Greetings from Park City, where Defamer today launches its journey into the heart of hype, underdogs and testicle-shrinking cold. More on that a little later, but for now, we're thawing out with the latest headlines:
· This year marks the 20th anniversary of an unknown Steven Soderbergh shuffling into town with a print of sex, lies, and videotape and leaving on Harvey Weinstein's hulking shoulders — kind of a for-better-or-for-worse Sundance benchmark touchingly remembered today in the LAT: "'We had very low expectations,' Soderbergh recalled. 'I was hoping the film would be a résumé piece; it would get shown and I could meet some people and maybe get another job.'" So! Lesson to all budding Sundance filmmakers: Low expectations.
· Lesson No. 2: It's just fine to have your Oscar-winning male lead phone his performance in. You might even get that prestigious opening-night slot like Mary & Max director Adam Elliot, who couldn't afford to fly Philip Seymour Hoffman to Australia for looping. Try it sometime!
· This is about as close as we're going to take you to the neighboring Slamdance Film Festival. Sorry.
· While we have our eye on the distributors lobbing cash at this year's likely bidding-war darlings, a distinguished second tier of indies including Zeitgeist, Kino, and the Adam Yauch-owned Oscilloscope Laboratories will do the respectable thing and attempt to acquire actual art. We tip our fur-lined cap. OK, that's enough, it's fucking freezing.
· That said, expect to find the rest of festival society joining David Carr for deep, precious lungfuls of fresh mountain hype. At least he's honest.