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Thompson on Sundance

Thompson on Sundance

(A picture I took once on the Sundance shuttle, a popular place to hang – literally – while going from screening to screening.)

Variety‘s Anne Thompson previews the potential buying frenzy for Sundance 2008, which launches on Thursday night. While last year’s Sundance saw crazy love for acquiring films, most of those titles went on to receive little love in their release. But that doesn’t mean this year won’t be more of the same in Park City, comments Thompson. From her column:

Due to the ongoing Writers Guild strike, big-studio acquisitions execs will join the hunt for the most commercially accessible titles. Concurrent L.A. screenings for key studio decision-makers are expected.

“This year prices may be higher because of the strike,” says Picturehouse president Bob Berney, who is seeking more pick-ups to replace the titles he will no longer get from partner HBO Films, which is withdrawing from the too-risky theatrical business. “Fest fever can kill you. Some distribs may try to spread out their slates, but that’s too logical, realistic and makes too much sense. People will start buying.”

More equity investors are financing low-budget indie pics in the hope that a hefty Sundance sale will deliver sweet returns. More Sundance films lack distribution than ever, but they still pact with publicists and sales reps such as John Sloss’ Cinetic Media and agencies CAA, UTA, Endeavor and William Morris (often repping their clients’ projects) to land a distribution deal.

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