Park City Buzz: Redford Calls Sundance "A Market"
Redford Calls Sundance “A Market”…embracing the fact the Sundance Film Festival has, in part, evolved into a “market,” Robert Redford acknowledged yesterday that the Festival should help filmmakers prepare for that fact. “I’m fine with it being a market,” Redford explained, “The point is to create a benefit for the filmmakers. I am quite happy that its a market.”
Redford’s annual first Saturday of the festival tradition took new form this year as he abandonded the press conference format. Instead, makers, media, and others gathered in the large hall at the Sundance Institute for a midmorning brunch. Taking the podium midway through the meal, Redford addresed the filmmakers directly, while a large contingent of journalists, camera operators and still photographers captured the moment.
Robert Redford, who is President of the Sundance Institute, called the Sundance Festival a “by-product ” of the Institues larger goals, but recognized that the event has become “huge, powerful, and colorful.” Discussing other initiatives of the Institute, Redford underscored the growth of the Sundance Channel as an extension of the film festival experience, and also fleshed out the goals for the Sundance-branded “cinema centers.” Designed to move beyond a “cookie cutter screening experience,” Redford vowed that the theaters will provide a permanent venue for experimental work, documentaries, shorts and animation. He said that the venues will be a “gathering place” offering a library, bar and restaurant.
“Movie” Attracts Crowd, Subject Sets Own Sundance Screening…Mark Borchardt, director of “Coven” and the filmmmaker documented in Chris Smith’s second Sundance entry, “American Movie,” was on hand for the films anticipated world premiere yesterday at the Holiday Village, along with good friend Mike Shank, who is also in the film. The pair gave up their seats at the last minute to accomodate overwhelming audience demand — among the indie “players” spotted were Tom Bernard, Rachel Horovitz, Bingham Ray and Peter Kalmbach, Jeff Lipsky, John and Janet Pierson, along with reps John Sloss and Micah Green. Smith, Borchardt and crew have set up a “Coven” screening for tonight at midnight at the Egyptian Theater.
American Masters Finalizes “Source” TV Pact…An expected American Masters PBS-TV deal for Chuck Workman’s competition doc, “The Source”, has been finalized. A film rep confirmed yesterday that the pact is part of an overall plan for the movie that includes “an intended theatrical deal,” the source indicated that this “this deal will not affect that.” Jonathan Dana is serving as the producers rep for the movie.
BMG Kicks Off Showcases…the launch of the BMG music showcase was a celeb-packed event at the Elks Lodge on Friday, featuring a show by Lyle Lovett. In attendence were Robert Redford, Liv Tyler, Gina Gershon (Audrey Wells’ “Guinevere”), Harry Belafonte and, as one attendee put it, “all of the Afflecks known to man.”
SLC Punk Party Gets “Violent”…In years past, the official Sundance Film Festival evening parties were THE events of the evening, with a few private late-night house parties going on into the evening (remember Ira Sachs’ Penis Lamp?). In the last year or two, however, the official parties had waned in excitement and attendance. New life was breathed into the official parties on Friday night however, as Sony Pictures Classics held a World Premiere bash for James Merendino’s “SLC Punk” at Harry O’s (formerly Z Place) on Park City’s Main St. Entertainment was ably provided by 80’s skiffle/punk stalwarts, The Violent Femmes, and appearences were put in by filmmaker James Merendino, film stars Matthew Lillard, Jason Segel, Til Schweiger and Christopher McDonald, along with actor Ben Affleck, actress Carla Gugino, and actor Julian Sands (“The Loss of Sexual Innocence”).