Night owls can now be a good reason to not sleep. Sundance kicked off this Friday morning, Hungarian time, with an Oscar-winning movie.
Last January, when there was still a traditional film festival in Park City, nobody could have guessed that after a year, almost nobody would travel to Sundance, Utah. However, in 2021, due to the third wave of the Coronavirus, cinemas in the United States will be closed almost without exception. Tabitha Jackson took the lead right after last year’s event, and he faced a crisis crisis right away. As he said at the event’s opening press conference, we were lucky enough to see what happened in film festivals around the world, so they chose the best possible solution, that is, they organize the event mostly online. But what exactly does Sundance look like online? In Park City alone, only one viewing point has opened, and the program is showing at two locations in Los Angeles, and a number of other cinemas across America – with strict restrictions and security measures. However, according to Jackson, the essence of the festival cannot be forgotten: that is, these events are primarily intended for artists and audiences, so in the online space – in an unprecedented way – they have sought to create experiences with the most important independent style in the world. That is, the world premieres took place at a specific time (making Hungarian reporting a vigil due to time zones) and tickets had to be booked for them: as in the old days, we were eager to adapt to the virtual room, where the number of “seats” was limited. At the same time, the so-called “walk” option has been retained, meaning that if not all of the brides show up at first, you can sit in the empty seats (another good reason to watch). Tabitha Jackson still considers it an essential part of the festival experience to create a meeting between the creators and the audience. Before each premiere, the programmer presents a particular movie with more enthusiastic reasons as to why they choose a particular work, after which the right directors usually want to have fun with Zoom. In a row, taking advantage of the capabilities of the conference platform, they will organize live questions and answers, that is, a meeting for the public, where we can even ask questions from the Budapest living room (of course, if we can handle this particular activity). Admittedly, Sundance Festival’s online format – which is actually a hybrid mix, in which there are also analog shows – is the perfect solution that the festival pioneered during the outbreak of the pandemic. European competing events try different concepts. Last September, the rifle brought in a very similar, but ultimately, restrained event. The Berlinale’s declared solution to the custom in February raised a number of questions in advance. The industrial and commercial part of the event is slated to be postponed to March, which means the movie fair will take place online. It is true that the festival jury will work, watching the entries immediately (!) And making decisions as well. Audiences will be able to watch the films at the Analogue Festival in July. But where is the press? The lucky ones will be invited to the movie fair and can write reviews about the contest films. Moreover, the most embarrassing thing is that Thierry Fremont announced that day that the Cannes Film Festival, which rejects the online model in all races, will move into July, only so far in Karlovy Vary. In short, three major European Class A festivals are required by July so far. While the scenario often changes in Europe about the fate of festivals this year, thanks to Sundance Well and Well, Tabitha Jackson said they didn’t have to choose from fewer entries compared to previous years. Sure enough: Cyan Heder opening CODA was a luxury choice. Emilia Jones plays Ruby, whose life is more complicated than average, as her parents and brother are deaf and dumb. The family earns a living from fishing, which is why it’s imperative that Ruby be the interpreter for speakers who sometimes take advantage of a disability. However, while dedicating her life to her family, the girl loves and can sing, and the Mexican music teacher who comes to school wants to convince her that she has a place in one of the best music colleges in the world, Berkeley College, Boston.
Of course, it’s just the “big picture,” the movie works at many levels and depths. It took Heder a flick to show what a family is where everyone loves each other, which is a lot more natural than most of us in many ways, even though they had to forgo the luxury of hearing. The director brilliantly handles mixed dialogues, audiovisual humor, and dramatic drama to the extreme, not to mention exemplary acting leadership. He knows exactly when he needs to change perspectives: This has resulted in dramatic scenes in which two people shout at each other without sound, or when a deaf family goes to their daughter’s big party and shows how to accept the experience. CODA communicates with the viewer in a creative way, in several stages and transitions, which is another thing I dare to write about now: We have the first Academy Award-winning film by 2022.