I spent the afternoon at the Racquet Club theater in Park City today, checking out a pair of films from accomplished filmmakers. David Gordon Green's "Snow Angels" and Jeff Blitz's "Rocket Science" are terrific steps forward for both directors, but what surprised me as I thought about the two films tonight was the fact both were in competition here at the Sundance Film Festival. Tonight, I started thinking more about what makes a Sundance competition film these days...these two films seem a bit better suited to the festival's higher-profile Premieres section, which tends to showcase the movies with big names or from well-heeled backers.
"Rocket Science," an HBO Films production already set for a summer release from Picturehouse, is a distinctive move into narrative work for "Spellbound" director Jeff Blitz, offering a rather personal story about a kid coming-of-age and overcoming obstacles. It's polished and quirky with a number of strong performance from a young cast.
"Snow Angels," with an equally terrific young cast (and a mix of established actors - Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell, among others), is a powerful film about separation and loss among a group of families intertwined via love and work.
I'll have to ponder the competition issue a bit further, but it just stood out to me as the day came to an end and its certainly nothing new that the Sundance has moved more and more commercial over the years.