Notes From Sundance

02.01.11

Sundance Documentaries Got No Love

The film festival was packed with fantastic documentaries. So why did so many leave Park City without distribution deals?

One thing that has been nagging us as we consider this year’s Sundance, now that we have time to gather a bit of perspective, is this: for all the talk of movie deals; and all the hooplah made over more commercial-minded films like My Idiot Brother, which, though a very good film, and a very fun film, is not by no measure a great film; why was there so little discussion about the documentary entries at the festival? A category, which in our humble estimation, was exceedingly superior to the feature film category.

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An image from Andrew Rossi’s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times (SundanceChannel.com)

The L.A. Times’ Kenneth Turan seems to agree, and in his latest column points out the perversity of how “hardly any (documentaries) were acquired for theatrical release,” despite the fact that “the quality was sky high.”

Saturday night’s awards ceremony shone the spotlight on a handful of those sky-high quality docs: How To Die In Oregon, and Hell and Back Again, which took home Grand Jury prizes; and Senna and Buck, the two audience award winners.

To read the rest of Nicole's post on Sundance Channel, click here.