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THE SUNDANCE KIDS: How the Mavericks Took Back Hollywood

by James Mottram


James Mottram’s book could hardly be timelier. Though he delivered his manuscript long before Crash and Brokeback Mountain reaped the main Oscars earlier this month, both represent further victories for Hollywood’s new generation of art-house directors: the loosely defined group he calls the Sundance Kids. And while Brokeback’s director, Ang Lee, has operated within the studio system, and Crash’s writer-director, Paul Haggis, has come from television, their films’ subject matter and marketing, building on the critical success of last year’s Sideways, owe more to an indie than a studio sensibility.


Of course, all the major Hollywood studios now have art-house divisions, while the tepid box-office performance of King Kong shows that the special-effects-driven blockbuster is in abeyance, if not in permanent decline. Will this prove to be just another flash in the pan or part of a more sustained phase of development in the history of Hollywood? “For the moment, whether they are indulged or merely tolerated, ambitious directors must seek shelter in the system,” argues Mottram. “But the storm clouds are gathering; as blockbusters head towards the $200m mark, making profit a thing of the past, something’s going to give.” A key factor in the success of the mavericks, as Mottram recognises, has been “the loyalty of Hollywood’s legion of actors”.


Read more at TimesOnline

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