As an accredited journalist for this site I’ve been making the annual trek to Park City since 2006 and one way we like to anticipate an upcoming edition is with my mix of super precise or wildly inaccurate prognostications on the films that will break into Sundance. Apart from a slimmed down virtual fest in terms of length (Sundance is making this a seven dayer) how will the buyers/sellers, distributers and producers put one’s best foot forward in what will undoubtably be a challenging 2021 year ahead? Will distributors such as Netflix or A24 go balk or benefit from the new set up? Will film teams pass up on ’21 online for a potential live ’22 premiere and how will the acquisitions game work with no audiences to take a film’s pulse? Will film criticism carry more weight and how long will bidding wars last seeing that zoom calls are replacing condo HQs? So many variables in this fragile eco-system and this first (and hopefully last) COVID-19 edition.
Despite not being able to feel the buzz and electric currents of a post-screening world premiere unveiling at the Eccles or my favorite location, the Library, festivals have had to become just as creative as the artisans who populate their line-ups – case in point: the folks who helped sponsor our 75 predictions list in the American Film Festival in Poland are in the midst of their hybrid 2020 edition and in full swing with US in Progress initiative.
We’re unsure at this point if the sections and number of selected films remain intact for what will be will be a bittersweet edition (January 28th-February 3rd) one that I’m betting will still be a year full of discovery and one that reflects the diverse make-up of the U.S. Check in today and all of next week for the unveiling of 75 bonafide potential films (A to Z order) that could be in the mix – make sure to click on the arrows below!