VIDEO: Interviews at the Sundance Premiere


Sundance: Reviews

The Hollywood Reporter
Writer-director Peter Sattler’s riveting first feature, Camp X-Ray, leaves aside the controversy surrounding Guantanamo Bay to focus instead on a personal drama of human connection and compassion, deftly drawn out of the mundane day-to-day of cellblock life. In essence a two-hander, it balances a powerfully internalized performance from Kristen Stewart, delivering perhaps her best screen work to date as an inexperienced military guard, against an equally compelling characterization from Payman Maadi as the long-term detainee who pierces her shell. Its psychological complexity and rich emotional rewards should ensure this expertly crafted if overlong film a significant audience.

HitFix Review: Kristen Stewart's solid performance anchors the probing, human 'Camp X-Ray' - B 
Camp X-Ray" is going to be a hard commercial sell, but the film has a delicate human heart, and it is ultimately rewarding. I think it's a strong indication of what Stewart can do with the right material, and it makes a case for Maadi as one of the most interesting character actors working right now. Solid, small, and sincere, "Camp X-Ray" offers an important perspective to a difficult conversation. 

Vanity Fair
You likely have strong opinion on Kristen Stewart's acting abilities. The Twilight movies turned you way on or way off. Well, throw that perception out the window.

BuzzFeed: Kristen Stewart Says Good-Bye To Twilight With Sundance’s “Camp X-Ray”
In Peter Sattler’s new film Camp X-Ray, which had its high-profile (thanks to its star) premiere at Sundance on Friday, Stewart plays, of all things, a guard at Guantanamo Bay. And she is very good in it. 

By the end of Camp X-Ray, you’re won over by Stewart’s layered turn as Cole, and Moaadi’s as the defiant Ali. It’s a role perfectly suited to her strengths—vulnerability and hidden courage—and few young actresses can hold a close-up like Stewart. 

Variety: Kristen Stewart and Payman Maadi channel Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in this competent but politically suspect drama.
The two leads are excellent and play off each other deftly. Acting almost exclusively with his bearded face as seen through the cell window, Maadi (“A Separation”) calibrates precisely the character’s mix of humor, anger, despair and endurance. In a turn that will surprise and impress those who know her only from the “Twilight” films, Stewart is riveting, especially in the final scenes, where Sattler reverses the camera’s perspective so that Cole is the one viewed through the window, appearing as a sort of prisoner herself.


Sundance Portraits: the cast of CXR and the director Peter Sattler

Kristen Solo Portraits
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Michael Perricone tweets about mixing Camp X-Ray

Michael Perricone (sound re-recording mixer / supervising sound editor) tweets about mixing Camp X-Ray.

You can see Cole (Kristen's character) in the background. (from the left: Michael Perricone, Peter Sattler and Will Files - sound designer)


VIDEO: Meet The Artists '14: Peter Sattler - SFF

Director Peter Sattler talks about Camp X-Ray and Sundance Film Festival. 

Via Mel452. Thank you!


Uncropped Camp X-Ray still

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Peter Sattler talks about Camp X-Ray and Kristen

Writer/director Peter Sattler is ready to tell a different kind of Guantanamo Bay story in one of this year's major competition films.

Peter Sattler's Camp X-Ray will undoubtedly stir the pot when it premieres on Thurs., Jan. 17, the first full day of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. First there are the political provocations: the film follows a young woman recently assigned to prison guard duty at Guantanamo Bay who finds herself befriending an inmate. Then there are both critics and fans of Kristen Stewart, anxious to see how the film subverts the actress' assumed evolution (and judging from the sold-out screenings, they latter will be coming out in throngs). Camp X-Ray marks Sattler's directorial debut, though it would be an ambitious project for even a seasoned filmmaker. Before it bows at Sundance '14, we talked to Sattler about his career, developing Camp X-Ray, and his hopes for this competition film:

Background: Sattler studied film at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he befriended filmmakers like David Gordon Green (who executive produced Camp X-Ray), Jeff Nichols and Craig Zobel. There he took to experimental filmmaking, directing the Student Academy Award-nominated short Newton. When Green directed his second feature, All the Real Girls, he grabbed his college buddies, including Sattler, to work as below the line crew. “I worked in the art department and I told him, 'I don't know the first thing about the art department,'” recalls Sattler. “And he said, 'That's OK, we'll work it out.'"

The Big Break: After years of working in art departments, Sattler turned a passion for screenwriting into a full-time job. With writing partner Geoff Davey, he tackled studio genre assignments and rewrite jobs, slowly putting his graphic design work behind him. In 2008, he set up an adaptation of the graphic novel Freaks of the Heartland at Overture with Green attached to direct. All the while, Sattler toiled away over Camp X-Ray, the result of a newfound obsession with character and classic storytelling.

Getting the Film Off the Ground: When Sattler's script for Camp X-Ray was production-ready, he handed it to Green, who had been anxious to help his former collaborator get a feature off the ground. Sattler explains Green's willingness to help him in simple terms: “David just wants to see movies made.” Together they attracted investors, along with a lead actress who gave Sattler's debut a star-power boost. “It was the script and David's involvement that got Kristen interested,” he says. “She took a huge risk, jumping on to this movie with a director who hadn't directed a feature, but I think she responded to the power of the script.”

When It All Seemed to Click: Knowing that many first-time directors stumble with style over substance, Sattler opted to shoot Camp X-Ray as “a very classic, very elegant film” that let the script and performances do the talking. So it wasn't until he met with Stewart and talked through the character of Amy that his vision began to coalesce. “The weird thing about Kristen is that there's Kristen Stewart the star and Kristen Stewart the actor,” he says of his lead. Together, they started asking questions that acted as foundation for the film's main action. Sattler rattles off examples: “Who is this girl? She didn't do that, she did this. OK, what did she do in high school? Was she involved in sports? Was she a virgin?” He says Stewart filled in many of the blanks and added dimension to the ideas he had put on the page.

For a low-budget drama, finding a Gitmo stand-in could prove difficult. But that's what the Internet is for. Sattler began researching and discovered that Guanatnamo Bay was designed by a U.S. contractor known for its maximum security prisons. Then he stumbled upon a juvenile prison in Whittier, California (just outside of L.A.), that just so happened to have a block of cells mimicking maximum security prisons. Stars aligned. Sattler believes the verisimilitude was essential to Camp X-Ray. “The movie basically has three characters, three primary elements: Kirsten, Paymer [Moaadi, of A Separation, as inmate Ali] and the character of this place.”

The Mission for Camp X-Ray: Sattler didn't want to make a movie about Guantanamo Bay that was politically charged and reflective of a big picture. He wanted to make a movie about Guantanamo Bay as a home to inmates and guards alike. “What if a movie could be about Guantanamo Bay without focusing on the 100 miles of fence line and, instead, focused on the smaller details. The microscopic view instead of a grand scale. Not Zero Dark Thirty but an intimate look at a world. These characters don't experience amazing helicopter shots over Guantanamo. They basically experience those four walls they see day in and day out,” Sattler says.