The 25th Sundance Film Festival came to a close on Jan. 24, and for the first time in 15 years a CityBeat staffer wasn’t there to witness it. As was the case for many publications (as well as general film freaks and industry people), the shitty state of our economy forced us to skip Sundance’s unique mix of adventurous, independent moviemaking and hype-driven industry wheeling and dealing.
On one hand, it was a relief to take a year off from the festival’s bone-chilling weather, convoluted logistics, hit-and-miss films, pricey lodging and ever-escalating corporate influence. On the other hand, no other film festival conjures the communal spirit of Sundance — much of which has to do with its remote, snow-laden location — a place where new cinematic voices are continually nurtured and surreal situations abound. (Where else can one discuss the merits of Mario Bava over drinks with Crispin Glover while Robert Redford and Zooey Deschanel hold court in opposite corners of the same cozy Park City establishment?)
Most importantly, Sundance’s core mission has always synced nicely with CityBeat’s: to shine a light on issues and stories that would otherwise be underappreciated and/or completely ignored.
In lieu of my attendance this year, I asked Scott Renshaw, an occasional CityBeat contributor and A&E editor at Salt Lake City Weekly, to cover the festival for us. His Sundance wrap-up piece (the 15th consecutive year of Sundance coverage gracing CityBeat’s cover) confirms the strange, relatively subdued vibe surrounding the festival’s typically buzz-fueled endeavors.
One thing remains the same, however: Sundance again featured a handful of excellent fiction and documentary films, many of which will make their way to local movie houses in the months ahead. And when they get here, we’ll let you know.