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By Mark Bell | February 3, 2007

January is over, so it’s time to move on from the Sundance Film Festival and look towards the rest of the great festivals and indie films to drop as the year goes on. Before we do, however, one final evaluation of the 2007 Sundance festival.

Quality of Films
Dave Poland and Jeffrey Wells may feel differently (and more power to them), but this year was not a disappointing crop of indie flicks. Save a dud here or there (and what festival doesn’t have those), the festival ranked middle-good to great as far as programming. From brilliant docs like “No End in Sight,” “Manda Bala,” “Crazy Love” and “White Light/Black Rain” to wonderful narrative features “Eagle vs. Shark,” “Son of Rambow,” “The Ten” and “Grace is Gone,” the 2007 festival rocked hard. And let’s be honest, if you think the Sundance grouping sucked, you’re looking at the face of indie film for the rest of 2007 so… either you’re in for a good year, or a pretty suck-a*s one because these films will be on the festival circuit for some time. Well, the ones that didn’t get picked up, that is.

Top Films in Each Category
Here’s Film Threat’s picks for the top films, as decided upon by review ratings and opinions expressed during the festival, for each category. If you want to know who won the official awards, check this story out.

Dramatic Competiton: “Rocket Science”
Documentary Competition: “My Kid Could Paint That”
World Dramatic Competition: “Eagle vs. Shark”
World Documentary Competition: “A Very British Gangster”
Premieres: “Son of Rambow”
Midnight: “The Signal”
Spectrum: “If I’d Known I Was a Genius”
New Frontier: “Strange Culture”
Shorts: “The Tragic Story of Nling”

Distribution Deals Gone Crazy
The 2007 festival had more distribution deals than any fest in recent memory, with the following flicks finding new homes:

“Crazy Love”
“Grace is Gone”
“How She Move”
“In the Shadow of the Moon”
“La Misma Luna”
“My Kid Could Paint That”
“The Signal”
“Son of Rambow”
“The Ten”

And that’s just during the festival. Who knows how many other Sundance picks will find their ways to a new distribution solution as the following months roll on.

Festival Staff and Volunteers
Kudos to Sundance for another year staffed with friendly faces and considerate manners. No criticism to be lobbed at those that keep the festival going strong year in and year out, can’t think of even one issue in 10 days where someone wasn’t more than helpful towards solving the problem. I can’t say the same for some of the Yarrow staff…

The Scene
If there were to be a massive criticism of the 2007 festival, it would be the overall Main Street scene. Too many people flocked to town to party, too many high-scale parties with too small capacity venues and a general cramped and crankiness to any evening spent walking Main. The best places to socialize this year seemed to be the various hotel bars, or the small lounges that fewer people were inclined to check out (because they were all trying to get into a MySpace party). Overall, though, it was a soul-crushing endeavor to navigate Main Street in the evening. How to make things better in the future? Who knows. It seems it gets worse every year, but at least the films were solid.

The final evaluation continues with the Film Threat photo diary in Part Two of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Final Evaluation>>>

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