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Sundance: Kristen Stewart’s ‘Camp X-Ray’ Premieres to Mixed Reactions

Guantanamo Bay drama playing in U.S. Dramatic Competition at film festival

Kristen Stewart’s new Guantanamo Bay drama “Camp X-Ray” drew mixed reactions following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.

Some audience members outside the Eccles theater “loved” the fictional war drama, starring the “Twilight” actress, while other criticized the film for being “too slow.”

The film, playing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the festival, takes place in the infamous U.S. prison camp Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and follows a young military guard (Stewart) who begins to question the facility’s abusive treatment of its detainees after she forms a bond with one of the Islamic prisoners.

During his introduction to the film, writer/director Peter Settler said he wanted to focus on humanity, not politics, while making “Camp X-Ray,” which opens with footage from the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York.

“We wanted to make a movie that is not propaganda,” the writer/director told the audience.

Stewart, on hand for a post-screening Q&A, said she spent hours watching GITMO documentaries and was even trained by a “really awesome marine named JB who…whipped me into shape.”

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“She had aspects that I am and really felt,” the actress said of her character in the movie. “My prep was figuring out who she was.”

Insiders at the festival suggested to Variety that the film would likely sell to a small distributor for limited theatrical/VOD release.

“Camp X-Ray,” co-starring Payman Moaadi and Lane Garrison, was exec produced by David Gordon Green.

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