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The Sundance Film Festival typically begins with a question. Which film on this year's slate will achieve the level of success found by one of last year's hits. And so, Sundance 2013 begins with festival goers asking: "What will be this year's Beasts of the Southern Wild?"
Critics, journalists and buyers are all hoping to unearth the gems that will take the festival by storm.
"You never know what's going to pop," the Film Society's John Wildman explained during a roundtable segment kicking off the first edition of the Film Society's Daily Buzz podcast.
It can be even harder to assess the lineup, sight unseen, and find a trend. Yet, that won't stop people from trying.
This year, in the wake of recent gun violence, insiders are already buzzing about school violence doc Valentine Road.
"One of the hardest things about Sundance, I've found, is to find something new as a trend," explained New York Times writer Brooks Barnes. He explained that movements can emerge slowly at this festival even as attendees are out at the event hoping to harness a buzz title.
Some warned that the movies to focus on are not big name entries that can often disappoint.
"The real dirty secret of Sundance is that the movies with cast usually suck," quipped Dusty Smith, an acquisition exec from Roadside Pictures.
Other buyers seemed to agree with Smith's assessment.
"You think you know everything and then you come to Sundance and you know nothing," IFC Films acquisitions head Arianna Bocco summarized. Her colleagues seemed to agree, even as they remained coy about the sleeper titles that they have the highest hopes for.
HOT TOPICS ROUNDTABLE
- Brooks Barnes/NY TIMES
- Brian Brooks/DEADLINE
- John Wildman/FSLC, FILMCOMMENT.COM, FILM THREAT
INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLE SEGMENT
- Arianna Bocco/IFC FILMS
- Dusty Smith/ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
- Tom Quinn/WEINSTEIN COMPANY
- Jason Janego/WEINSTEIN COMPANY
- Peter Van Steemburg/MAGNOLIA PICTURES
- Julie Goldman/MOTTO PICTURES
- Dan Mirvish/BETWEEN US
- John Nein/SUNDANCE INSTITUTE
- Shari Frilot/SUNDANCE INSTITUTE
- Ricardo Rivera/NEW FRONTIER ARTIST
- Lynette Wallsworth/NEW FRONTIER ARTIST