Sundance Film Festival

More Movies, New Models and Getting Picked Up in Park City

I have left the crowded streets of Park City and headed for home. For those tramping along at the Festival until the very end, the experience might begin to compare unfavorably with the Bataan Death March. But my only regret -and this is a tribute to the programming- is the number of films that I couldn’t fit into the time allotted.

SERGIO
SERGIO

High on that list are some important documentaries. SERGIO, about the chief of the U.N. Mission in Iraq, will be shown on HBO but I’m not sure where to find REPORTER, which follows the work of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and illustrates why the collapse of journalism might be a bad thing.

I missed many of the pictures that were snapped up, though getting bought doesn’t necessarily mean that a movie is good. BROOKLYN’S FINEST got bought and I am led to believe that it isn’t so good. Director Anton Fuqua got the memo, however, and will change an ending that didn’t play well.
The movie was among the wares offered by Cassian Elwes of the William Morris Agency’s independent film division. He says this has been an “excellent” Festival for him; he’s closing in on a number of sales and credits a strong line-up for producing good results.

I’m happy to say there was bidding for HUMPDAY, one of the movies that I did manage to see. I’m not sure that I like the fact that Magnolia is going to try to use HUMPDAY to work out one of those much talked-about new distribution models, releasing it through video-on-demand in 15 cities before putting it in theaters. I’m all in favor of new models (okay, maybe I’m not). But I don’t know that I want my lucky pick to be a rat in that laboratory.

Concerns about the impact of the ongoing digital revolution were as much a presence at the Festival as worry about the economy. As Festival programmer John Cooper said at the beginning, this year’s line-up included “artifacts from a better day.” We’ll have to wait until next year to see whether what artifacts emerge from these troubled times.