Sundance’s premovie teases were often as newsworthy as the movies themselves. Last year’s JibJab shorts noisily failed to connect with audiences. “Created by satirist animators JibJab, these shorts (resoundingly booed at most screenings) featured a highway line painter, a demolitions specialist, and a dogcatcher—all deludedly indie-minded and fatally bad at what they do: Each spot opens with the word independent fading to inept,” said the Village Voice of last year’s festival. “Strange that the festival saw fit to preface every screening with an insult.” This year’s shorts from Digital Kitchen, however, were rather more ambiguous / pretentious, so it was hard to boo them.
Best of all was the premovie-tease screensaver from Primal Screen depicting an audience fidgeting in their seats waiting for the movie to start. A loop about six minutes long, it was endlessly fascinating and filled with film insider treats. (Watch it here) Check out the chattering penguins from March of the Penguins. I could have watched it for two hours instead of the closing-night film, Alpha Dog, which, as the title might suggest, was a mighty pile of dog poop.
– Fenton Bailey