I still haven’t written reviews of all the movies I saw at Sundance. While I was at the festival my plan was to write reviews as soon as I saw the movie, running to one of Park City’s many wireless hotspots and getting my impressions up on the site. That quickly proved impractical, as the screenings came on fast and quick and I became exhausted and sick (yeah, the rhymed on purpose). By the end of the festival I was very behind on my reviews.
The South by Southwest festival recently ended, and many great sites continue to run their reviews for the many films they saw there. South by Southwest is the new Sundance in many ways; the fest has picked up the slack of finding legitimately indie films while Sundance this year had movies that cost millions upon millions to make and featured big stars. But this means that the films that played South by Southwest are even less likely to ever be seen than the films at Sundance.
One of the things that hits me as I read the reviews coming out of SXSW, and what hit me at the end of Sundance, is I wonder how much people care about the reviews of these films. Even the movies at Sundance that I know you will see – American Teen, for instance, or Hamlet 2 – won’t be coming out for months yet. And the majority of the films I saw at Sundance will be movies that will never, ever play a theater near you. Ballast, for instance, won Best Director and Best Cinematography and has been picked up for distribution, but as a small, quiet movie starring non-actors it’s never going to be the next Juno. And a movie like Boaz Yakin’s Death in Love will not only never be seen by 98% of the people reading this, most of the people who would never see it would hate it if they did, while I find the movie endlessly intriguing and keep coming back to it in my head. But who in the reading public cares that much?
So my question to you guys this weekend is how much do you care about reviews that come out of film festivals? And I’m not talking about the major release movies that are just getting their premieres at festivals to start the buzz. How important to you are reviews of tiny films, movies that you may only be able to see in a year or two when they hit DVD – if they even get that far?