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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Slogdance 16 - Overview so far

Posted by on January 25 at 14:22 PM

There are a couple of things at this festival that are much better this year than last. The festival trailers, those short official films that play before every single movie, are a difficult item to produce because you are almost guaranteed to be sick of them by the end of the festival. This year Seattle’s own Digital Kitchen took an interesting track when they took the mythical story of Icarus flying too close to the sun, and broke it into several abstract pieces that combine cut-outs and animation. The story is appropriate, too, in the sense that every filmmaker is reaching for that golden ring but most of them will fall into bankruptcy or worse. Is that the message I was supposed to be getting from those spots?

The other thing that’s better is much more subtle. The blurbs in the official festival guide are better written than the ones in last year’s guide. They must have gotten a new editor or something. Last year, most of the film descriptions were chock full of adjectives and blurb filler (“an arresting first film” “engrossing” “a tremendous achievement” etc.), which actually pushed out descriptions of what the films were about. This year, you can tell what the films were about from the descriptions.

The downside is that it’s been hard to find a great film. The programming this year feels like it’s on Prozac. There’s nothing really terrible (it feels like I’m in the minority in hating Bobcat Goldthwait’s movie Stay), and there’s nothing really great either. That’s been the most frustrating thing about this trip.

I will write about one of my favorite films in a bit.

-Andy Spletzer
reporting from Sundance
Park City, Utah

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