Sundance Film Festival


Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in the state of Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the U.S. [cite web|author=The Associated Press|title=Sundance Mixed With Stars, Politicians|url=http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/sundance/news/aps/20060118/113762388000.html|date=January 18, 2006|publisher=via Yahoo! News|accessdate=2007-11-11] Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah, as well as the Sundance Resort, the festival is the premier showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, and a group of non-competitive showcase sections, including the Sundance Online Film Festival.

History

Utah/US Film Festival

Sundance began in Salt Lake City in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah. Founded by Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle with Chairperson Robert Redford, the goal of the festival was to showcase what the potential of independent film could be. At the time, the main focus of the event was to present a series of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions; however it also included a small program of films made outside the Hollywood system, commonly known as independent films.

The jury of the 1978 festival was headed by Gary Allison, and included Verna Fields, Linwood Gale Dunn, Katherine Ross, Charles E. Sellier Jr., Mark Rydell, and Anthea Sylbert.

Sterling Van Wagenen subsequently left the film festival to help found the Sundance Institute with Robert Redford.

In 1981, the festival moved to Park City, Utah.

In 1984-85, the now well-established Sundance Institute, headed by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over management of the US Film Festival, which was experiencing financial difficulties. Gary Beer and Sterling Van Wagenen spearheaded production of the inaugural Sundance Film Festival which included Program Director Tony Safford and Administrative Director Jenny Walz Selby.

Over the following years several factors helped propel the growth of Utah/US Film Festival. First was the involvement of actor Robert Redford. Redford, a Utah resident, became the festival's inaugural chairman and having his name associated with Sundance gave the festival great attention.

Second, the festival moved from September to January. The move from late summer to mid-winter was reportedly done on the advice of Hollywood director Sydney Pollack, who suggested that running a film festival in a ski resort during winter would draw more attention from Hollywood.

undance Institute

Management of the festival was taken over by the Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization, in 1985. In 1991 the festival was officially renamed the "Sundance Film Festival", after Redford's character The Sundance Kid from the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". [cite web|author=Lauren David Peden|title=Sundance Subdued|url=http://www.coastmagazine.com/archive/pre_dec05/travel_sundance.html|month=December | year=2005|publisher=Freedom Orange County Information (coastmagazine.com)|accessdate=2007-11-11] . Many famous independent filmmakers, including Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, James Wan and Jim Jarmusch had their big break at Sundance. It is also responsible for bringing wider attention to films such as "Saw", "The Blair Witch Project", "Better Luck Tomorrow", "Primer", "Reservoir Dogs", "Little Miss Sunshine", "El Mariachi", "Clerks", "Thank You for Smoking", "Sex, lies, and videotape" and "Napoleon Dynamite". "Three Seasons" was the first in Festival history to ever receive both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award in 1999, the same as "God Grew Tired of Us" and "Quinceañera" in 2006.

Corporate America has taken notice of the festival by setting up independent marketing operations during the festival. This has not pleased the Sundance Film Festival, who have tried various ways to encourage brands to officially sponsor the festival, instead of creating their own marketing event. The festival has also (controversially, in some circles) become a press event for celebrities.

Starting in 2006, the Sundance Institute has collaborated with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on a special series of film screenings, performances, panel discussions, and special events bringing the institute's activities and the festival's programming to New York City. [cite web|title=Sundance Mixed With Stars, Politicians|url=http://www.bam.org/sundance/index_2007.aspx|date=|publisher=BAM|accessdate=2007-11-11]

Growth of the festival

The festival has changed over the decades from a low-profile venue for small-budget, independent creators from outside the Hollywood system to a media extravaganza for Hollywood celebrity actors, directors from studios that are subsidiaries of the major studios, paparazzi, and luxury-goods company sponsors giving gifts to the attendees.

In recent years the festival has strived to distance itself from these distractions, and in 2007 handed out buttons to all film-makers that read, "Focus on Film."

Attending the festival to see films can be difficult. For the 2008 festival, the film festival eliminated the $5 fee to register for a time slot to buy festival passes and ticket packages. This resulted in a flood of applications, and more than 4,000 were rejected without receiving any time slot at all. However, the festival then failed to sell all of the available passes and packages, presumably because many people assigned time slots did not actually buy passes or packages, and later added an open purchase period for all buyers. The "A" passes and packages, for the first half of the festival, sell out much more quickly than the "B" passes and packages.

Festival goers who cannot obtain tickets in advance may buy same-day tickets by lining up early in the morning at the festival box office, or line up for wait list tickets at a theater two hours before a scheduled showing. Wait list tickets are an excellent way to get into the screenings that appear to be sold out, for those who are prepared to wait.

ee also

* 2009 Sundance Film Festival
* 2008 Sundance Film Festival
* 2007 Sundance Film Festival
* 2006 Sundance Film Festival
* List of Sundance Film Festival award winners
* List of Sundance Film Festival selections
* Sundance Channel
* Any Given Sundance

Notes

External links

* [http://www2.sundance.org/ Sundance Institute]
* [http://www.sundanceguide.net Sundance – A Festival Virgin's Guide] - unofficial resources and information for festival attendees.
* [http://www.deconstructingsundance.com Deconstructing Sundance] - website using Bayesian analysis to predict how well films that play at the Festival will perform.
* [http://www.lathrios.com/festival.php?festid=14 Lathrios Film Festival Database] - the Lathrios listing for the Sundance Festival including a film list and analysis for the event.
* [http://www.ukhotmovies.com/film-festivals/sundance-film-festival/information.html UKHotMovies.com Sundance Film Festival: A Lowdown] - history and background to the festival referred to as 'Cannes in the snow'
* [http://www.queerlounge.org The Queer Lounge] - provides information on the films with gay and lesbian content at the various film festivals in Park City as well as a hospitality area during the festivals
* [http://www.greencine.com/article?action=view&articleID=259] - GreenCine report on Sundance 2005
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000602/bio IMDb Biography of Robert Redford]
* [http://www.filmsexplorers.com Festival Film Sundance] - news, articles, interesting information
* [http://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/festivals/sundance/ EyeForFilm.co.uk at Sundance] - Diaries, news and reviews from 2005-2008
* [http://www.docsthatinspire.com/?cat=4 Joel Heller's DOCS THAT INSPIRE Coverage of Sundance 2007 Documentary Selections]
* [http://www.ourbunch.net/~danm/1810miles/ Scan of the first festival program]


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