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Sundance Souvenirs

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Tony Beam

on 25 April 2010

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Transcript of Sundance Souvenirs

The Sundance Film Festival Gift Shop Sex, Lies, and Videotape became a benchmark as it represented the potential financial success which independent movies can achieve. Not only was the movie successful but it was directed by, then unknown, Steven Soderbergh who gained much fame due to the film's success. Many directors were inspired by this revolutionary sensation believing that if they got into Sundance they would have a real chance at a career in film (Lee). "Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?"

Richard Kelly's Dannie Darko, took in just $517,000 for Newmarket Films, which did not pick up the picture until months after the festival's close. The surrealist feature starring Jake Gyllenhaal actually had a divisive effect on Sundance critics, who either fell into love-it or hate-it camps. The film, however, also developed a cult following, resulting in the theatrical re-release of the pic in 2004, when it earned another $753,000. In 1978 U.S Film Festival launched in Utah, with the films: Easerhead, Dawn of the Dead, and Northern Lights. In 1979 Independent Feature Project (IFP) and its Independent Feature Film Market begin. Miramax is established as a distributer and Public television begins funding films as a part of “American Playhouse” series. In 1984 The Independent Film Project launches annual awards, to be known from 1986 as the Spirit awards, films that year included: Blood Simple, Stranger than Paradise, and Choose Me. The next year, the Sundance Institute takes over U.S. Film Festival, renaming it the Sundance Film Festival in 1990. In 1989 sex, lies, and videotape wins top prize at Sundance Film Festival. Super -16 develops as popular format for low budget features because it minimized loss of quality when blown up to 35 mm. In 1993 Disney buys Miramax and Turner Broadcasting system buys New Line. Slamdance Film Festival was established as alternative to Sundance in 1995 and the Los Angeles Film Festival is launched. 1999 was an important year because Apple introduced Final Cut Pro, which was inexpensive editing software that could be utilized by low-budget productions. This was also the year The Blair Witch Project earned nearly $250 million worldwide. In 2000, Christopher Nolan’s off-Hollywood film Momento was released; it intrigued audiences with its reverse-order plotline. In 2003 HBO Films began supporting theatrical releases. In 2005, Harvey and Bob Weinstein leave Disney, which retains control of Miramax. In 2007 the Summit Entertainment, production and distribution firm is established, films that year include: There Will Be Blood, Day Night Day Night, Dead Girl, Away from Her, Juno, Grindhouse, Waitress, Hannah Takes the Stairs, and Paranoid Park. In 2008 Warner Bros. wholly absorbed New Line, retaining the label for genre films, not specialty releases. Warner Independent and the New Line subsidiary Picturehouse were eliminated. Christopher Nolan’s off-Hollywood film proved to make a selling point out of novel storytelling tactics. The main plot of the film presents the action in reverse order, with the last scene first and the initial scene last. (See timeline chart for a mapping of the plot chronology). At the same time, a forward-moving line of action is presented in brief scenes of the protagonist Leonard in a motel room receiving a string of mysterious phone calls. The reverse-order plotting is motivated, approximately, by his traumatic lack of short term memory. In classic film-noir fashion, Leonard meets informants, thugs, and a femme fatale. Mystery surrounds everything, including the possibility that the man Leonard kills at the outset is not guilty. Despite all this, the reverse-order plot obeys the Hollywood three-act-structure, and local connections between scenes help the audience reconstruct the chronology. Momento became a model off-Hollywood film, borrowing art-cinema strategies of scrambled time schemes and ambiguous endings but balancing them with familiar storytelling conventions. "A storm is coming,
Frank says
A storm that will swallow
the children
And I will deliver them from the kingdom of pain
I will deliver the children back the their doorsteps
And send the monsters back to the underground
I'll send them back to a place where no-one else can see them Except for me
Because I am Donnie Darko." Andy Warhol was an a man of peculiar taste. Above all, Andy was an artist. His ability to see art in the most abstract was what seperates him from his predecessors. He began as a painter, painting strange portraits of suicides and in an instance a tiled multi-colored Marilyn Maonroe. His independant films were the point of his inspiration for the independant film makers of the future, including the Sundance Film Festival. In the summer of 1966, Warhol's film Chelsea Girls (1966) became the first underground film to be shown at a commercial theater. During the 1970s and 80s, Andy Warhol's status as a media icon skyrocketed, and he used his influence to back many younger artists. He began publishing of Interview magazine, with the first issue being released in fall of 1969. In 1971, his play, entitled Pork, opened at London at the Round House Theatre (Miller). An agressive minded alcoholic filmmaker, John Cassavetes was a pioneer of the independent film industry. He knew how he wanted his films to be, and that's how they became. All the Cassavetes films in the Criterion set are as personal as can be. They include the seminal Shadows in its familiar 1959 form; the domestic drama Faces plus a seventeen-minute alternative opening; A Woman Under the Influence, the only Cassavetes picture that can reasonably be called a popular success; and in an inspired touch, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie in two different cuts (135 minutes and 108 minutes) that Cassavetes considered equally valid. If one quality can be called Cassavetes's chief trademark, it's the rough-and-ready look of his films. After a 1974 press screening of A Woman Under the Influence, an audience member asked him if any parts of the movie were scripted, not improvised. Cassavetes seemed puzzled for a second, then answered, "I guess if someone walked across a room we didn't script every step. But yeah, I wrote the picture (Sterritt)." Bibliography: Gore, Vincent W. ""Sight & Sound" Surveys American Independent Cinema." Literature/Film Quarterly 30.1 (2002): 74-76. International Index to Performing Arts. Web. 17 Apr. 2010.

Greene, Ray. "Film Festivals: Sundance Film Festival: Festival of the Dead." Boxoffice 144.3 (2008): 22-23. Boxoffice. Web. 17 Apr. 2010.

Lee, Chriss. Envelope Jan 15, 2005: 1. Web. 24 Apr 2010. <http://theenvelope.latimes.com/news/env-et-sundanceanniversary15-2009jan15,0,2473352.story>.

Miller, Cynthia J. "Ric Burns's "Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film"." Journal of Popular Film & Television. 35.2 (2007): 78-85. Print.

Sterritt, David. "John Cassavetes: A Filmmaker Under the Influence." Cineaste. 30.4 (2005): 32-35. Print.

Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History: an Introduction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.

"Sundance: Taking Measure of Sundance." Boxoffice 143.1 (2007): 50-53. International Index to Performing Arts. Web. 14 May 2010.
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