The Sundance film pageant, even though firmly in its mid-Nineteen Twenties and struggling all the expected crises, is one of the world’s most essential cinema venues. it is been said that what plays nicely up inside the mountains of Park town this 12 months can be trickling into the Hollywood mainstream via the summer after next. If that is true, the 2008 new release of the competition leaves us with loads to consider. here are five things to chew on as American films face what’s probably a pivotal 12 months.

five. trouble in Hollywood isn’t always always excellent news for indies. on the outset of the competition the writer’s Guild strike dominated communication. Record Deal Prognosticators expected a shopping for frenzy at Sundance 2008 as studios searched nervously for films to fill their doubtlessly empty launch slate. however, at the equal time, pundits had been brief to point to closing 12 months’s rampant overspending and expected buyers could be cautious.

So, what occurred? now not a whole lot. After an preliminary panic, over $25 million really worth of deals were inked at Sundance ’08. whilst this pales compared to the $53 million forked over at Sundance ’07, we can take into account 2008 as a go back to sanity.

4. Of the 17 films sold at Sundance…8 had been documentaries. In truth, all the films to sell in the typically frantic first weekend at Sundance had been documentaries, leading many to believe that this 12 months’s market could be a bust. however even if prices have been down a bit for dramas, critics and audiences agree that the yank documentary is as essential as ever, or even after the disappointing container-office overall performance of remaining yr’s Sundance docs (MY youngster ought to PAINT THAT, within the SHADOW OF THE MOON) there may be still a very healthy market.

3. The Webolution is not being webcast. “The writing is at the wall-the enterprise need to adapt to new media or face extinction. modern studios and independents are in the end embracing the undertaking of porting content material and revenue to new distribution techniques. join Hollywood strength brokers and new media superstars to speak about their techniques for the web.”

that’s from the legit Sundance movie festival guide and the introduction to the a whole lot-buzzed about panel “Webolution!”. Netflix, Veoh.com, Joost.com, Hulu.com, the MPAA, and MTV were all represented.

alas, not anything changed into solved.

The huge take-away: the us wishes to do extra to encourage the form of access to high speed net the relaxation of the advanced global enjoys. some commentators have stated, compared to Europe, Japan, and Korea, the us is a “broadband third international.”

notwithstanding the panel and the panic approximately the net, this yr Sundance is scaling again its online offerings. Its on line movie pageant, launched in 2001, has all but disappeared. In 2007, Sundance’s site offered almost 50 films constantly over the route of the competition; this 12 months, it’s going to display just one for every of the festival’s 10 days.

2. Who absolutely regulations Sundance and why is it that no one likes Sony snap shots Classics? There were rumblings for a number of years now that sales sellers (or brokers) would possibly have a touch too much pull at Sundance. Dealmakers like Cinetic Media, William Morris, Submarine amusement, and the CAA (innovative employer Artists) come to Sundance to symbolize filmmakers and to gas the bidding battle furnaces. Does a Cinetic stamp of approval get you into Sundance? probable now not, however the annual Cinetic Sundance birthday party is clearly wherein you need to be after you get there.

This year the brokers had Sony pix Classics’ quantity. while Fox Searchlight and focus movies paid the most for films ($10M for HAMLET 2, and $5M for CHOKE, respectively), SPC changed into the maximum energetic, snapping up 3 dramas this 12 months: FROZEN RIVER (repped by way of William Morris organisation), BAGHEAD (repped by way of CAA), and THE WACKNESS (repped with the aid of Submarine leisure). So why are bloggers up in fingers? Sony pictures Classics has a terrible song report liberating and advertising Sundance movies (JUNEBUG, LAYER CAKE, PERSEPOLIS), and it’s far anticipated that SPC will fumble those crowd favourites.

This side of Sundance has continually received a variety of speak, but this 12 months it seems to be receiving, especially thanks to the efforts of bloggers, the sort of scrutiny in order to help it mature in keeping with Sundance’s creative aspirations.

1. New American Realism equals… pills? For critics, commentators, and maximum bloggers, there was lots to celebrate at Sundance 2008. Manohla Dargis (the big apple instances), tweaked to what she referred to as the “emergence of a new American realism,” praised the Sundance crop this 12 months for pointing a way beyond the twee and solipsistic, the mainstays of Sundance film fairs past. but on the identical time, Todd McCarthy, in range, cannot assist but comment on what number of movies this year characteristic characters trying, failing, succeeding, or considering getting high. American documentaries can be in the midst of a renaissance, and the injustices of the sector might also name for even closer scrutiny, but the testimonies the us is telling itself appear stranded among a desperate holding tight to the naked bones of experience and the wisps of self-fantasy.

The jury prizes went to trouble THE WATER, a staggeringly intimate documentary on the aftermath of storm Katrina (still unsold as of this writing), and to FROZEN RIVER, a drama approximately immigrant smuggling across the usa/Canada border (offered to Sony Classics for less than 1,000,000). The target market awards went to FIELDS OF fuel, a documentary abut American addiction to grease (still unsold as of this writing), and to THE WACKNESS, a comedy drama about the big apple pot dealers (bought to Sony images Classics for less than 2 million).