Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


In their second feature, Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky mine the tumultuous terrain of indie rock to deliver a well-crafted and darkly humorous tale of a cynical Spaniard’s degenerative journey through the Spanish underground music and art scene. The gritty realism of documentary-style filmmaking is completely integrated with its edgy subjects and is smartly employed to create a strong sense of atmosphere, capturing the jaded texture of life touring too many smoky, small-time bars.
Unai started touring American indie bands through Spain at age fifteen, back when it provided a chance to meet his idols and glamourously transcend the turbulent and consuming politics of his native Basque region. Now at the end of his youth, Unai has an empty wallet, a nasty speed habit, and a life full of conflict. Struggling to understand where he went wrong, he meets Mary, a spontaneous Lower East Side poet, who captivates him with a punk spirit he feels he has lost. He invites her to go on tour with him, but when her star rises, he is faced with the seemingly overwhelming task of veering off his subtle path of destruction.
Skillfully written, Radiation has a cleverly fractured story structure which perfectly mirrors Unai’s ruptured sense of self. His embroiled dealings with speed pushers, club owners, and disenchanted patrons serve brilliantly as a metaphor for the Basque politics which first drove him to seek refuge in the music business. Filled with truths, Radiation is an urban fable aimed at the disillusioned, stubborn, and rebellious.

Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, Directors
Suki Hawley’s and Michael
Galinsky’s first feature, Half Cocked, chronicled the tour of a small indie-rock band in the South. Hawley has worked in the cutting rooms at Roger Corman’s studio and on many independent films, including Party Girl, Trouble on the Corner, and Sense and Sensibility. Galinsky comes to film through music. He is the bass player in the New York band Sleepyhead and the cofounder of the band Laptop. His first book of photographs will be published this year. Radiation is their second feature-length collaboration.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]