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Obama’s effect on Sundance
How the new president was reflected at this year's big indie film fest

“President Barack Obama may have already won the most prestigious people’s choice award,” said Chris Knight in the National Post, but he was also the star of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Many filmmakers “peppered their awards acceptance speeches” with references to the new administration, and even the director of the Sundance Institute, Ken Brecher, “showed off a badge he had made for Obama, naming him honorary jury president.”

It was “impossible to watch” the film festival’s big winner, Push, about an illiterate black girl from Harlem who is a victim of incest and other abuses, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times, “without all the emotion of the inauguration of the country's first African American president vibrating in the air” around it.

With everybody thinking about the inauguration, said Anthony Breznican in USA Today, it was hard for many people to focus on the festival at all. And that may account for the low sales numbers this year. It could have been worse, but “of the movies that did sell, most went for $1 million to $4 million, which reflects a credit-crunched Hollywood.”

Maybe Hollywood has itself to blame for that, said Christian Toto in Big Hollywood. Despite the “fact that nearly every Iraq war film has flopped spectacularly,” buyers still snatched up another one, In the Loop. Instead of worshiping Obama and cranking out anti-Iraq-war films, maybe moviemakers should do their job and entertain us. Remember when filmmaking was a business? “Me neither.”

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