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Are Foreign Films Dead, and Can Sundance Help?

by Anthony Kaufman
January 22, 2006 3:30 AM
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Here, in Park City, I am covering the films from the world cinema sections, and what I've found is admirable, but not astonishing. In an indieWIRE report published Sunday, I surveyed about a half-dozen movies. And while they may be as good as the American films at this year's festival, the chances they'll get any sort of theatrical distribution in the U.S. is probably slim. In the New York Times, also on Sunday coincidentally, I wrote a story "Is Foreign Film the New Endangered Species" about the dwindling attention paid to foreign films that are not action-adventure-genre-wuxia movies and the news I received from distributors is alarming.

By programming international films alongside its standard American fare, Sundance is trying to help bridge the increasing gap between U.S. and foreign-language productions in the U.S. market. But judging from the attendance at the Sundance press and industry screenings for the world cinema films -- not the public shows, mind you -- I'm doubtful the gatekeepers are getting Sundance's hint.

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