'Panic Button' Panel on Indie Film, and Post-Sundance Analyses
Producer Ted Hope, who was on the panel, offers his perspective, and links to the YouTube videos of the session.
(Sundance has also just posted video of my panel on new distribution strategies, along with most of the other panels from the 2009 fest.)
Here's the NY Times assessment of film acquisitions at Sundance this year. Total sales seem like they'll hit about $15 million, essentially the same as 2008.
And the Boston Globe's Ty Burr has a piece today headlined, 'The Magic Fades Away at Sundance.'
Interesting tidbit from Burr's piece:
Everyone agrees that the standard models of indie theatrical distribution and exhibition are broken; everyone at Sundance and in the industry is grappling with how best to replace them.
Some are even sure they have answers. Consultant and panelist Peter Broderick touted a brave new world of "hybrid distribution," controlled directly by the filmmaker that combines website direct sales, video on demand, Internet and TV deals, cellphone distribution - and, yes, a theatrical release when and if necessary. Much of this is already in place, Broderick pointed out, and, in some cases, has proven successful. What look like microprofits to a studio can be extremely macro to an independent director.
The most unsettling thought, though - the real game-changer - is that the movie theater audience may have gone away for good. Said panelist Mark Gill, head of the independent production company the Film Department, "My son doesn't care what format [a movie] comes in. He cares how fast he can get it and if it can come to where he is."
Do we want to treat that as a problem, or an opportunity?