Sundance Film Festival

The Truth About Truth


Image From UP THE YANGTZE, by Jonathan Chang @ 2007 EyeSteelFilm. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Soon after, HBO acquired rights to photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ THE BLACK LIST [www.sundance.org], a directory of the movers and shakers in the African-American community. (An exhibition of Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits are on view in Park City at the BlackHouse). Former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell took a break from the red pen to co-create this documentary. The Weinstein Company signed a deal for international rights to Marina Zenovich’s ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED [www.sundance.org], and ESPN has acquired Susan Koch’s KICKING IT [www.sundance.org].

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Peter Bowen

Editor, FilmInFocus.com