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A cruel calculus comes into play at all film festivals, with Sundance having one of the cruelest. There's of course the dealmaking. Within moments of a film's final credits, a team of business reps start pulling apart a film. How much can we get from foreign? What's TV worth? How much do we need to spend on P&A to get those numbers? Who else is bidding? Can we wait? Do we need the critics? What do they think?

But for the rest of us, another kind of calculation comes into play. Sundance is spread out enough and the screening times are such that one has to choose very wisely here or else a planned day of film screenings can simply evaporate. I ran into a Bigwig Curator who told me that he was 0 for 3 that day; all the Press & Industry screenings he went to were full. A well known critic told me she was 1 for 4. Indiewire's Anne Thompson tweeted that a day of interviews meant a day of not seeing films, to which I replied in sympathy because I've spent two days interviewing filmmakers in our Kenneth Cole-sponsored space on Main Street.

And then there is the calculus that comes from pondering two of life's essentials: eating and sleeping. Is dinner a lobby hot dog or a real meal? A plate full of pretty good mini-meatballs (at the New Frontiers party), or something more (or less) substantial? A midnight movie or late-night party and then an 8:00AM screening, or a night of rest so one's thoughts are more fully considered? Last night I opted for the sanity of a sit-down meal at a dinner for Gregg Araki's Kaboom organized by Strand, Frameline and IFC. (Has Gregg Araki not aged a day since his first appearances here in the early '90s?) I sat with Ira Sachs and Larry Gross, talked about projects large and small (including Sachs' exquisite "Last Address" online short video) and Larry gave me the advice I needed to approach the work of Roberto Bolano. For now, I'm off to the producers brunch to hear Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen speak, and I'll report on that tomorrow.

See you online or on Main Street.

Scott Macaulay

Editor's Note
Sundance Responses
Sundance Features

It should come as no surprise that documentary fans are eagerly anticipating James Marsh's Project Nim, which is screening in Park City as part of the Doc Premiere section. Project Nim tells the story of Nim, a chimpanzee raised as a human child as part of a linguistic experiment. more


Sundance programmer Shari Frilot watches all kinds of films for the festival each year, but she spends much of the her time smoking out the best, strangest, most relevant work for the New Frontiers section. Call it new media or transmedia or video-internet-3D film art; the best work in the section is indescribable. more

"THE GREEN WAVE," WRITER-DIRECTOR ALI SAMADI AHADI Well the biggest surprise was, that it worked out! Really! Just imagine: Our goal was to make a film about a country we were not able to travel to anymore, about an event which had taken place in the past. Without having proper footage, we decided to produce 42 minutes of animation and mix them with real footage we got from 250 different cameras and cell phones. more

"BUCK," DIRECTOR CINDY MEEHL What I have found most surprising about my film Buck is how it appears to affect people in so many different ways. As I started this journey to tell Buck's story, I thought it would be about changing people's perceptions about how they treat and train horses, as well as how to deal with life's difficulties with a bit of cowboy wisdom. However as the film was completed and we started test screening it for a wide cross section of friends and associates, I was pleasantly surprised that we had achieved my original intention, and more. more

"THE TROLL HUNTER," WRITER-DIRECTOR ANDRE OVREDAL I quit getting surprised at what happens during the making of a film a long time ago. On Troll Hunter, I cast well, so I knew the acting was going to be good. I chose the best d.p., so I knew it was going to look right. more

"THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED," DIRECTOR JIM KOHLBERG The most surprising thing for me about the film is the old cliche: that it got made at all. But not for the old cliched reasons. When my friend sent me the script, and after I fell in love with it, I looked at it with my produceorial hat on and felt certain it would never get made. more

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