PARK CITY, Utah: Associated Press reporters at the Sundance Film Festival share what's in their notebooks:
SERIOUS CAUSE FOR BASS: Lance Bass is hoping his new documentary, "Kidnapped for Christ," will put the spotlight on unscrupulous boarding schools that abuse children in the name of rehabilitating them.
"Kidnapped for Christ" debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival, an alternative film festival running at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, last week. The film explores a Christian school in the Dominican Republic where frustrated parents sent their children to shape up. The documentary shows abuse the kids suffer, and controversial behavior-modification methods, including attempting to convert gay children to straight.
"I get a lot of things across my desk that I don't attach myself to, but I saw the footage and was like 'Oh, my gosh,'" the former 'N Sync member said. "My jaw dropped. I can't believe that this even existed, and I knew I was called to do something."
Bass, the executive producer of the film, spoke about it at Sunday's Human Rights Campaign party; the HRC is dedicated to advancing the rights and causes of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Bass said the reaction to the film at Slamdance has been overwhelming.
"People have walked out because they are so mad that they actually had to walk out the theater," he said.
Bass is pushing for Congress to regulate these schools and raise awareness of the issue. Besides the documentary, which does not yet have a distributor, there is also the website for the film, kidnappedforchrist.com.
"No one knows about it - and that's really scary to me. I didn't know about it. I've heard of these places, but I really didn't think too much about it," Bass said.
"The big thing is the awareness. We want people to know this is happening, and, yes, some of these schools are good and they do good for kids. But the majority of them are just abusing them, and all we want is regulation."
-Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP Entertainment Writer (Twitter: @nekesamumbi)
CLOSE AND FLEA MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC: Following the premiere of the film adaptation of A.J. Albany's memoir "Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood," the movie's stars, Glenn Close and Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, shared the spotlight on a different stage to create some sweet sounds.
The film chronicles a slice of jazz musician - and heroin addict - Joe Albany's life through the eyes of his daughter, A.J., played by Elle Fanning.
At the "A Celebration of Music in Film" event at the Sundance House, Flea and Close paid tribute to the jazz performer improvisation-style.
Flea strummed his bass guitar - accompanied by Ohad Talmor on saxophone and David Virelles on piano - using Close's voice as a guide as she read an excerpt from A.J.'s book over their jazz-infusion. The author looked on from the audience.
As Close removed her glasses, having finished the reading, the band shifted into playing a Charlie Parker rendition (Joe Albany was his bandmate) before transitioning into the dreamy "Lotus Blossom," by composer and Duke Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn.
- Jessica Herndon, AP Film Writer (Twitter: @somekind)
LOVE BIRDS AT SUNDANCE: The sweetest couple around Sundance may be Australian actress Teresa Palmer and her husband Mark Webber. Webber, an actor, director and screenwriter, has two films - "Laggies" and "Happy Christmas" - premiering at the festival. Wherever he goes, his pregnant wife has happily followed, snapping photos on her camera phone. The pair was married in December and is expecting a baby in about a month. Because Palmer is too pregnant to fly, they drove from LA to Utah to attend. So were they thinking they might have a "Sundance Baby"? Palmer says yes." We rang up the Salt Lake City hospital to make sure there was an OB/GYN (an obstetrician) available just in case the baby came early," she said.