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For those of us in this profession, the most thrilling moments in Page One are those involving the creation of long-form journalism. While Rossi's film details the business challenges faced by the Grey Lady - the collapsed ad market and migration of paying subscribers to free online news - it remains focused on the news gatherers, writers and editors. New-media evangelists Clay Shirky and Michael Wolff are on hand to throw spitballs, but Rossi lets his journalist subjects (there are no ad directors or circulation managers in his film) argue for the benefits of old-school media by example. Indeed, what I as a journalist came away envious of were the scenes of contemplation and reasoned group decision-making. The film deals with the web, the arrival of the iPad, and importing of new talent from the blogosphere, but it's the interweaving story lines of the Tribune Company bankruptcy, the Times' relationship with Wikileaks, and a decision whether or not to cover a questionable "mission accomplished" moment in the post-Iraq War that demonstrate the value of something more than what Arianna Huffington extols in the film as a journalistic economy of links and sharing.
Of course, I'm writing this as someone who is tweeting a lot, updating our Facebook group, and encouraging our writers to post short funny stuff as well as the longer interviews and think pieces we are more associated with. Indeed, as I left the theater and got on the bus to go to the Cinetic party which was so overcrowded I couldn't get in, I imagined instead that I was heading to some giant Park City newsroom, where all of us journos here were gathered around that impossibly enormous table in the impossibly gorgeous editor's conference room from Rossi's film. We'd be sifting through the trends, filtering out the noise, ignoring stories that are purely publicist hype (as you see happen in Page One). We'd be productively arguing, passing our stories around, making each other's prose smoother. How much was that deal really? Why did these two companies partner? Why is this one company buying so much? The other so little? And what do the production models on display here say about the state of our business? We'd be doing it together, not by ourselves tweeting from a shuttle bus (or, post-festival, at home in our pajamas). Too romantic a vision? Maybe. Probably. But fun - and maybe necessary - to think about.
Sundance Blog & Features
In the blog, Alicia Van Couvering looks at The Next Gen Crisis of Indie Film; we continue our volunteer profiles, co-produced by Kenneth Cole; and we recap the 7 Fresh Faces in Film party (pictured left).
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
"THE FUTURE" DIRECTOR MIRANDA JULY By James Ponsoldt
Known as a West coast performance and video artist in the decade before her 2005 award-winning debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July seems to jump effortlessly from one medium to another. Her collection of short stories -- No One Belongs Here More Than You -- won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award in 2007, and more recently she designed an interactive sculpture garden that was on view in the 2009 Venice Biennale before moving to Union Square this past summer. more
"IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT," DIRECTOR MARSHALL CURRY The making of this film has been a series of surprises. The first surprise hit when my wife came home from work and said that four federal agents had come into her office that day and arrested one of her employees. He was accused of burning down two timber facilities in Oregon four years earlier when he was part of the Earth Liberation Front, and if found guilty, he would go to prison for the rest of his life with no chance of parole. more
"RESTORATION," DIRECTOR YOSSI MADMONY As screenwriters we learn that you have to plant information and set up courses of action in the film's first act to establish what happens next. Restoration's script was no different. But while editing we concluded that the first act was far too laden and that we had to cut out a certain supporting character that appeared there. more
"THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975," DIRECTOR GORAN HUGO OLSSON To me the biggest surprise in making The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 was meeting one of my subjects: Angela Davis. I had admired her for so many years from seeing her on TV and her biography. The footage that we assembled in the film is something that no one outside of Swedish television had seen before. more
"PANDEMIC" DIRECTOR LANCE WEILER By Jamie Stuart
Lance Weiler talks about his new interactive project, Pandemic. see video