#MovieMonday – Sundance 2012

January 23rd, 2012

Sundance president and founder Robert Redford says this year's festival reflects hard times in America. Photograph: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

We were certainly disappointed not to get the nod from Sundance for our submission of footage from our upcoming animated film, Silver Circle as a work in progress, but not too disappointed, especially after seeing from the playlist that animation wasn’t so much Sundance’s focus this year. Though with its focus and narrative commentary on economics, the recent housing crash, and monetary policy, it sounds like Silver Circle would have been right at home with other Sundance films this year.

A Guardian piece entitled “Sundance 2012 reflects on hard times and paradises lost,” notes how topical this year’s film festival was:

At the opening night of the Sundance film festival, the celebrities and sponsors took their seats to watch The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s documentary about a billionaire couple on a mission to build America’s largest mansion. David and Jacqueline Siegel set out with heady dreams of 10 separate kitchens and a private skating rink. They wound up blasted by the financial crash, their timeshare business floundering, their paradise in ruins. If the festival’s chairman, Robert Redford, wanted an emblematic film to kick off this event, he could hardly have plumped for a better title.

“It’s no secret, times are dark and grim,” Redford said at Sundance’s regular base in Park City, Utah – a millionaire’s playground that contains three ski resorts and more tourists than residents. “We’re suffering from a government in paralysis and it’s all pretty grim. But the happy thing is that here, for this week, we’re going to see work from artists. And even though their work may be reflective of these hard times, there is no paralysis here.”

Sound like a good fit for a film like Silver Circle? I sure think so! Though Silver Circle‘s submission wasn’t the only film not to make the cut for Sundance this year. In a piece at Showbiz 411 entitled, “Why Sundance 2012 is A Fizzle by All Accounts,” Roger Friedman reports:

So many films didn’t make Sundance this year–like Terry George‘s very funny Irish comedy, and Larry Kasdan’s comedy with Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. “Greetings from Tim Buckley” with Penn Badgley also didn’t make it. Paramount should have held “Young Adult” for Sundance, too. Still unscreened is Helen Hunt having sex with a guy (John Hawkes) who’s attached to a dialysis machine. But films featuring Bruce Willis and a few other minor stars are getting panned left and right in the trades. Catherine Zeta Jones failed to make the trip at all.

Friedman didn’t think Sundance was too “sizzly” this year, writing:

“But by and large, this year’s festival seems like it was overstuffed with documentaries and very low on films with any potential sizzle…

Sundance runs in cycles, so this year may be the low trend. It was bound to happen. Meanwhile, I keep getting endless emails from publicists about parties and gift lounges totally removed from the film festival itself. This has been the problem for years. You know things are bad when blogs are reporting that there are parties to watch the Giants game.”

Over at Big Hollywood, a conservative website run by Tea Party activist, Andrew Breitbart, John Nolte argues that it’s more than just a cyclical slump, writing:

Other than one outlier that’s widely considered a flop, “My Idiot Brother,” nothing that came out of Sundance last year broke $6m at the box office. Only two films broke $5m, around ten broke $1m, and another twenty or so didn’t even reach $1m…

Seriously, Hollywood, have a great time. But out here in the real world, Mark Wahlberg’s “Contraband” is on pace to make more money than every film that came out of Sundance last year COMBINED.

Imagine how much better Hollywood and those who cover them would be if this much hype, attention, and energy went into pleasing the customers instead of themselves.

Well tell us how you really feel! In related Sundance news along the lines of the out-of-touch Hollywood meme, director Spike Lee made headlines at Sundance for saying Hollywood executives “know nothing about black people,” during a Q&A:

‘Spike Lee opted not to introduce his film “Red Hook Summer” before its Sundance premiere on Sunday, but he sure knew how to finish the screening with a bang.

In an expletive-laced Q&A, the veteran filmmaker said that Hollywood executives know nothing about black people…’

The answer was in response to a question about Lee’s self-financing of his most recent offering, something which we reported last week that George Lucas had to do for his recently released film Red Tails, because, as he alleges, Hollywood executives said they didn’t know how to market a film with a nearly all-black cast.

I’m happy to report that Lucas’ action-packed historical film has been vindicated by its opening weekend box office numbers, where it outperformed every other film but one with a $19 million haul.

Art, like history and democracy, is a messy process. We’re all too happy and fortunate for the opportunity to jump right into that mess and offer our view of the world and the problems people face in it through the magic of animation and independent film. We’re not here to take sides nor level criticism, though we are carefully keeping our fingers to the pulse of the world of cinema and reporting all the messy details to you!

We’re also very excited to be a part of this time in film history and always encouraged to see new ideas, new ways of thinking, and revolutionary changes for the better happen in the world of film and in the wider world around us. We would have loved to be at Sundance this year, but we have many more film festivals, conferences, and conventions ahead of us! Thanks for following along and please visit our official website linked in the tagline below to learn more about our film, Silver Circle!

And don’t forget to visit our official website to learn more about the Silver Circle Movie:http://SilverCircleMovie.com

About the Author: Wes

Wesley Messamore, 24, is an independent journalist and political activist who believes in the Founding Father's vision of a free, enlightened, and moral America. He also blogs at HumbleLibertarian.com