Each day at the Sundance Film Festival (January 20-30), indieWIRE is publishing a frequently updated dispatch from Park City.
6:00 PM: Redford Talks New Ideas & Initiatives and a Shout Out to Slamdance: “The festival gets enough attention and we’re grateful for that, but there are other areas [of this organization] that are also important to us,” Redford said from the stage of the event’s original home, the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street. Dressed in his Sundance standard-issue flannel and jeans, the actor/director recalled the organization’s 30-year evolution that began in its various labs and grew to include the festival, the Sundance Channel and beyond. Full story here.
5:20 PM: Blog & Outlet Daily: Day 1: Every day at Sundance, indieWIRE will post a rundown of the day’s news from our blog network as well as other outlets. Included today: Anne Thompson’s comprehensive Sundance preview, Spout’s review of “I Saw the Devil,” Movieline’s interview with “The Lie”‘s Joshua Leonard and a nifty Sundance photo gallery from the Hollywood Reporter. Full story here.
3:00 PM: Westboro Church Heading To Sundance To Protest “Red State”: The ridiculous crazies at the Westboro Baptist Church are heading to Sundance to protest Kevin Smith’s right-wing satire horror flick, “Red State.” The Kansas religious organization is planning two demonstrations during the festival: One at 2:45pm on Sunday, and another at 6pm the same day, both at the Eccles Center. (From the Westboro site: “The actors, producers, directors and fans of the Doomed american motion picture industry enjoy nothing more that engaging in drunken, wanton, riotous behavior and mocking the servants of God from (Westboro). Of one accord, they raise their clenched fists to God and say ‘NO, We will not obey!'” Got it.) As festival director John Cooper pointed out at the festival’s press conference this afternoon, there’s something counterintuitive about the protest by the gay-hating organization, since Smith’s film features homosexuals who are killed inside a church. A counterprotest is being organized. More here.
2:10 PM: Eric Kohn on “The Troll Hunter”: “Genre fans will eat it up (and many already have, since the film had a secret screening at Fantastic Fest in Austin last year, where the crowd went wild). Already a hit in its native country, the action-adventure premise of “Troll Hunter” should generate enough curiosity to propel its popularity on VOD, fueling word of mouth during its limited release.” Read the full review here.
1:45 PM: Sundance Shorts 2011: Here’s the Best of the Best: Kim Adelman on the shorts program at Sundance: “Next to a feature, “short film” sounds diminutive, almost dismissive—but it’s a hell of a lot harder to get one into Sundance. Out of 6,467 submitted shorts, only 81 were invited to screen at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival (up from 70 last year). Among those who made the cut: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Adult Swim’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!” So did new work by Neil LaBute, Isabella Rossellini and Beastie Boy/Oscilloscope Labs head honcho Adam Yauch.” Full story here.
1:20 PM: Eric Kohn on “Uncle Kent”: “Swanberg fans won’t be disappointed and the main character allows his style to reach an older crowd. Still, it’s a relatively plotless depiction of a flawed man, played by a no-name actor, and contains glimpses of nudity that could easily make the uninitiated uncomfortable. Don’t expect it to get much play beyond the VOD crowd that will discover it concurrent with its Sundance premiere—but that’s still a significant audience for Swanberg.” Read the full review here.
12:30 PM: “Greatest Movie” Sold To Sony In First Big Sundance Buy: Sundance buying has officially begun. On the first day of the fest, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions announced that it has acquired North American rights to Morgan Spurlock’s “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” The doc examines the world of product placement, marketing and advertising—through a film financed entirely by product placement, marketing and advertising. Sony Pictures Classics will open the film in North America this April. Full story here. [Peter Knegt]
11:45 AM: Anne Thompson Previews The Fest: “While some fest holdovers in the Sundance lineup have distributors, such as juror Susanne Bier’s Golden Globe-winning Oscar submission ‘In a Better World’ (Sony Pictures Classics), about 100 titles are looking for homes,” Thompson writes on Thompson on Hollywood. “The most commercial ones are being sold by the likes of UTA, CAA, WME, Cinetic, Submarine et. al. Some deals have already gone down ahead of time, signaling that with so many titles going into the fray, it may be better to leak screeners to distribs in advance.” More on Sundance pre-buys, hot tickets and surprise attendees here.
11:30 AM: Eric Kohn Raises The Curtain On Sundance: “It’s a sure thing: The Sundance Film Festival kicks off the new year with a dense program of new work from around the world. Far less certain is what happens to the films afterward. However, in its second year under director John Cooper, Sundance shows the promise of pulling off a difficult feat: Returning the event to its indie vibe while programming films that will appeal to audiences outside Park City.” Read the full article here.
11:05 AM: The Four Competition Titles Opening The Fest Tonight: Four films from each of the four main competition programs will open Sundance this evening: John Michael McDonagh’s “The Guard” (World Dramatic), James Marsh’s “Project Nim” (World Documentary), Dee Rees’s “Pariah”, and Susanne Rostock’s “Sing Your Song” (U.S. Documentary). Click on each title for more info on the films, and check out these interviews with McDonagh, Marsh, and Rostock.
10:00 AM: A Complete Guide To Sundance: The 2011 Sundance Film Festival kicks off tonight in Park City. Over the next 10 days, indieWIRE will offer extensive coverage from both our own team and our blog network. This marks the first of our daily “minute by minutes,” but this comprehensive guide to all of films playing at Sundance will additionally offer updates of coverage throughout the fest. Divided into individual programs, this guide offers (or will offer) links to reviews, interviews and criticWIRE grades from dozens of critics and bloggers heading to Park City this year. [Peter Knegt]