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Sundance: Evolution of a Festival
Posted January 27, 2010 to photo album "Sundance: Evolution of a Festival"
As park of Movie City: Park City, FilmInFocus’ Nick Dawson looks at ten years that have shaped the Sundance Film Festival.
1989: Soderbergh's Sex Spells Success
In 1989, the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic features went to Nancy Savoca’s romantic comedy True Love, and a documentary about the Apollo missions, For All Mankind, scooped both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the non-fiction category. Michael Lehmann’s cult teen movie Heathers played for the first time, there was centennial celebration of Charlie Chaplin’s birth, and a retrospective of John Cassavetes’ work. But it was the other Audience Award winner, Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape, which stole all the headlines. The movie was the breakout film of the festival, and provoked huge interest among studio acquisitions reps as well as enthusiasm from critics and audience members. Bought by Miramax, the movie delivered on its promise, winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival later that year and grossing an impressive $25 million at the U.S. box office. (Its budget was just over $1 million.) What’s more, the movie’s success only heightened the mystique of the festival and solidified the belief that anybody could hit the jackpot in Park City: the year before, Soderbergh had been in Park City––working as a volunteer driver.