Sundance Shorts; First Look Webisodes and Park City Summit
by Eugene Hernandez and Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> Sundance Sports Diverse Lineup of Shorts With a Few Familiar Names
(indieWIRE/ 12.11.00) — 64 short films will screen at Sundance 2001,
selected from the 2,174 entries received this year. The Festival saw a 20%
increase in submissions last year, due to increasing use of digital
production equipment, and this year submissions grew another 10%.
At Sundance 2000, the short film was in the spotlight thanks to the
explosion of dotcom companies building their businesses around short
content. This year, with fewer players in the space and less money in the
dotcom entertainment business, there may be less sites vying for film rights,
but interest in shorts has hardly waned.
A pair of shorts that will undoubtedly be of interest are two that are also
set to debut on IFILM soon. The site’s director of programming, Jesse
Jacobs, singled out Elyse Couvillion‘s “Sweet” and Leif Tilden‘s “BigLove,” both from accomplished digital production company, The Orphanage. “Big Love” is notable as the first in North America to shoot with the groundbreaking new Sony/Panavision “System EC” — an HD 24 frame progressive scan digital camera. Meanwhile, Elyse Couvillion’s “Sweet” was shot by acclaimed
cinematographer Allen Daviau.
Andy Berman‘s “Bit Players,” another Sundance 2001 short, is currently
streaming on IFILM in the sites IFILMPro area. The director is also known
as an actor who has appeared on “The Wonder Years” and other TV shows.
James Cunningham‘s “Infection” is another standout, having screened at this
year’s Cannes Film Festival. While producer Lianna Creel, from Ignite
Entertainment, will be at Sundance with “Offside.” Another notable entry is
Paul Harrill‘s “Gina, An Actress, Age 29,” the first Aperture Short Film
Grant recipient to gain acceptance by the Sundance Festival.
Among the filmmakers returning to Sundance are Jason Reitman with “Gulp,” Ari Gold with “Helicopter,” Jay Rosenblatt with “Nine Lives (The Eternal Moment of Now),” and “Pie Fight 69” by Christian Bruno and Sam Green.
Likening this year’s shorts lineup “a melting pot,”in a prepared statement,
programmer Trevor Groth singled out a “diversity of nationalities
represented,” including shorts made in America by filmmakers from the Czech
Republic, Greece, Korea, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Groth, who was unavailable for a conversation about the lineup, added in a
prepared statement, “Short films provide a broader depiction of our culture
than features, due to the financial feasibility of them.” [Eugene Hernandez]
GET THE COMPLETE SUNDANCE SHORTS LINEUP @ indieWIRE.com:
>> First Look in Deal to Create Weekly Web Content
(indieWIRE/ 12.11.00) — Indie distributor, First Look Pictures, is linking
forces with multimedia service provider, Electronic Global Broadcasting
System (EGBS), to launch an online entertainment venture. The initial
offering will be an episodic, live-action, comedy about an Internet
start-up, premiering early next year.
First Look and EGBS plan to produce a number of highly interactive shows
where viewers can choose to follow the story lines of different characters,
read their email and hear their thoughts. Each show will release 30 to 60
minutes of content a week, in three to eight minute pieces.
The collaborators hope to create a partnership that allows First Look and
EBGS to bring their strengths to the table, entertainment and technology
respectively. “A lot of technology companies try to create content, but it’s
less than compelling,” observed Randy Lippert, First Look Interactive
President and co-creator of the 11 character web-show. “And the studios
aren’t creating very good technology.”
First Look Pictures is the U.S. division of Overseas Filmgroup (“Titus,”
“Map of the World“). Because the new Internet partnership is folded into
larger companies it is under less pressure than stand alone start-ups to
produce a profit.
“There will be no banner ads,” Lippert says. Instead the revenue model is
based on one of the most successful forms of advertising on the web, product
placement. Advertisers will pay for their brands to be an integral to the
plot. “The dictum is not to lose money,” Lippert comments.
>> Alterna-Dances to Join Forces for Park City Summit
(indieWIRE/ 12.11.00) — Dubbed the Festival Summit, Park City will see a
party concluding a week of events that have grown as alternatives to the
annual Sundance Film Festival. Digidance, Lapdance, Nodance, Slamdance, Slamdunk and TromaDance will team up for the party on January 26th in Utah as a way of dampering any competitiveness among the Festivals, according to an announcement distributed by Slamdance on Friday.
Commenting in a prepared statement that the alternative Festivals have
“formed a community” over the years, Festival Summit Coordinator Andrea
Clark indicated that the idea for such a gathering grew over the last few
years. Each alternative fest will receive tickets to the closing party,
according to the announcement, while the specific details of the event will
be announced at a later date.
Additionally, under the title “Wasatch Festival Syndicate,” the alternative
festivals will distribute a newsletter with schedules for each event, offer
a webpage linking to all participating festival sites and also conduct a
panel discussion with reps from all of the alternative Festivals. The
announcement encouraged other alternative Festivals to contact organizer
Andrea Clark to join the coalition.
In recent years, Park City’s Main St. has become the main drag for a
carnival of festivals and filmmakers aimed at showcasing work left behind by
Sundance. Along the way, Slamdance, now in its 7th year, has established
itself as the leading alternative venue, gaining increasing numbers of
submissions and sizable industry audiences.
Commenting on the announcement in a prepared statement, Troma’s Lloyd
Kaufman said, “TromaDance is proud to be a part of this league of people’s
film festivals. We pledge to work very hard to give art back to the people.”
>> CORRECTIONS: 2001 Sundance Lineups
indieWIRE readers accepted to the Sundance Film Festival have sent in a few
corrections to the lineups provided by the Festival. Bridget Bedard‘s short
film, “Baby,” is not a U.K. film, while W.I.Z.‘s short of the same name is.
The correct spelling of the director of “Sweet” is Elyse Couvillion. The
short film “Metropopular” was directed by Jonah Hall. And finally, Eugene Martin‘s “Diary of a City Priest” is an adaptation of a journal by a priest named John P. McNamee. Thanks for the corrections. [Eugene Hernandez]