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Senna movie goes down a storm at Sundance Festival
Senna movie goes down a storm at Sundance Festival
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jan 2011   |  2:14 pm GMT  |  66 comments

The movie about Ayrton Senna, which we have chronicled extensively on this site, has had a very positive reception at the celebrated Sundance Film Festival in America.

The film is shortlisted for best world documentary and is in a very competitive field, but it has been glowingly reviewed by the LA Times critic, who attended the Sundance screening.

Director Asif Kapadia (l) and writer Manish Pandey

“Sometimes a documentary will unexpectedly reach out and grab you by the throat, not giving you a second to breathe,” wrote Kenneth Turan of the LA Times. “That’s that way it was with “Senna,” which had its North American premiere Friday night in Sundance’s world documentary competition.

“Told solely through the use of archival footage, “Senna” is bursting with great racing sequences, many dealing with his bitter rivalry with French champion Alain Prost. But what makes this film so riveting is the remarkable personality of the man himself.

“Someone who just flat-out loved to drive, Senna was a purist who had complete disdain for the politics that had to be played in the cliquish Formula One world. Though he drove like the devil, he was a spiritual person who believed deeply and profoundly in a higher power. A philosophical mystic with a jewel thief’s nerves and a poet’s sensitivity (and good looks), Senna was an altogether remarkable human being.”

Senna director Asif Kapadia and writer/producer Manish Pandey are out at Sundance. A good response at Sundance is likely to make for a wider US distribution for the movie. It is due to open in Italy shortly and then in the UK in June.

We’re working on a special JA on F1 screening in London in early May, so keep an eye out for more details on that, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

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Thanks , I just wrote a summary on my essay


Yes Yes -we are in Ontario & are F1 followers-saw him in Montreal when he was driving for Lotus-fans of his forever-would like to buy mouvie.


PLEASE bring this movie/documentary to Vancouver, Canada!!!!! My whole family are still fans! Ayrton was an amazing person. If you cared enough to see him properly, you could see his sensitivity by looking into his eyes – even on the tv.

Claire Palfreyman

My Dad and I are true F1 fans and there are many more in Canada. We’re a small nation in a large country but we’re here! Please bring Senna to us. I’ll help with the Marketing!


My family were (are) TOTAL Senna fans. We live in Canada and all of us would DEFINITELY rent/buy/watch this documentary. When will it be available in Canada?


Will it be screened in South Africa, and where?


For South Africans…

I have contacted both NuMetro and Ster Kinekor…the people i spoke to have NO IDEA about the movie…so my guess is that it is going to be a NO.

So it will have to be DVD / Blu-ray for us….with the surround volume really really really loud!


Where can we buy Senna the movie in south Africa? do you have an idea of a release date for SA. Thanks


Is Senna the movie coming to South Africa and by when ?

Or will it be available on DVD or Blue Ray




Will be available on DVD certainly. Don’t know about cinema release in S Africa. Will ask


How’s the sound quality on this movie?

If there’s one thing I consistently find disappointing in regards to most F1 footage, it’s how deplorable the audio track is. In-car footage often sounds like a computer video game.

As a rule of thumb, genuine film cameras seem to capture the true aural experience of an F1 car better than video tape. In particular, especially if it’s a fixed film camera which allows you to hear the rarkable echos off surrounding buildings of the cars flying past. This is particularly true of Moncao.

However, of all the footage I would LOVE to see, which I suspect isn’t in the film, I would have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall during some of Senna’s contract negotiations with Ron Dennis and Frank Williams. I’ve read a number of books on that subject and how should one say it? Apparently it was very tense stuff.


Does anyone know if/where you can buy the poster for the film? Its great – going to be framed and put in my study.


I have actually just finished reading Christopher Hiltons senna book last night.

The more I read about Ayrton, the more i learn to be honest. It seems he was a completely different character away from the track.

Can’t wait for the London screening James. Should be epic to see it on a big screen. I will try to get to that, and then go and watch it again on general release.

I havent been to the cinema twice to see the same film since Dumb and Dumber 😉

Any idea how many tickets there will be? I.e size of cinema? Is the charity the mechanics trust, or Sennas foundation?


I was at the US premier at Sundance and I thought the movie was great. If you’re a big fan of Senna there won’t be anything too new that you didn’t already know, but it was nice to see it all packaged as a tight story designed more for emotional impact than anything else.


Agreed, have also seen it and have DVD on order from Japan in March. There are a few interviews that I maybe haven’t seen all of before (probably unused bits of Racing in the Blood and similar by the looks of it) and a few snapshots of home life but vast majority not new to huge fans with YouTube access. It is a good film though. Just a pity Gerhard Berger not in it, neither is 1992 Monaco or Donnington 1993 and context of him walking out of conference partly because of Piquet not explained to new viewer. Perhaps they’ve gone for a build up of dramatic tension at the expense of showing lighter/’normal’ side and 2 brilliant bits of driving, or perhaps I’m just a fuss pot!

Pity I won’t be able to come to screening as I’m on holiday in early May, still, by the sound of it, at least I get to see Kung Fu Panda on the plane, so, you know, every cloud has a silver lining!! 🙂


Can’t wait, bring it!!!!!!!!



Please – when you issue the tickets can you give us a few days notice so that I can be near a web connection poised with my credit card…

Thanks – London would be ace.


James, will this be on the first come first served basis, or you plan to put up a little competition as you did few times before?

I’d love a competition! It’s the most fair way, don’t you think?


Tickets will be on sale raising money for a charity. First come first served.


Ok. I’ll have to keep on watching out from now on.

I thought you had some tickets to give away, must have misunderstood something.


I don’t understand why it seems so hard for Universal to just post worldwide release dates!

There’s no Grand Prix in my country, not high end film festivals, does that mean I’m screwed? I certainly hope not, but it’s really frustrating not being able to get any kind of information regarding release dates besides the UK.


I can’t wait to see this. I would love to go to the London screening! 🙂


WE have a local cinema in Stirling which shows films like this on request, I would presume that other cities and towns would as well so worth making enquiries.

Seen various mountain biking films in this manner, including most of the NWDs

Next e mail to the cinema!


May you say? Hmmm…but Kung Fu Panda 2 is released in May as well. Which shall I go and see? Tough tough tough decisions to be made. 🙂


You’re kidding…bad date clash!


Kenneth is a well established film critic and his postive response will certainly help the film here in the US.



Can you please publish a list of where this movie will be shown. I would love know whether this will come to South Africa? If not will the movie be available on DVD?

Senna was my hero and the reason for my love of Formula One till this day..


I do know that it will be on DVD but this phase is all about getting it in as many cinemas as possible before it goes to DVD. Its should be seen in the cinema, esp for the sound


I’ve just read that it’s due to open in Spain in May 20th.

Could make sense, as it’s the Spanish GP weekend, so the best moment of the year for the film to catch the biggest possible audience in Spain IMO.

James, do you have any info about this? I’ve read somewhere (tweeter??) that is was going to open in July…


I’ll check with the producers for you


I’ll keep an eye out for your London Screening, I would love to attend!


This is exciting news for the filmmakers. These festivals are important in securing distribution for the movie.

Cannot wait to see it!

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