Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL
On January 26, Sundance Film Festival USA dispatches nine filmmakers from Park City to nine cities across the country to screen and discuss their direct-from-Festival films with audiences. In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to this year’s hosts by featuring them in our venue profile series.
Music Box Theatre
Patrons of the Music Box Theatre in Chicago frequently used to ask me about my Festival experience each year: What was it like? Did I meet any interesting filmmakers? What will be the next Sundance film to make it big? Was there a little gem that might get overlooked by the industry and never be seen again?
During these conversations, it was very apparent that they would have loved nothing more than to experience firsthand the Festival they had heard so much about. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to convey the feelings I experienced–the energy and excitement, the feeling of anticipation that the next film I see might just be the one that the country will soon be talking about…
But then, Sundance USA was born. The idea that a filmmaker, film in hand, would soon take a short break from the busy Festival, hazard down the mountain and travel halfway across the country to show their film to Chicagoans was in some ways just as exciting as attending the Festival in person.
Now, before the Park City “buzz” can influence the rest of the country, before the industry elite tells us what the next big thing in independent cinema is going to be, Chicagoans can be among the first to receive a film, participate in the initial conversation, champion new filmmakers, and perhaps even influence their future. What a terrific chance for Chicagoans, and for film lovers across the country, to experience the Festival at the same time as the lucky few in Park City.
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor is a lively city dedicated to teaching and learning, and our citizens deeply appreciate the magic of motion pictures – that’s why we saved and restored our 1920s era movie palace. Every day this elegant cinema space is filled with contemporary and classic films from around the world.
And once a year this palace, Michigan Theater, becomes just a bit more fun and special because we are an official part of Sundance Film Festival USA. Directors like the Duplass brothers, Miguel Arteta, and Sultan Sharrief bring their cinema art here from Park City and screen it in front of 1,700 intelligent and attentive Michiganders in our antique and beautiful art house. Ann Arbor film lovers are transported by the art, craft, skill, and storytelling prowess of wonderful Sundance filmmakers. It is the magic of Sundance in our own hometown.
The magic and mystery of stories told by flickering light: In ancient times, communities gathered around the campfire to learn and to hear stories of adventure, romance, and history. Seeing cinema in theaters, like the ancient community campfire, tells stories in the dark with the rhythms of flickering light. It is primal, it is profound, it is quintessentially human.