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Sundance Film Festival Journal Day 1: People Seen and Shorts

Sundance Film Festival Journal Day 1: People Seen and Shorts

We arrived on Thursday on the Sundance
Express Airliner.  First seats in first
class, all on an aisle row seat one behind the other:  Rena Ronson of UTA (read Indiewire article on
“making the grade at UTA” HERE, Tom
Ortenberg
, CEO of Open Road and
Board of Directors Film Independent, Peter
Schlessel
of Focus Features, and in cabin class
Tony Safford, EVP, of  acquisitions at 20th
Century Fox and his wife Julie.  Arriving
late, I missed the Sundance press conference. 
But you can read all about it and all of Day One on the Sundance blog
HERE.  We were also too late to pick up our registration
and so our Opening Night looked like it would begin with the annual Indiewire
Chili party hosted by Rose McGowan, director of her directorial debut, the
short, Dawn.  But before braving the cold walk up the hill,
we stopped in at the Yarrow Bar to check in on our flat mate Peggy Johnson,
Executive Director of The
Loft
, Tucson’s non-profit, independent
arthouse theater.  

As always, the best part of our traveling  on the film circuit is seeing old and dear friends:
Laurie Ann Schag, VP of Independent Documentary Association whose Sundance node
is HERE ,
Susan Margolin,  Cinedigm President
in charge of Docurama and Special Acquisitions, Jillian Slonin missing her husband Larry
Kardish
, Senior Curator Emeritus of Film, The
Museum of Modern Art, New York who
was in India on the jury at the Pune International
Film Festival
, Telefilm
Canada
’s Sr. Advisor, Festivals and Industry
Promotion, Brigitte
Hubmann
, excited about this years Arthouse
Convergence
and the possibility of streaming films on
new platforms. 

While there, we also saw Sony Pictures Classics’s Michael
Barker and Dylan Leiner going tete a tete very
intensely.  They were the first to make a
deal here, acquiring opening night film
Whiplash U.S. rights (according to TOH,
“reportedly for around $3 million, however after Sony Pictures
Worldwide Acquisitions Group had already picked up many foreign
territories before the festival”.)  Those
territories are reported as Canada, Germany and Australia.  Parlux has Hungary
rights.  Writer/ director
Damien Chazelle’s prize winning short at last year’s Sundance came back with a
feature length film of it this time produced by Jason Blum and financed by Bold Films, (ISA:
Sierra Affinity) proving once again, Shorts
are In The Air!
Miles Teller plays a school drummer with
potential who strives for perfection under the tutelage of a ruthless band
conductor.  This was a Sundance supported
project which received 2013 Cinereach Project
at Sundance Institute Grant
, a Sundance
Screenwriting Mentorship
as well. 

A propos of shorts and Sundance, the
Somali pirate film, a U.S.-Somalia-Kenya coproduction, (ISA: Altitude Film,
U.S. Producer Rep: WME)  
Fishing Without
Nets’
 
filmmakers met Vice
Films at Sundance 2012 after they saw the short film, Fishing Without Nets, which led them to producing the feature
version as Vice Films’ first fictional feature.

So Sundance is definitely the place for
shorts.  At the next day’s International
Filmmakers Lunch we met another short filmmaker whose short
Love,
Love, Love
about Russian female stereotypes is a
must see.  More in tomorrow’s Day 2
Sundance Journal.

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