Posted by: Guy Edwards on February 3rd, 2011
Today the New York Times released an article covering Christopher Munch’s presentation of his Film at the Sundance Film Festival. Below is an excerpt:
They believe in stories at Sundance, to be sure, usually with three acts, sympathetic leads, closure, teachable moments and sincerity, which makes sense for a festival where filmmaker Q. and A. sessions can feel like religious revivals. Do I hear an Amen for the brave young filmmaker down front? Hallelujah and pass the audience ballot! It’s easy to mock Sundance and its pretensions to purity, but it’s also hard not to be moved when these filmmakers find communion with their audiences. One of my fondest memories from this year was trying to decide if Christopher Munch — who was there with his pleasurably eccentric feature “Letters from the Big Man” and, after one screening, read a letter from the Sasquatch “people” in perfect deadpan — was pulling our collective leg. The polite audience didn’t blink, and neither did he.
It’s possible that Mr. Munch’s film — with its lapidary landscape photography, off-kilter environmental theme and up-and-coming starlet, Lily Rabe, who plays an outdoorswoman collecting samples for a field study and attracts a benevolent hirsute stalker — will find distribution. I hope so. “Letters From the Big Man” drifts a bit after its absorbing first hour, but it’s the kind of off-Hollywood production that still makes Sundance surprising. (Curiously, it was the first of two Big Foot movies I saw. The second, “Sasquatch Birth Journal 2,” from the Zellner Brothers, was a self-consciously crude short that purports, with irreverently comic effect, to show the birth — shake, drop and roll — of one of these creatures.)
Even if its finds a distributor, a film as willfully independent in its vision as “Letters From the Big Man” is unlikely to enjoy the relative commercial success of Lisa Cholodenko’s “Kids Are All Right” or Debra Granik’s “Winter’s Bone.” Both were at Sundance last year and went on to become art-house hits with stories that were, in their different fashions, calibrated for uplift. With its crystal-meth hillbillies, “Winter’s Bone” looks and talks tougher than “The Kids Are All Right,” a winning comedy-drama about a lesbian couple trying to keep the family peace. One reader, responding to something I recently wrote about Sundance, insisted both are corporate products — but really, these are mainstream narratives.
Read more at the BigfootLunchClub.com