Sundance Film Fest 1985: Year 1

At the first edition of the Sundance Film Festival, in 1985, ten directors presented their works in the Dramatic Competition.

Over the next decade, the number of films in this series would increase to 16 (and remain this way).

Gender and Ethnicity

Of the ten directors, there was only one woman, Nell Cox, and only one African-American, Bill Duke.

The age of the directors varied from the early 20s (Adam Brooks) to early 40s (Victor Nunez).

About half of the directors were graduates of film school, several of them from NYU Film School.

Highlights

Most of the films were feature directorial debuts, such as Joel Coen’s “Blood Simple.”

Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise” had actually premiered at the Cannes Film Fest in May 1984, where it won the Camera d’Or.  By the time it played at Sundance, Jarmusch’s stunning debut had already played at the New York Film Fest in October, and had won the Best Picture of the Year from the National Society of Film Critics (of which I am a member).

Theatrical Distribution:

Almost You, Adam Brooks, 20th Fox, May 1985

Blood Simple, Joel Coen

Cold Feet, Bruce Van Dusen

Flash of Green, A, Victor Nunez

Hard Choices, Rick King

Heartbreakers, Bobby Roth

Killing Floor, The, William Duke

Roommate, The, Nell Cox

Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch

Vamping, Frederick Keller

 

Dramatic Competition: 10 Films (By Title)

Almost You, Adam Brooks

Blood Simple, Joel Coen

Cold Feet, Bruce Van Dusen

Flash of Green, A, Victor Nunez

Hard Choices, Rick King

Heartbreakers, Bobby Roth

Killing Floor, The, William Duke 

Roommate, The, Nell Cox

Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch

Vamping, Frederick Keller

 

Dramatic Competition (By Director)

Brooks, Adam, Almost You

Coen, Joel, Blood Simple

Cox, Nell, The Roommate

Duke, William, The Killing Floor

Jarmusch, Jim, Stranger Than Paradise

Keller, Frederick, Vamping

King, Rick, Hard Choices

Nunez, Victor, A Flash of Green

Roth, Bobby, Heartbreakers

Van Dusen, Bruce, Cold Feet