the agonizing inevitability of the dark twists and turns ahead. Yet we have no idea where this story is going, even though we think we know the outcome.

Besides the nuanced, brilliant performances by the two leads, A Teacher boasts some of the most beautiful cinematography of the festival. Director of photography Andrew Droz Palermo plays with light and shadow, framing his subjects in doorways through which we see only darkness, with quiet moments that are the hallmark of independent films. There are some long single takes that cause the couple's love scenes to transcend anything we're used to in conventional cinema, triggering a level of discomfort as though we're voyeurs peeking through a peephole into the bedroom of a young couple in the midst of a forbidden affair.

The steamy eroticism of A Teacher joins films like Two Mothers, Concussion, and Pit Stop, along with features that were actually about porn, including Don Jon's Addiction, Interior. Leather Bar., Lovelace, and The Look of Love, in a set of titles that has caused this year's festival to be lovingly labeled "Porndance." Love, lust, and sex bordering on soft pornography were served up to audiences this year who eagerly came and gulped down the provocative fare.

Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth brought director/producer Hannah Fidell onstage to introduce the film. After the screening, Programmer Landon Zakheim welcomed Fidell back to the stage, where she was joined by director of photography Andrew Droz Palermo, producer Kim Sherman, and stars Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain, and Jonny Mars for an enlightening and provocative Q&A session.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:

Q&A GALLERY (50 photos on 3 pages)


NOTE: A Teacher will be released theatrically and on-demand September 6th through Oscilloscope Laboratories.

The official trailer is below, along with three stills (click to enlarge).

A TEACHER - Official US Theatrical Trailer (HD)

ON DEMAND & DIGITAL - August 20th, 2013 IN THEATERS - September 6th, 2013 -- A TEACHER Written and directed by Hannah…
  • Video Release: July 30, 2013
  • Length: 1.87 min
  • Views: 22501

Director Hannah Fidell, Photo by Richard Koek


Linday Burge, Flaneur Films


Lindsay Burge and Will Brittain, Flaneur Films


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
  • Posted: January 29, 2013
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