Nam June Paik: Moon is the oldest television.
Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Institute
Sundance returned to Park City, Utah this year in flesh (and blood). Thank In my mother’s skin, a cannibal tale by Filipino director Kenneth Dagatan, for the latter. After a few years of COVID-related virtual festivals and big deals struck socially, Hollywood studio bigwigs, A24 execs and streamers are back at the festival vying for the rights to the hottest movies in full January. Could the industry be rocked by the somewhat gloomy 2022 – with Omicron and half-empty theaters leading to less audience engagement and lower revenue – leading decision makers to negotiate increasingly modest deals and avoid bidding wars? Could a particularly splashy hit (or two?) ride the wave of a successful premiere and snatch tons of money? Will several movies make a splash, bracing for expensive distribution deals, theatrically or otherwise?
Netflix signed the first big deal with Sundance Fair play – a thriller set in the ruthless world of finance starring Bridgertonby Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich — for a whopping $20 million on January 23. On the same day, Searchlight caught the mockumentary directed by Ben Platt and Molly Gordon. theater camp for about $8 million. An all-night bidding battle between Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video resulted in the festival’s second-highest bid: iPad vendor landed Flora and son for just under $20 million on January 24, the streamer’s biggest deal with Sundance since its acquisition CODA in 2021 for a festival record $25 million. All the dust will have settled on January 29, when the festivities come to an end and the real analysis can take place. For now, here’s a list of every movie that’s sold out at Sundance 2023 so far (and how much they’ve gone for).
Distributer: Greenwich Entertainment
This documentary traces the evolution of artist Nam June Paik, also known as «The George Washington of Video Art». Arguably the most famous Korean artist in modern history, Paik is followed from his studies in Munich to his rise on the New York art scene and his prescient visions of a future where «everyone will have their own channel of TV «.
Distributer: MTV Documentary Films
After Augusto, a prominent Chilean journalist who reported on the Pinochet regime, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, his wife, Paulina, became his primary caretaker. The Oscar-nominated director combines images of domestic struggles with snippets of the country’s and the couple’s past.
A group of friends learn to conjure spirits using an ancient embalmed hand in this bloody Australian horror. Their new hobby is all fun and games until one of them opens the door to the spirit world.
Price: A number in the high seven-digit range
Distributer: Sony Pictures Classics
A father tries to save his son’s marriage after he begins to suspect that his son is cheating on his wife. Starring David Strathairn, Will Pullen, Jane Levy, Celia Weston and Anna Camp, the film explores the complexity of family dynamics, particularly after a child has grown into an adult.
German filmmaker Tomas begins an extramarital affair with a young woman, forcing her husband to have an affair of his own. While untangling his own jealousy issues, Tomas must decide if his relationship is worth saving or if it’s done for good.
A mother, fed up with her teenage son’s petty theft, gives him a guitar she found in the dumpster in an effort to give her son a more legal hobby. John Carney’s latest tale of the redeeming power of music stars Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Orén Kinlan.
Price: Just under $20 million
The best friends return to their childhood theater camp to find its founder in a coma after a strobe light incident in this mockumentary. His crypto-brother son has no choice but to reluctantly take over the financially-troubled summer camp and unite with the staff to save it.
Price: About $8 million
A couple engage in a consensual workplace relationship while working for a ruthless hedge fund. After an unexpected promotion throws their romance into chaos, they stand to lose much more than their recent engagement. Alden Ehrenreich and Bridgertonstars Phoebe Dynevor in this catchy thriller.
Price: $20 million
Distributer: Magnolia/CNN Films
The celebratory documentary traces Little Richard’s early life and musical journey. Using archival footage and performances, the film attempts to lay bare the black and queer origins of rock-and-roll music, as well as the reality of the industry’s exploitation.
When the young daughter of a fertility doctor starts acting strange, she has no choice but to confront the ghosts of her past and challenge her limited beliefs about life and death. Sarah Snook (Succession) stars in Reid’s psychological horror.
Distributer: Amazon Prime Video
Stranded and alone with her dying mother in 1945 Japanese-occupied Philippines, a 14-year-old girl desperately seeks help from a mysterious flesh-eating fairy who has sworn to protect her. Her mother first finds relief in the healing of the fairy, only to then face increasingly horrific consequences.
Distributer: Magnolia Pictures
The feature debut of two-time Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter and first trans woman in an unscripted prime-time show D. Smith. Four black trans sex workers in Atlanta and New York (Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell and Dominique Silver) explain the oldest profession.
This is a developing story.