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The Sundance Online Film Festival Streams the Spirit

There are snow showers today in Park City, Utah where the annual Sundance Film Festival is entertaining this year's crowd of movie buffs and critics. Not surprisingly, reports from the front say that most of the dot-com hoopla has dwindled. It seems that most dot-com marketing budgets are currently entertained walking the path to profitability. But, while there may not be any more loud dot-com signs roving about, a few companies in the streaming space — Stream Search, Sonic Foundry, and Enron Broadband — have instead sponsored the online Sundance Film Festival.

The online festival launched yesterday at www.sundance.org and www.sundanceonlinefilmfestival.com, coinciding with the opening of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. The Online Film Festival will feature films in three categories: Animation and Live-Action, along with three interactive works as Special Presentations.

The festival was announced in August of this past year, and has aggregated some of the past "Internet" hits, such as the BeHere 360-degree film, The New Arrival, directed by Amy Talkington, and appearing in the interactive works category. The Mullet Chronicles, directed by Jennifer Arnold, tries to answer the question burning in everyone's mind — Why Mullet? — and is featured in the online festival, as well as on Atom Films.

The online festival is also displaying works new to the Internet. Gone Bad, an animated piece directed by Marco Bertoldo, is eerily realistic looking as it tolls through the dark story about a priest attempting to save lost souls. And while the film, The Crazy Bloody Female Center , by director Nina Menkes, is rather difficult to make out against the dark backdrop of the black site, you can get the gist from the title. Each viewer has the opportunity to vote for their favorite work in the online festival.

StreamSearch is the "Principal" sponsor and co-producer of the 2001 Sundance Online Film Festival, including site design, technical functionality, and Internet promotion. Enron Broadband Services is the "Initiative" sponsor of the 2001 Sundance Online Film Festival.

Atom films (www.atomfilms.com) also has its own collection of short films it is promoting at the Sundance festival, available for viewing on its site. Atom has maintained its Sundance presence, acquiring Ford as a corporate sponsor, and is offering a lounge at 427 Main Street in Park City.

While Internet delivery may not have taken off as originally hoped, the number of digital films submitted to Sundance is continually growing, as digital technology allows for films to be produced inexpensively by comparison with traditional film.

Maybe the Internet's entertainment renaissance is yet on its way, maybe it will never happen. But, if the only shower you're currently experiencing is the light from your monitor, you may as well click over to the online festival and experience a piece of the spirit.

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