Once again the prestigious Sundance film festival has come and gone, with another showcase of films crafted by some of the most innovative filmmakers within the indie scene. More than anything the festival is a celebration of creativity; Sundance works as an outlet in which filmmakers are able to express their artistic potential. Previously the festival has heralded modern greats such as Little Miss Sunshine, The Witch and Whiplash; all of which received commercial and critical gain.
If one trend can be gathered from this year’s festival, it is that streaming services will become a huge entity within the Independent scene. Both Netflix and Amazon drastically increased their presence by acquiring more films and documentaries than ever before. Most noteworthy Netflix picked up southern segregation drama Mudbound for $12.5 million – the most expensive deal of the festival. Similarly Amazon gained The Big Stick, a romantic comedy about the cultural differences that hinder the relationship between a Pakistani-American comedian and his girlfriend. An Oscar push for both of these films is potentially on the cards.
A variety of other films received lots of attention from around the festival. Noir Thriller Wind River, the directing debut of Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan, received mass praise and looks to extend Sheridan’s winning streak as a filmmaker. Patti Cake$, a tale of an aspiring rapper from New Jersey was also a success; with a potential breakout performance by Danielle Macdonald. Italian-set romantic drama Call me By Your Name, was another that received acclaim for its performances. Similarly the Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara starring A Ghost Story sees Affleck continue to gain momentum following his heavily nominated performance in last year’s Manchester by Sea.
Just from looking at the rising amount of money being invested in Sundance in attrition to the growing media buzz, it’s obvious that the already vital Sundance is continuing to grow in importance to the landscape of film. Expect to see many award winners out of this year’s crop.
(Image: Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in A Ghost Story. Photograph: Andrew Droz Palermo/2016 Sundance Institute)