The truth is that non-fiction film is the hot item so far this year. Year by year, documentaries have become more visible, discussed and more attractive to buyers. Coming into this year’s festival, much of the business buzz has been about documentaries. Before the Festival had even kicked off, Zeitgeist Films [www.zeitgeistfilms] had picked up Yung Chang’s political travelogue, UP THE YANGTZE [uptheyangtze.com], in which a poor Chinese girl is hired to work on a luxury cruise with the famed and controversial Three Gorges Dam in the background. Zeitgeist co-president Nancy Gerstman emphasizes the film’s “compassion and dark humor” as among its selling – and in their case buying – points.
A tribute to the abundance of compelling new voices and the creative spirit in independent filmmaking, the Spectrum program presents out-of-competition dramatic and documentary films from some of the most promising filmmakers in the world today. For 2008, Sundance Film Festival features a new sidebar, Spectrum: Documentary Spotlight. Unfulfilled dreams, storybook heroes, joyful octogenarians, and gangsters with a heart are revealed in these new films.