Sundance Film Fest 2007: Theatrical Prospects

Theatrical Distribution as of Feb 10, 2007

According to industry mavens, one definition of a successful and influential film festival is based on the number of features that receive theatrical distribution–before or after the event.

As of today, only 5 out of the 16 films (less than one third!) in the dramatic competition have a theatrical distributor. Of these 5, two (“Broken English and “Rocket Science”) had arrived at the festival with a distribution deal (Magnolia and HBO/Picturehouse, respectively). The new acquisitions were (in alphabetical order): “Grace Is Gone,” Joshua,” and “Teeth.”

Based on my longitudinal study of the Sundance Film Fest over the past 23 years (ever since Robert Redford took the USA Film Fest and placed it under the wings of the Sundance Institute), about 40-50 percent of the features in the dramatic competition tend to get a theatrical, though it often takes weeks and months after the January event.

For example, in 1997, it took Neil LaBute's stunning debut “In the Company of Men” three months after the festival to get a distributor, Sony Pictures Classic. Hence, I predict that two or three more titles will pick a distributor in the weeks or months to come.

Competition Films by Distributor and Awards

1. Adrift in Manhattan

D: Alfredo de Villa
Dist: No Distributor

2.Broken English

D: Zoe Cassavetes
Dist: Magnolia (arrived in festival with a deal)

3. Four Sheets to the Wind

D: Sterlin Harjo
Dist: No

4. The Good Life

D: Steve Berra
Dist: No

5. Grace Is Gone

D: James L. Strouse
Dist: The Weinstein Company

6. Hounddog

D: Deborah Kempmeier
Dist: No

7. Joshua

D: George Ratliff
Dist: Fox Searchlight

8. Never Forever

D: Gine Kim
Dist: No

9. On the Road with Judas

D: JJ Lask
Dist: No

10. Padre Nuestro

D: Christopher Zalla
Dist: No
Award: Grand Jury Prize

11. The Pool

D: Chris Smith
Dist: No

12. Rocket Science

D: Jeffrey Blitz
Dist: HBO/Picturehouse (arrived with a deal)
Award: Best Director

13. Snow Angels

D: David Gordon Green
Dist: No

14. Starting Out in the Evening

D: Andrew Wagner

15. Teeth

D: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Dist: The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate
Award: Acting citation for Jess Weixler

16. Weapons

D: Adam Bhala Lough
Dist: No