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.