OK, since the 1,000th person asked me that question today, I shall answer once and for all for those who care. The rest of you can go about your day.
First, I deal mostly in movies that already have a distributor. So many of the films at Sundance are looking for buyers and so few will actually find them. This is not to say I don’t want to see these films or that in some way having theatrical distribution through standard channels makes a film “better,” but with 600+ films actually coming out each year, sticking (largely) to movies I can consider for Matt’s Movies is my way of staying sane.
Second, it’s not my party. I really believe that Sundance is (still) about film, filmmakers and the people who love them. I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I tell you that it’s overrun with, well, let’s just say, others. My last trip to the fest, I met a ton of people who couldn’t get into movies – I’m taking everyday folks – cash customers – who traveled to Park City to do nothing more than have the opportunity to see great indie film and hear the filmmakers talk about their work. Meanwhile, Britney Spears (who looked like she’d run a paint roller dipped in makeup over her face) seemed to be taking up space everywhere. Yes, it’s true, I tend to have friends with movies there and yes, having the press there is good for the fest and good for the films. But frankly, my friends have enough hangers-on and Sundance is not exactly hurting for coverage.
Third, I’m getting too old for this shit. Sundance is a madhouse. A wonderful, fantastical madhouse. But when you have x days to see y movies and hang out with everyone and party that hard – all at 4,000 feet – well, let’s just say I don’t have it in me anymore. And to make matters worse, you’re sitting there at the base of the slopes and there’s NO ONE ON THE MOUNTAIN and you think to yourself – “Hey! I’ll just ski halfday!” – and what you are heading for is a crying jag in the bathroom of your condo on day three. I mean, that’s what happened to a friend of mine.
Note that this is in no way a slam on Sundance; it’s an amazing festival and even more amazing organization that does so much for indie film. In fact, I suggest you support this non-profit organization (yep!) – if they had more supporters, maybe they could cut down on sponsors at the festival!