For the primary time in three years, The Sundance Movie Competition is again in-person in Park Metropolis.
| Jan. 19, 2023, 10:02 p.m.
Park Metropolis • The Sundance Movie Competition is again and, as Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente put it, “movie festivals are extra vital than ever.”
At a media occasion Thursday, forward of Thursday night time’s pageant opening, programmers introduced another film for the schedule: “Justice,” a documentary concerning the battle to place Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court docket. Sundance’s program director, Kim Yutani, mentioned the movie would concentrate on the sexual misconduct allegations made towards Kavanaugh, and the investigated that adopted.
It should display simply as soon as in the course of the pageant, Friday at 8:30 p.m. on the Park Avenue Theatre (within the Hilton DoubleTree) in Park Metropolis.
“Justice” is the primary documentary directed by Doug Liman, finest identified for such motion movies as “The Bourne Identification,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “Fringe of Tomorrow.”
Yutani, Vicente and senior programmer John Nein spoke to reporters Thursday, at a warmup occasion referred to as “Sundance Scoop” — forward of the pageant’s opening “Day One” screenings set for Thursday night, the primary dwell Sundance occasions in Park Metropolis in three years.
“It feels superb,” Vicente mentioned of being at her first in-person pageant as CEO, a job she took in fall 2021. “There’s nothing just like the magic of being collectively right here in Park Metropolis.”
Vicente acknowledged that Sundance was capable of turn into extra accessible over the pandemic by going digital in its 2021 and 2022 editions — and that this 12 months’s hybrid format, with in-person screenings for the pageant’s full 11-day run, and on-line screenings beginning Tuesday, will proceed that mannequin.
“We’re excited by the entry that provides, and the accessibility that it provides,” Vicente mentioned. When requested if the hybrid mannequin would turn into everlasting, Vicente laughed and mentioned, “one pageant at a time.” (The 2024 pageant might be led by the pageant’s new director, Eugene Hernandez, former director of the New York Movie Competition and co-founder of the commerce web site IndieWire. Hernandez moderated Thursday’s “Sundancd Scoop” occasion.)
Vicente trumpeted the pageant’s growth in Salt Lake Metropolis — such because the addition of the Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway as a venue. The growth might be one thing to observe, Vicente mentioned, because the pageant goals to draw youthful, extra numerous audiences.
“That’s the spirit of Sundance,” Vicente mentioned. “We have to take dangers, we put your finest foot ahead and collectively we’ll be taught from this and proceed to aspire to do higher.”
Vicente acknowledged Sundance’s founder — actor, director and activist Robert Redford — and confirmed that he wouldn’t be attending the pageant this 12 months.
Vicente additionally acknowledged the deaths this week of film producer Edward R. Pressman (“Wall Road,” “American Psycho”), and Ravi Srinivasan, a senior programmer on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition (the place Vicente labored earlier than coming to Sundance).
Sundance’s programming workforce plowed by means of 16,000 submissions, representing 28 international locations. From these submissions, programmers picked 111 function movies and 65 brief movies — which Nein cited for his or her pressing and private storytelling.
Yutani mentioned she was stunned by what number of biographical documentary submissions they acquired. “What we’ve in this system is once more the vary of tales,” she mentioned, naming actors Brooke Shields and Michael J. Fox, and NBA famous person Stephen Curry as examples of biographical tales. Different documentaries in this system profile rock legend Little Richard, folk-rock duo Indigo Women and writer Judy Blume.
Earlier than the primary pageant occasions kicked off Thursday, Park Metropolis’s Important Road was quiet — with vans lining up exterior companies, and the town’s parking enforcement keeping track of them throughout their patrols.
Enterprise operators — comparable to Rebecca Williams, the overall supervisor of Java Cow Espresso & Ice Cream — weren’t positive what to make of this 12 months’s pageant, the primary in Park Metropolis in three years.
“The [movie] enterprise has modified,” mentioned Williams, who has been in enterprise on Important Road for 15 years. “Individuals used to carry their complete workforce and be right here to advertise their movies, their ardour tasks, to attempt to promote them. Now a whole lot of these motion pictures are already bought and might be on Netflix inside a month.”
The sport of recognizing celebrities who attend pageant, and coping with their diligent followers, has additionally modified, Williams mentioned. “There’s so many new faces and those who aren’t [celebrities],” she mentioned. “It’s lots completely different than it was once with influencers.”
The pageant’s “Day One” screenings Thursday night time had been scheduled to function 11 motion pictures and one shorts program at 5 Park Metropolis venues. The pageant will get underway in earnest Friday — with a full slate of movies in Park Metropolis and at venues in Salt Lake Metropolis and the Sundance Mountain Resort — and runs by means of Sunday, Jan. 29. Competition screenings on-line run Tuesday by means of Jan. 29.
It is a creating story.