What's Wrong With Sundance

by Anthony Kaufman
January 16, 2005 8:30 AM
10 Comments
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As we prepare to navigate the snowy wilds of Sundance, my email has been loading up with the most unseemly litany of items that don't have anything to do with celebrating American independent cinema.

Perhaps, between screenings, I'll pick up a coffee at the Yahoo! Cafe, and grab a drink at the Heineken Green Room, then take a rest on one of those La-Z-Boy chairs or on the InterfaceFLORnd custom carpets, followed by an aperitif at the Crown Royal's Sippin' at Sunset happy hour before getting a bite to eat at the Lean Cuisine food bar.

Why doesn't everything in Park City take a corporate sponsor: I'll just get on the McDonald's shuttle to the Chevrolet Eccles theater and buy me a Microsoft ticket, and drink from the Coca Cola drinking fountain before settling into my Gap seat.

Why stop there? Every person who arrives in Park City should take a sponsor, too. "Hey, look, there's Gatorade Geoff Gilmore, Wallgreen's Robert Ebert and who might that be, I think it's Staples Sandra Bullock!"

For further gross offenders, prime examples of corporate co-option, repulsive exploitation and shameless marketing, here are a few of my favorite things:

1. $50,000 CELEBRITY GIFT BAGS TO PREMIERE AT THE UPCOMING SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL -- Acclaimed Ultimate Comfort Bag to Benefit A Place Called Home Charity: "At this year

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10 Comments

  • toobeaut | January 25, 2005 12:19 AMReply

    Isn't it redundant to use "celebrity" and "media whore" in the same sentence?

  • Joshua R. | January 21, 2005 10:46 AMReply

    Boy, given all the promotional content plaguing the fest, it's a good thing the films themselves are so truly independent, and not beholden to any corporate interests whatsoever.

  • ulysses | January 20, 2005 11:05 AMReply

    doesn't P. Biskind's bk say that Redford loaded even the very first Sundance Board w/producers & agents, who in turn bought the pricey houses he built among the snowslopes?

    & as i recall, "sundance" is also the name of an Indian ritual which was perhaps an early intuitive depiction of the basic position one must assume upon entering hollywood ... or more subtly but growing less so, Sundance!

  • Marc | January 20, 2005 3:40 AMReply

    Sundance is a market. Market's are crowded with products. I'm pretty certain indiewire is, and always has been, a promotional tool for said products. Furthermore, your argument is antiquated (this has been going on for almost ten years), and your writing is horrid (fear the critics that try to get creative and fail miserably, please stop writing jokes). Lastly, that should say "Why stop there?", not "Why not stop there?". Someone take this blog away from this man.

  • Scott Hilbun | January 20, 2005 2:51 AMReply

    You are a tool! Look in the mirror, kill yourself and save air for people that aren't dumb. DEEERRRR!

  • dionysus | January 20, 2005 1:57 AMReply

    Sundance is Hollywood in the snow.

  • cal godot | January 19, 2005 10:23 AMReply

    This has been a long time coming, hasn't it? When corporate invasion of festivals began back in the 90s, fest directors assured those concerned that such corporate cooperation would be confined to financial sponsorship. The doom-sayers who suggested otherwise were roundly ridiculed, their devotion to capitalism questioned, their intelligence impugned, and their conspiracy mindset mocked. Whose laughing now? No one but the marketeers.

  • Geoff Kleinman | January 19, 2005 9:51 AMReply

    Sundance seems to be more and more like Cannes "West", and perhaps that's where this industry is at right now, it needs an epicenter for all these stars to come together, see and be seen and have tons of press talking about them.

    It's just unfortunate that this needs seems to be eclipsing the need to have a place for indie filmmakers to have their work seen and even possiably get picked up for distribution.

    It's sad that there are SO many films this year which are debuting at Sundace with a distribution already lined up. In many ways their taking the spots which are really needed by indie filmmakers.

    The good news is that Slamdance looks GREAT this year and they're helping fill the need for filmmakers to get their work seen.. even if they don't have a big name star in the picture.

  • ratzlow | January 18, 2005 7:26 AMReply

    what are you, a commie?
    it's a market!!
    artist market good and bad ideas
    companies market good and bad products
    i wish someone would invite me to chefdance

  • eric | January 17, 2005 7:31 AMReply

    It's a shame that Sundance has turned into a moth light for media whore Hollyweird celebrities attempting to increase their street credibility amongst the indie community.

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