With the Sundance Film Festival wrapping up this past weekend, it was another successful international showcase for Film Cincinnati projects, with the Ted Bundy drama Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile one of the most talked about movies from the festival. Wicked leaves Sundance with a $9 million deal from Netflix, which already is showing The Ted Bundy Tapes, the docuseries directed by Joe Berlinger who also directed Wicked.
While critics called it a career star turn for Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, Wicked was not the only area film to earn raves—and a deal--at Sundance. In the final night of competition, Yellow Spring filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar won the Directing Award: US Documentary for American Factory, the story of what happens in post-industrial Ohio when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in an abandoned General Motors plant. Netflix picked up the documentary for $3 million.
“Sundance is the preeminent festival for independent films to find their audience,” said Kristen Erwin Schlotman, executive director of Film Cincinnati. “To have Film Cincinnati represented at Sundance is an honor, but to have these movies leave with studio deals shows the quality of filmmaking that comes out of our area.”
During the Sundance Film Festival, Film Cincinnati released its latest economic impact study by the UC Economics Center, showing the motion picture industry had an economic impact of nearly $80 million in the Greater Cincinnati area in 2017 and 2018. In addition, Movie Maker magazine included Cincinnati on its 2019 list of best places to live and work as a moviemaker.
“It was extraordinary and exciting to have Film Cincinnati’s reputation and work play out on the Sundance stage,” said D. Lynn Meyers, casting director for many of the films made in the Cincinnati area who attended the Wicked premiere. “It’s gratifying to see how recognized Film Cincinnati is nationally and internationally, and that makes it extremely exciting and inspiring for Kristen and the film industry here to do more and more.”
“Having the Cincinnati film commission at Sundance keeps us relevant in the market space and lets the industry know that we want to be contenders in getting movies to Cincinnati as a filming location,” said Tricia Castellini Headley. “We can look like a big city without the expense.”
“Having Film Cincinnati at Sundance this year to celebrate the premiere of Wicked was a wonderful addition,” said Chris Stinson, producer for Wicked. “It gave us the platform to talk about what the region has to offer for other motion pictures.”
This year Amazon spent some $47 million for the rights to five films at Sundance, more money than any other studio has ever shelled out in a single year at the festival. In 2018 nearly 125,000 people attended the Sundance Film Festival, which generated a total economic impact of $191 million to the area.