Posted by Cynthia Spataro on January 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Indie film is alive…and doing well
Now that the parties are over and the sun has set on the Utah scene of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, film companies have walked away with the best of the festival. This is what is important to those of us who could not make it to beautiful mountains of Park City – the films which will be available to watch in the upcoming year in theaters, on cable and the wonderful world of streaming.
Starting off was the talk of the town – “Fruitvale”, which was a big winner snagging the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic competition, the Audience award and Weinstein Company as a distributor. A moving film which retells the true story of the police shooting of an Oakland man back in 2009, the film is true to victim’s life without being overly sentimental and artificial. Everyone is sure to be talking about this film as it is being hailed as truly buzz worthy.
Sundance is also known for its increasingly impressive slate of documentaries shown, and this year seemed to have quite a few that should make their way into your living room. The doc “Blackfish” picked up by Magnolia/CNN Films puts a spotlight on SeaWorld and makes a strong argument against animals in captivity, hopefully in a way we have not seen before.
Another documentary picked up was “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer” which will be released on HBO, focuses on the activist group and their arrests and trial, has been praised by critics and will likely be worthwhile knowing the quality of documentaries HBO tends to air. HBO Films also got hit documentary The Crash Reel, the injury story of promising snowboarder Kevin Pearce.
The largest acquisition was made by Fox Searchlight to the tune of nearly $10 million for the comedy “The Way, Way Back” which features such heavies as Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell. This was the largest payday for the festival, landing directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash at the center of attention for what sounds like a typical summer comedy about family struggles and the tribulations of teenagers. Being such a noteworthy festival has its drawbacks and Sundance has its share of canned Hollywood blockbusters every year as well – such is the price we pay to get a chance to see those rare gems that might otherwise go unnoticed (such as last year’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”).
Some other notables include the unusually titled love triangle film “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” was picked up by IFC Films for close to a million dollars and features Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. The film has been hailed for its cinematography, and it’s sure to appear in limited release and streaming. In the realm of comedies, Sony Pictures Classics acquired “Austenland” which features Keri Russell and the quirky plot of a woman so fixated on the world of Jane Austen that she searches for love in an “Austenland” theme park.
There were many other films which you will see coming to a theater near you including films by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon’s Addiction – which was sold for $4M and a promise of nearly $15M in P&A), James Franco and Richard Linklater. We hope to see the best of the fest, and wish those noteworthy possibly even get an Oscar nod next year.