WaxWord: 5 Cold Truths From an Uninspiring Sundance

Too many films, not enough distribution, crowdfunding is a mixed blessing and movie star politics

If you weren’t at Sundance this year, it’s just as well. The lack of a breakout, buzzy film that had everyone talking tells us something about the challenged state of independent film. While the festival had glimmers of excitement, the movies were – in the aggregate – interesting but not inspiring, thought-provoking but not thrilling.

In short, not essential enough to grab a distracted public’s attention.

The movie marketplace reflects this reality. Though the festival is not over yet, not a single bidding war has broken out thus far, the first time I can recall that being the case. And the movies that are selling are going for between $2 and $3 million at the high end. There’s still a chance that an indie comet will come streaking out of the blue Wednesday or Thursday – and there’s still “They Came Together,” David Wain’s comedy with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd coming Friday  (oh whoops, that movie already has distribution) – but overall, here are five lessons we’ve learned about the current state of independent film.

1. There are TOO MANY movies being made
We heard this remark from the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis on the Sunday before the festival, we heard it from leading finance agent Jay Cohen of  Gersh atTheWrap’s industry panel on Monday, and we see it in the middling quality of too many films that are not getting bought. The production tools that make filmmaking accessible to just about anybody are resulting in a glut of films that aren’t nearly good enough to attract an audience of consequence. How can we make it stop?  Barriers to entry, it turns out, are not necessarily a bad thing. It means that to get your film made, you have to really, really be committed to life as a storyteller, and that you will endure a lot for the privilege of telling it. That winnowing process is now missing…

Read the rest of WaxWord: 5 Cold Truths From an Uninspiring Sundance, originally found on The Wrap.