UTAH – Sundance is American Independent cinema’s annual gathering, taking place in the high altitude resort of Park City and promoted by Robert Redford. But how much do we really know about this most secretive of cinematic happenings.
The Studio Exec FACT squad – under the direction of Steven Soderbergh – were dropped by helicopter to find out.
1. Although success at Sundance is a guarantee of lifelong wealth (see Steven Soderbergh), failure at Sundance can result in the payment of a terrible price. Filmmakers whose films are met with anything less than enthusiasm are ritually stripped of their clothes and forced to run through the snow in the nude, midst pelting stones and stinging mockery.
2. The name Sundance comes from a role that Robert Redford played in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. However, for the first seven years of its thirty year existence the festival went by a number of names, including: ‘The Big Halsy Fest’, ‘The Sting Fest’ and the ‘The Bob Woodward Festival for the Appreciation of the Cinematic Arts.’
3. Paul Newman also started a film festival in Berlin, Germany called ‘The Butch Cassidy Film Festival’ but he was so cool, he forgot to tell anybody about it and, after a disastrous inauguration year, it changed its name to ‘The Berlin Cassidy Film Festival’ and then ‘The Berlin Film Festival.’
4. Approximately 62% of the state of Utah are Mormons, which means for a film to be shown, there must be no scenes of coffee drinking and at least two wives per male character.
5. The first film ever to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival was The Bad News Bears Go To Japan. The filmmakers were stripped naked and forced to run through the snow in the nude, midst pelting stones and stinging mockery.
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