Digital Films News, , , , , — January 22, 2012 20:31 — 0 Comments

Sundance Film Festival opens with an emphasis on getting back to its roots

The Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival runs until 29 January

The annual Sundance Film Festival 2012 opened on Thursday (19 January) in Park City, Utah, with The Queen of Versailles, a documentary by Lauren Greenfield that reflects the challenges Americans are going through in the current economic climate — from a rich perspective.

The film is about a self-made billionaire couple who had a vision of their 90,000 square foot dream mansion and ran into obstacles along the way. They eventually realized they had to downsize and reflect on what was really more important in life.

As the Guardian writes, Greenfield’s film sets the tone for what could be a choppy, troublesome programme of independent productions, reflecting wider tensions in the land at large. The 10-day schedule promises films on such thorny issues as healthcare, tax evasion and the ongoing “war on drugs”.

Now in its 33rd year, Sundance remains America’s largest independent film showcase, credited with launching the careers of a range of film-makers, including Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino. At times, however, the event has risked becoming a victim of its own success, with detractors accusing it of turning into a boutique outlet for thinly veiled Hollywood productions. In recent years, Sundance appears to have made a concerted effort to return to its independent roots, establishing a new festival category (NEXT) championing micro-budget productions, the Guardian writes.

Back in October the Sundance Institute announced it was supporting transmedia projects with the establishment of The New Frontier Story Lab to promote new forms of storytelling by indie film-makers.

The Institute has also announced that 13 films supported by the festival will make their digital premieres through the Sundance Institute Artist Services Program.

The films available include Semper Fi: Always Faithful (currently on the Academy Award shortlist for Best Documentary), Obselidia (Independent Spirit Award Winner), Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007 Sundance Film Festival documentary on the arcade gamer competitions in the ’80s), New York Times Critic’s Pick Lord Byron and 1994 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award Winner What Happened Was … by Tom Noonan — making its digital premiere 18 years after first screening in Park City, Utah.

Search for the films on iTunes, Amazon Instant VideoHulu, SundanceNOW and YouTube.

These projects are the first to take advantage of the Institute’s Artist Services access to distribution programme, announced this summer. Artist Services provides Institute artists with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing solutions for their work.

“We are truly excited for these films to reach the leading digital platforms and storefronts for movies. We created Artist Services so films that have shown at the Sundance Film Festival or been part of our Sundance Institute Labs will have a chance to find their audiences and fan bases. Audiences now have a chance to connect with exciting independent work using the devices and services they already love,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance Institute.



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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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