Attendance was reported to be down a little at this year’s Sundance. It seemed that way but since we attended for the second half only it wasn’t perfectly clear. There were still sold out movies but in general the lines seemed a little shorter. This is still an industry festival and so it’s a great place to take the pulse of the industry. The pulse is a little weak. One of the great things about Sundance is that directors, cast and crew are usually in attendance and available for Q&A after their film plays. A common question is ‘What is next for all of you’ and this year more than in the past the common answer was ‘I don’t know, do you know where I can find work?’ A more scientific measure is to see how many films were being bought by distributors. You’ll usually hear plenty about this just from talking with people in line, especially if a bidding war has broken out. We didn’t hear much of that this year. What we did hear about was a Sundance film paying for its own distribution. I think the film in question was Splice which we did not see. If you’ve got enough money to make a big budget movie you probably have enough to pay for one of these ‘service deals’. What’s going to happen if this becomes the standard way of doing business? Seems like it would lead to only big budget movies in theaters. Seems like we already have that. Maybe it will lead to a merger between movie studios and movie theaters. Can’t wait.
Read about this Year’s Sundance Film Festival here.