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in Filmmaking
on Jan 22, 2009

I agree with Manohla, the reduced crowds make this Sundance the most pleasant in years. In her just-posted piece in the New York Times on the festival, however, she includes a bit of historical summary that nails the current conundrum facing the independent sector.

An excerpt:

The industry was still in attendance this year, but the high-roller fever that has gripped the festival for the last decade has cooled. Although this made for the most pleasant Sundance in memory, it also presents a host of unknowns. If the studios don’t buy independent films, fewer investors in turn may be inclined to bankroll projects, particularly those with bigger budgets. Yet it is precisely those movies with heftier budgets, and the glossier production values and marquee-ready performers that can come with those budgets — like the ready-made entertainment and 2006 Sundance success story “Little Miss Sunshine” — that distributors believe can help bring in the increasingly finicky audience. If the investors don’t invest and the buyers don’t buy, will the movies still be made, and what kind?

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