Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sundance Ends

In case you missed it, you better read my Sundance wrapup. I talk about award winners and some stuff that was good that didn't win awards. Exciting stuff.

You may also like to re-read my previous Sundance coverage, including my mid-festival mopery and IN capsule reviews.

I'm always interested in how the jury reacts to Sundance's odd tendancy to play "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" and break their implied programming guidelines. In general, Sundance focuses on lesser-known filmmakers for its competition categories, while they place the bigger names in Premieres and Spectrum (formerly American Spectrum, and for a year or two they created American Showcase, so that American Spectrum could devote itself to small films that didn't make competition while Showcase highlighted established talent). For example, this year's documentaries by Morgan Spurlock and Stacy Peralta were in Spectrum this year because "Super-Size Me" and "Dog Town and Z-Boys were already Sundance hits.

But Sundance programmers occasionaly break this rule. Indie celeb Steve Buscemi made the competition with "Lonesome Jim" a few years back. David Gordon Green is always in competition as part of Sundance's penance for the infamous and unforgivable "George Washington" snub. This year, Sundance put "Sugar" in competition, even though it was by the talented duo behind "Half Nelson" (see previous entry). These films rarely win awards, although "All the Real Girls" did receive a Special Jury Prize. It could be the jury didn't think the films were as good, but in the case of this year's selections, "Sugar" easily deserved recognition over crap like "Anywhere, USA ."

If you were a jury member at Sundance, would you feel obliged to pick the best films for awards, or to draw attention to independent filmmaking? It's kind of tricky, really.

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