Last Updated: February 1, 2008By

Morgan Spurlock’s “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” is my festival highlight this year. The last time I made my sojourn to Park City, UT was in 2004 when “Super Size Me” premiered to packed audiences. Since then, Spurlock has done “Thirty Days” and is now tackling our favorite bearded cave-dwelling “Evil Doer” -OBL. His sardonic take on the film was a treat to weary eyes (read below). Now, If you would like to hear only the positive from Sundance I would suggest you stop reading here. I will count to three… 3… 2…1… As a filmmaker I was severely disappointed in this festival. Although it is not completely the fault of its organizers, the Sundance Festival is now 90 % about gifting suites and corporate sponsors and 10 % about the films themselves. If you stopped ten people on the street and asked them what film they were going to see, nine would not even know there was a film festival going on. Well, maybe eight. Park City during this period of time is deluged with the entire LA publicity and star machine, to the point that even the clubs a-la “Green Door” and New York‘s “Butter” set up shop for a weekend on the outskirts of the village. I find it very telling that people line up for three hours to get into Harry O’s, only to find themselves so crammed that you’d want to leave in five minutes. Such was how I felt about Park City’s slushy streets where you were likely to run into the likes of Jared Leto, a cigarette-puffing Matthew Perry, Tilda Swinton, and a host of kooks, wannabees, not to mention my favorite local street kids in ski togs trying to sell me Red Bull for a dollar (Red Bull that I pointed out to them I could get for free from the Red Bull Mini Cooper that patrolled the streets hooking new addicts to its syrupy guanine- laced speed). Oh, yes, and there were paparazzis, every kind of media outlets with cartoonish hosts, and, of course starfuckers waiting to swoop down and grab a happy- snappy with their favorite perfect-celebrity-stranger. Even more telling at this year’s festival were the splashy film premieres that were not a part of the actual festival… A la Paris Hilton’s new masterpiece “The Hottie and the Nottie” which drew more attention than most films IN the festival.

Sadly Sundance has become the bloated, sad sold-out shadow of its former self. And it sickens me to say this, but if I got accepted I’d still go. I hate myself right now.


(Richard Keith is an independent filmmaker)

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