Thursday, January 28, 2010


PARK CITY -- The sidewalks up and down Main Street are more manageable, the screenings less packed and even the infamous parties seem a bit more down to earth this year as the Sundance Film Festival strives to return to its true indie roots amidst an economic downturn that has even hit the historically "recession-proof" film industry.

And while the trade papers are full of stories about the shift in distribution models for indie films (see The Hollywood Reporter's "Service is this year's model"), the stars have come out to support their passion projects.

Tuesday night I joined the cast of THE ROMANTICS at their Luxury Lounge party, even though the film wasn't to premiere until the following morning. Stars Katie Holmes and Elijah Wood were on hand to discuss their hopes for a distribution deal that is likely to come by the festival's end.

Craig Saavedra (left) with actor Elijah Wood

I had a chance to catch Robert Duvall's GET LOW,  an exceptionally well-made period film sporting dynamite performances from Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissie Spacek. Sony Classics has it, and I'm curious to see how they market this challenging piece.

I also enjoyed Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut film SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS, and talked shop with him about the difficulties of shooting a film in 23 days. He told me he was "getting my ass kicked" by the critics, but he was holding out hope for a distribution deal, even though theatrical is increasingly rare for small films. Joining him in the cast is Laura Linney, Orlando Bloom and Juliette Lewis.

Craig Saavedra with actor/director Mark Ruffalo

It's been particularly fun running into so many friends this year including my buddy Greg Barker (who is serving as a juror in the Docu category and whose film SERGIO is on the Oscar short list this year), Louisa Percudani who used to head up the Newport and Sonoma film fests, Alex Ago (USC's School of Cinematic Arts Special Events Coordinator), actress/producer K'Dee Miller (her film THE VIOLENT KIND is in competition here), and actors Jason Dohring and Eric Close. (CMS)

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