Sundance fest picks Belcourt as key venue

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 4:37pm

Can’t make it to the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this year? Don’t worry—Sundance is coming to you.

In a coup for Music City, the Park City, Utah-based festival announced Wednesday that Nashville will be one of eight cities across America participating in a new program called Sundance Film Festival USA. Essentially, the program will turn the eight cities into satellite hosts for the 2010 festival when it gets underway Jan. 21-31.

On Jan. 28, participating theaters will get a special screening of a film (with its filmmaker in attendance) flown straight from Sundance while the festival there is underway. The Belcourt Theatre, the city’s last operating historic cinema, will be the Nashville venue.

“We feel incredibly honored,” says Stephanie Silverman, Belcourt’s managing director. “It says that Nashville’s a darn good film town, and that word is getting out about our audiences and the filmmakers who are working here.

“It’s a testament that we’re able to do the kind of programming that Sundance finds important, and that Nashville will support it.”

Even more impressive, according to Toby Leonard, who handles film programming for the Hillsboro Village cinema, is the company Nashville’s keeping on the list. Other participating cities include San Francisco and Los Angeles, while The Belcourt stands alongside nationally recognized arthouses such as Chicago’s Music Box Theatre and Brooklyn’s BAM.

“For Nashville to be up there with the likes of them is incredible,” Leonard says.

Since 2006, Leonard and The Belcourt have participated in the Sundance Institute Art House Project, a loose affiliation of 14 independent movie houses from Columbia, Mo., to Brookline, Mass. That group has shown promise as a model for grass-roots alternative distribution, booking a small, successful city-to-city tour last year for Margaret Brown’s documentary The Order of Myths.

The film showing in Nashville will not be announced until after the 2010 Sundance lineup is released, beginning early next month. Tickets for the Nashville event go on sale Dec. 11 at The Belcourt’s Web site.


4 Comments on this post:

By: localboy on 11/4/09 at 4:54

It's amazing how much validation some folks need, that somehow the Belcourt would be less of jewel when compared to those others mentioned in the article. It's a jewel whether those other cities recognize it or not - if not it's their loss. Same disease that affects some 'sports fans' in this town - that somehow the city would be ruined if a pro team did poorly or left town - please.

By: mr. pink on 11/4/09 at 5:21

I don't think anyone's saying The Belcourt is less of a jewel than those other theaters, but it does say something that it's getting recognized at a national level. It's not so much a matter of validation as the very real perks that kind of attention can bring: better films, bigger guests, more clout with distributors, etc. Look at what a theater like the Alamo Drafthouse has been able to do for Austin with that kind of support.

By: skates on 11/5/09 at 11:48

It is fabulous to have Nashville's wonderful theatre included in the Sundance schedule. I will be buying tickets on Dec 11.

By: Hebert33Gail on 9/6/11 at 7:26

I propose not to hold off until you get big sum of cash to buy goods! You can just get the personal loans or commercial loan and feel yourself comfortable