Sundance Film Festival

Cinetic Gives The Skinny On Sundance 2009

There are many reasons for people to be nervous at Sundance, especially in this difficult economy. But those on the guest list for the big Cinetic party can relax on one account: The notoriously aggressive sellers (who brought NAPOLEOAN DYNAMITE and many other hits to Sundance) have nailed down their biggest sponsor for their fabled bash. No, not Grey Goose–it’s that swinging city, the wealthiest of the emirates–Abu Dhabi.

I’ll let you know what happens when sandstorm meets snow job.

Meanwhile, slower sales were already taking their toll before the economy soured. Cinetic’s John Sloss says he’ll be at Sundance with “far fewer” than the 19 films he brought last year. Some of the recent crop didn’t work out that well. What Just Happened?, with Robert DeNiro playing film producer Art Linson, got a splashy premiere last time–but no buyer.

Despite the economy, Sloss is not yet convinced that he’ll face a market of tight-fisted window-shoppers. “I’ve given up prognosticating,” he says. “The market is as big as it’s ever been for specialized movies but there seems to be some kind of fear-driven paralysis.” And prospective buyers including Paramount Vantage and Warner Independent are out of the game. Sloss may still be able to play buyers off against each other in late-night sessions at his big house in the hills—but there will be fewer of them.