Member Profile | FocusFeatures.com
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.
2004: A Classic Sundance Year
In 2002, the Winter Olympics in nearby Salt Lake City forced the festival to change its dates and in 2003 the attendance of high profiles celebrities unattached to any movie at the festival stole the spotlight somewhat. But after those disruptions and distractions, 2004 returned things to normal with what might be called a “classic” Sundance year. Which is to say, the movies – good, low-budget movies – were the focus of attention. The two Grand Jury Prize winners that year were both labors of love: Shane Carruth’s sci-fi puzzler Primer overcame its meager financial means (Carruth wrote, directed, produced, scored, cast, edited, sound designed and played the lead role) with ingenious inventiveness and narrative dexterity; and Ondi Timoner’s doc DiG, about the bands the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols, was made over the course of seven years, with Timoner acting as director, editor, producer and fundraiser on the project. Other high profile winners in 2004 were Joshua Marston’s Columbia-set drama Maria Full of Grace (Audience Award: Dramatic) and Morgan Spurlock’s stomach-turning doc on McDonald’s, Super Size Me (Documentary Directing Award). However, the movie that was closest to home, geographically speaking, proved the most successful on the national stage. Napoleon Dynamite, which was picked up by Fox Searchlight and went on to earn $44 million at the box office, was directed by Jared Hess, a resident of nearby Salt Lake City.