The Hatfields and McCoys Were Amateurs...

Well, it seems I’ve entered into a good, old-fashioned feud. After Dan’s latest rant against Scotch, I’m determined to pick up a bottle of Laphroaig to offer a reasoned rebuttal. Or really just to spite him. In the meantime, I’ll get back to musing on the nominal topic of this weblog: Film — or, to remain accurate, movies.

MoviesIf the mainstream film world is reluctant to accept video as a viable, artistic distribution medium, at least Sundance is opening doors to digital moviemakers. The 2003 Sundance Film Festival, opening today, includes an online festival (which actually opened December 16), showcasing a collection of short digital features (though they do make use of the misnomer “digital film”).

This is a fantastic opportunity not only to showcase the work of artists who would not otherwise have such high-profile distribution, but also to make (some of) the work of the Sundance Institute available to those of us who can’t afford tickets to Park City, let alone the festival itself. There are separate categories for animation (fifteen entries, including Odd Todd’s Laid Off), short subject (six entries), “new forms” (six entries, pieces that add interactivity to the mix), and the (noncompetitive) gallery (four offerings). There’s also a fifth category, “Short Film Showcase,” (six entries) which is a selection of short films from the festival proper (i.e., pieces not originally intended for online distribution). You can even offer your ratings of the entries in the animation and short subject categories for a special “audience award” (given the quality of most online rating systems, I’m glad they’re keeping the official judging off-line).

Unfortunately, the online festival is heavily dependent upon the inferior Windows Media Player (they claim you’ll need version 9, though it appears that version 8 works) as opposed to QuickTime, but you can’t have everything (you’ll also need Flash, and though they don’t mention it, at least one of the new forms pieces uses RealOne Player). I encourage everyone to take a look, and give your (at least moral) support to the burgeoning avenue of online indie distribution. I know I will: Someday I’ll have something up there.

And I’ll be sitting back, enjoying a fine Scotch while watching.

“Classic” reader comments:

William R. Coughlan · Thu, Jan 16th 2003, at 10:55AM

Obviously, since I mentioned it in the main post, I'm a fan of Odd Todd's Laid Off (actually, all three of his larger pieces are available at the festival), but another early standout (for me) is Bumble Beeing. I haven't had a chance to see more than a few of the entries, though, so I'll hold off on a dedicated commentary until a bit later.

William R. Coughlan · Thu, Jan 16th 2003, at 1:22PM

One thing I neglected to mention is that the winning screenwriter and director for the new Project Greenlight will be announced at Sundance on Saturday.

Dan-o · Fri, Jan 17th 2003, at 12:43AM

Hope you're enjoying the soggy ashes, Big Brother. Enjoying the picture-show commentary, though.


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