Sundance 2001 Had No Blockbusters; Despite Criticism, Festival Still a Draw

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Sundance 2001 Had No Blockbusters; Despite Criticism, Festival Still a Draw

If the weather is fine, the films are bad. If it snows heavily, masterpieces snow in as well.lp This is a common, even popular saying at the Sundance Film Festival, also known as the Everest of independent films. The 2001 Sundance Film Festival, the 20th of its kind, was held from Jan. 18 to 28, during sunny days without even a suggestion of precipitation.

This year, among 170 films, the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize was presented to ioThe Believer,le directed by Henry Bean. The Dramatic Audience Award winner was iaHedwig and the Angry Inch,li directed by John Cameron Mitchell. The World Cinema Audience Award was given to ioThe Road Home,lR directed by Zhang Yimou. However, for the duration of the festival, no films worthy to be dubbed as Sundance's own masterpiece, such as Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992), were found.

Still, the Sundance Film Festival™s reputation remained powerful enough with its rhetoric of being a ifmajor opportunity for fervent young filmmakers.lt Although it does not guarantee box office success, triumph at Sundance, which dominates the independent market in the United States, can help make the career of those involved in the movie.

The considerable progress made by documentaries was said to have made up for the scant achievements of fictional genres. The Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner, iiSouthern Comfort,lo directed by Kate Davis, dealing with a transsexual who suffers from ovarian cancer, attracted public attention as well as favorable commentary from critics. However, it was neither Sundance itself nor the people from the film industry that stirred up the atmosphere at the festival this year.

Instead, so-called ioDance Film Festivals,ls such as Slamdance, Nodance, Tromadance and Digid- ance, exercised considerable influence, claiming that the Sundance Film Festival has lost its purity as the festival for independent films. These rival festivals, which have sprung up in the last four or five years, show independent films of particular genres, or those which failed to get awards in the previous Sundance Film Festivals.

Chae Hee-seung, an executive of Miro Vision, which is in charge of exporting Korean films, said, iiThese .Dance Film Festivals™ are making steady progress with their originality to the point of being established as the main attraction instead of the Sundance Film Festival.le The Korean film, iiSeom,lo (The Isle) became the talk of the town at Sundance as it sold out its first screening. The director, Kim Ki-duk, and Suh Jung, the film™s main actress, conducted a large number of interviews in the aftermath of the screening.


by Shin Yong-ho

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