In the run-up to Sundance, which kicks off the American festival circuit and starts baby indies on the year-plus-long road to the Oscars pipe dream, it's easy to forget to look outside the independent cinema bubble—to get caught up in the euphoria of success at Sundance, which only rarely translates to success outside Sundance.
In an illuminating (if disheartening) analysis today, indieWire steps back to look at the Sundance 2009 crop's yield on the larger stage box office. Given all the excitement here in Seattle (including at the Cola), I was surprised and saddened to learn that local filmmaker Lynn Shelton's Humpday didn't even break $500,000.
The Biggest Disappointment: “Humpday,” which was a huge favorite among fest-goers and ended up managing only $407,377.
This brings up the age-old art/commerce debate about the value of film, and no—I don't think a film's value should be judged on its box office numbers. But especially in a down economy, its existence—or the existence of its director's next film—just might be.
So the message here is get out in 2010 to see these littler guys, most of which will screen at the Northwest Film Forum, SIFF, SIFF Cinema, or Landmark Cinemas in the coming year.