Sundance Day 4 – Sunday

This is the fifth in a series of Sundance Film Festival entries.

The shuttles at Sundance this year seem slow, there’s more traffic than I ever remember and MORE PEOPLE! So…Sunday I decided to avoid the shuttle buses and stay in one place, Main Street.

I got there first thing in the morning for a panel at the Digital Center in the basement of the Main Street Mall, Podcasting, Vlogging, & The Freedom of Speech. The panelists included Susan Buice of Four Eyed Monsters, explicit podcaster Soccergirl and Atom Films and was moderated by CEO of Weblogs, Inc, Jason Calacanis. Despite some bickering and Jason’s teenage excitement over Soccergirl’s boobs, the most interesting thing was and is that things are-a-changin’ because consumer behaviour has changed; people are ready for downloads like never before, the content is there, iPod and other players bring in portability and more and more people have broadband. Plus this new media is getting easier and easier to use allowing independent artists to keep creating independent media. This is stuff we have heard before. But the fact that the Four Eyed Monsters crew created their own audience of over 50,000 viewers per episode using podcasts and MySpace is pretty phenomenal.

I crossed the street and headed for the Filmmaker’s Lodge to grab a seat for another panel, From the Multiplex to the Living Room: Marketing on the New Documentary Landscape. It was interesting to hear what Peter Broderick (Paradigm Consulting), Lisa Heller (HBO), Diana Holtzberg (Films Transit), Ted Sarandos (Netflix), Daniel Katz (THINKfilm) and Robert West (Working Films) had to say on the topic. Debra Zimmerman (Women Make Movies) lead the pack as a feisty moderator.

“A revolution in distribution has begun for documentary filmmakers,” said Peter Broderick. His take on distribution has changed since his days at Next Wave Films. The distribtion model is in the hands of filmmakers more than every before. “The old guard is being replaced by the new guard, except the old guard just doesn’t know it yet,” he continued.

Ted Sarandos also had some inspiring things to say, “Netflix is a system for democratizing distribution in a very real way.” The service makes more films available to audiences by finding target aundiences instead of mass audiences.

The past 3 years I have written about Slamdance for Documentary Magazine. So I am extra curious about their doc programming. I haven’t had too much time to spend there so I chose one thing to see for sure, Abduction The Megumi Yokota Story by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim. The film spans 30 years and tells the story of 13 Japanese children that are kidnapped from their homes and taken to North Korea. Abduction follows one family as they search and campaign to find their lost daughter. The editing of the film is really all over the place making it difficult to connect with the characters. However, the 15 person Japanese TV crew certainly created an atmosphere like no other as they shot the Q&A, threw mics about the room, and tossed their lights in the eyes of audience members and the filmmakers alike. I know I’ve said it before, and I hate to be repetitive, but it kills me to sit in a movie at Slamdance and have to bob and weave my head around to read subtitles from my hard-ass seat. The way the bleachers are set up hardly anyone can really see the movie. This does no justice to the film or the filmmakers and I just end up frustrated and exhausted.

The Discovery party at Zoom (Robert Redford’s restaurant) was superb and made up for my exhausting experience at Abduction. A great crowd full of documentary filmmakers to meet and talk to, delicious food, a free-flowing bar, henna tattoos, a little gift bag and Al Gore. What more could a Sundancer ask for? The party went into the night and I even got to meet Kitchen Confidential chef and renowned traveler Anthony Bourdain. Stuffed with chocolate covered strawberries we exited into the snowy night to a couple doing performance art in the street. It was beautiful and surreal. Only hoping Day 5 will be as climactic.

Adrian Belic, Karin Hayes, Amy King and Sarah Jo Marks at the Discovery party.

Bourdain 1
I couldn’t help getting a shot with famed traveler, chef and Kitchen Confidential author Anthony Bourdain.

One Response to “Sundance Day 4 – Sunday”

  1. liz Says:

    anthony bourdain is 3 feet taller than you and it’s all his skull!

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