5 things to learn from Sundance 2022

The Sundance Film Festival closed its second virtual edition on Sunday, with some groundbreaking new films and filmmakers, as well as some big sales.

With the indie movie box office dismal, the most active buyers are huge streaming, has both an insatiable need for content and a desire to generate some awards. While some films have received a meager reception than previous years, when the standing ovation at Park City’s Eccles Theater was enough to trigger an all-night bidding war, there was no shortage of films. sensational moments. Plus, a sluggish consumer market flared up when Sundance closed, leaving some indie filmmakers richer for their festival experience. Here are some key lessons:

Peak pandemic politics

America has never felt more divided, and the many films showing at Sundance this year have shed some light on that political chasm. From abortion rights (“Call Jane”) and corporate greed (“The Fall: The Case Against Boeing”) to campus racism (“Master”) and income inequality ( “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales), both narrative features and the nonfiction on display speak truth to power and highlight a group of filmmakers determined to use the art of their art to expose what they see as the moral failure of the country.

Get ready to fall in love with Cooper Raiff

The 24 year old hyphen behind the “Cha Cha is so smooth“Sold the biggest deal of the festival, a $15 million deal from Apple. The film, directed, written, produced, edited, and starred by Raiff, is a heartfelt, often hilarious story about a recent college graduate who has a close relationship with a single mother and her autistic daughter. Its appeal is almost irresistible, and studios will be lining up to work on the winning Raiff in the future. But Sundance’s success also comes with risks and can make one’s return goals burgeoning. After all, a lot of movies like “Brittany Runs a Marathon” and “Blinded by the Light” scored with festival-goers, only faltering with the public.

Hollywood Opened Its Wallet (Finally)

The nightly bidding war is over, leaving Sundance exhausting and exhilarating for sales agents, filmmakers and the trade press. In fact, things went terribly wrong during the festival’s first weekend with only a handful of documentaries selling well. But then things started to go awry. Not only did Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth” land a $15 million deal, but “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” was sold to Hulu and Searchlight for $7.5 million. ” awarded to HBO Max and Warner Bros. for nearly $7 million (second high-profile sale to Erik Feig’s Picturestart) and “Living” sold to Sony Pictures Classics for about $5 million. Those are very respectable numbers even in normal years. But a number of popular films have stumbled, most notably Lena Dunham’s “Sharp Stick,” which has been panned by critics and has yet to secure distribution. It’s worth noting, however, that most major sales include some sort of streaming component. With box office sales for adult-oriented films about life support, most studios are wary of overpaying for movies that could have trouble attracting crowds during the pandemic. Not sure continue.

Building Buzz proves difficult

Speaking of the so-called “festival rush,” the second consecutive virtual Sundance seems to reveal something important about the DNA of these events — that talent and industry types need to go to the top of the mountain to draw attention to their work. Celebrities rocking wire-knit sweaters and hats for everyday photography go a long way in creating awareness of the art form, as well as long-standing acclaim in the fashion industry. crowded theaters and interviews in flashy media studios. While many marvel at the ease with which the video-on-demand library shows these movies, the lack of dialogue and press coverage surrounding the lineup doesn’t bode well for Sundance’s health. or filmmakers. More than a handful of Hollywood powerhouses have discussed the arrival of Jesus with the festival, urging it to move away from the holiday season forever.

Oscar future uncertain

While it doesn’t place well in film awards like the Cannes and Toronto festivals, Sundance almost always excels for an award or two. Thanks to the extended Oscar season, the lockdown pandemic that’s currently underway – and the wet market mentioned earlier – it’s still unclear which films can be prepared to explode as nominees of the year. next.

“Nanny,” who won the grand jury prize for the story with Anna Diop’s electric lead and backed by the wonderful supporting cast in Sinqua Walls, Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector, could bait the agencies like Gotham Awards and Indie Spirits. Problem? It has yet to find a buyer. Likewise, Dunham’s “Sharp Stick” has yet to sell and be panned by critics, but one should never consider her a director with a singular point of view.

After acquiring “Leo Grande” for a streaming release at Hulu, the Searchlight team may be trying to credit a few things with Thompson, whose many on-screen gifts were featured in the love-worker movie. sex, including a poignant full-front nude scene. certainly inspires conversations about self-acceptance and joy at all ages. After cutting the $15 million check, Apple Studios may be eager to get Raiff’s “Cha Cha” in front of voters and unions. Reputable studio Sony Pictures Classics is also sure to release “Living,” a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic life story “Ikiru” led by Bill Nighy.

https://variety.com/2022/film/news/sundance-2022-virtual-sales-awards-1235167828/ 5 things to learn from Sundance 2022

Olly Dawes

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