Sundance Film Festival judges Marlee Matlin, Jeremy O Harris and Eliza Hittman left the world premiere of Magazine Dreams in Park City, Utah after the captioning device for Marlee, who is deaf, malfunctioned Friday night. The boxing drama, starring Jonathan Majors, was screened in part of the festival’s US Dramatic Competition. The device was repaired a few hours later, and the festival reported that the judges will screen the film again before it ends on January 29. (Read also: Magazine Dreams review: Elijah Bynum’s powerful character study is a volcanic mix of Travis Bickle and Jake LaMotta)
Magazine Dreams, directed by Elijah Bynum, revolves around the character of Jonathan, a black bodybuilder with self-destructive qualities. The actor has already received critical acclaim for his performance and dedication to the role.
In a statement shared with The Associated Press, Joana Vicente, CEO of Sundance Institute, said on Saturday: “Our team immediately worked with the devices at that location to retest them for the next screening, and the device worked without any glitches. Our goal is to ensure that all experiences (in-person and online) are as accessible as possible to all participants, although our accessibility efforts are always evolving and feedback helps move this forward for the community as a whole.”
“We are committed to improving experiences and connection for all festival goers,” the statement continued. “We view accessibility as one of the key drivers of institutional excellence and this work is done in collaboration with film teams.”
Joana shared that the closed captioning device, which works on WiFi, was tested prior to the screening, but nevertheless did not function properly during the screening. The film will be screened again for the judges before the end of the festival.
Marlee, who lost her hearing as a toddler, has not yet commented on the incident. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her acting debut in Children of a Lesser God (1986). She also starred in the coming-of-age drama CODA last year, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture.
The Hindustan Times review of Magazine Dreams stated, “Bynum, who also wrote Magazine Dreams, evokes an excruciatingly intense character study that is almost excruciatingly difficult to watch at times. More than the violence, it’s the anticipation of it that makes the story drives, while Maddox’s obsession completely overtakes him.The last 20 minutes in particular become agonizing to sit through – as Bynum challenges the audience to leave his side.It all works thanks to Jonathan Majors, who gives the performance of a lifetime as Killian maddox.”