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First Time Directors Ski To Success at Sundance

Sundance Film Festival has been known as an innovator within the Film Festival Industry. First organized as a Festival to highlight independent films, Sundance is staying true to its roots with the wide selection of first time Independent feature directors.

This past year at Sundance we saw many of the small independent films, with first time feature directors get recognition and were signed right in Park City with multi million dollars deals. Now some have gone out to wide distribution to the masses and made names for them. For instance Peter Hedges PIECES OF APRIL, which he wrote and directed on an extremely low budget, was picked up by United Artist during last year’s festival and went into release mid October 2003. A truly worthy film and now up for both Golden Global and Indy spirit Awards. Next week we’ll see if the Academy will give a nod of nomination to this film as well. Hedges wrote ABOUT A BOY and WHAT”S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. As well as STATION AGENT, another low budget indy film that made its mark last at Sundance. Purchased by Miramax, it has gone on to gross over 4 million in art house movie theaters.

This year at Sundance there is an amazing list of first time feature directors are skiing into Park City with hope and promise on their new films. Big buzz has already happening after only four full days at the festival with major deals signed.

GARDEN STATE by Zach Braff has been signed by both Miramax and Fox Searchlight in an interesting collaboration. This type of deal has not been done before between the studios and hopefully play out well for the film it self. Other notes worthy first time feature director’s films are: NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE, directed by Jared Hess, when last reported was close to signing another multi million dollar deal.

With close to 60 films by first time directors the promises to these bright filmmakers are as tall as the mountains surrounding Park City. Here are a few more of the amazing list of fledgling directors at Sundance: LET THE CHURCH SY AMEN, David Petersen, MARIA FULL OF GRACE, Joshua Mars ton, SAVED, Brian Dannelly, SPEAK, Jessica Sharzer, BOOK OF LOVE, Alan Brown, BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS, Stephen Fry, DOWN TO THE BONE, Debra Granik, KOUNANDI, Apolline, D.E.B.S., Angela Robinson, THE WOODSMAN, Nicole Kassell, and WORD WARS BY Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo.

Sundance is truly living proof to the independent spirit to these films and filmmakers this 2004 season. Sundance Film Festival now in it’s 23rd year is located in Park City Utah. Founded by Robert Redford this prestigious North American Festival host over 40,000 filmgoers each year and premieres the top upcoming films of the New Year. Sundance Festival runs from January 15th to the 25th, 2004. To purchase tickets and to get more information go to there website www.sundancefilmfestival.org

Keiko Beatie

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Chatelin Bruno
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