The Wall Street Journal today kicks off my online coverage of Sundance (for the uninitiated Journal reader) with a spotlight on 8 films from this year's selection "that have the ingredients for success at Sundance and beyond" (no subscription is necessary; video clips are also included). The list is meant to highlight the more commercial entries ("Black Snake Moan," etc.), which I've picked based on a combination of distributor muscle and positive buzz. There is an additional five "also noted" films that may also break out.
Also, in trying to rope in coverage for Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” party up at Sundance, one hapless publicist has leaked the list of the venerable trade magazine's top-ten up-and-coming helmers: It's interesting to note the small percentage of U.S. filmmakers (only 3) on the list. This may simply be a function of what was available to Variety's editors for preview, but it also continues a trend in the last year of foreign filmmakers making strides -- not a good portent for Sundance. Here is the list:
Andrea Arnold (RED ROAD), Nelson George (LIFE SUPPORT), Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (THE LIVES OF OTHERS), Jorge Hernandez Aldana (THE NIGHT BUFFALO), Sarah Polley (AWAY FROM HER), Jarrett Schaefer (CHAPTER 27), Andrea Staka (FRAULEIN), James C. Strouse (GRACE IS GONE), Joachim Trier (REPRISE), Taika Waititi (EAGLE VS. SHARK)