Its fairly clear to me that Newsweek’s David Ansen and Variety’s Todd McCarthy, Sundance festival old-timers, got together in Park City and planned their tandem tirades against the festival. In his column (“Sundance At The Breaking Point”), Ansen wrote that the festival is “borderline dysfunctional, having totally outgrown the town. Other festivals don’t make it so hard to simply do your job,” while McCarthy in his piece (subtitled, “Chaotic fest offers little elbow room…”) echoed that Sundance is “the most user-unfriendly festival of any significance — the situation passed the breaking point this time.”
While not a defender of the nightmarish frenzy that has become the opening weekend of Sundance (see above photo), I don’t really think its as bad as all that. By avoiding the nightmarish Main St. for the first four days, a festival-goer can have a decent experience — the Racquet Club and Eccles aren’t “distant” if you simply stay somewhere near those theaters and steer clear of Main St. altogether. That said, I’ve been grumbling for a few years that whole chunks of the fest should radically move somewhere else. Insiders are whispering an increasingly intriguing idea, why not shift the industry-side of the fest to the new 1,000 seat multiplex at Kimball Junction (where six years ago organizers said they’d be moving the fest) — maybe that could be a way to stop movie companies from booking one horrible after-party after another at the cookie-cutter, overcrowded, Heineken, Hollywood Life, and Premiere lounges on Main St.