I went to Sundance this year and was Amazed at the quality of the films. It really inspired me regarding the quality, aesthetic and stories that independent film makers have been able to achieve. Regardless of my wonderful experience though there is criticism that Sundance has lost touch with the “true Indy”. Questions rise as to where are the LOW-BUDGET films? What happened to the Clerks, Pi’s and Primers of Sundance? In this vein Sundance is now re-introducing Low-Budget categories for their 2010 slate. This is great news and means that films from a broader spectrum globally will be able to compete.
One of the more notable revelations from the duo was the possible addition of a new category for “low-budget film.” When asked what the difference would be, as most films at Sundance are already considered low budget (relative to standard studio fare), Cooper emphasized the “need to differentiate between ‘low budget’ and ‘low budget aesthetics.’” These changes are expected to happen over the next few years; some even possibly for the 2010 festival.
It’s no secret that in recent years, Sundance has been on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism from members of the film press, as well as independent filmmakers, questioning the festival’s gradual move away from truly independent, low-budget filmmaking (all relative terms), to a more star-driven prohibitively-financed annual line-up of films, as those low-budget/no-budget garage-films, get shafted, leaving the filmmakers no choice but to take their films to upstarts like Slamdance, a festival that has grown in prominence, thanks in part to Sundance’s paradigm shift.
There have also been various articles touting Sundance’s demise, stating that the festival isn’t as relevant as it once was, as some filmmakers and even distributors are reportedly skipping the festival altogether. Some are opting to self-distribute their work; the Internet now provides independent filmmakers with release opportunities and far-reaching audiences than they ever had access to previously. Others are realizing that it might be in their best interest to target very specific smaller/genre festivals and venues, where their films feel less like tools of trade
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