The Buzz at Sundance

Scott Simon checks in with film critic Daniel Holloway, who is at the Sundance Film Festival, for the latest gossip: Which films are getting the most hype, which new-comers are getting the most attention, and what Sundance regulars are saying about the writer's strike.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

The Sundance Film Festival is well underway. Not all about films, is it? A lot of the festival is festive - parties, finger food and gossip, gossip, gossip. A lot of it right now about the Writers Guild strike and whether the writers will reach the same agreement as the Directors Guild, or that the strike will be long, what shape the film industry will be when it's all over.

Daniel Holloway is film critic for the free urban newspaper Metro. He joins us from Park City.

Mr. Holloway, thanks for being with us.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Thank you.

SIMON: It's early there, waking up after a lot of parties, so we are very grateful for your time.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: It's early and it's cold.

SIMON: Well, I think you've shed that heat in your hotel. It's, you know, it's - Park City is classy place. What was the big party talk last night?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: I'm assuming you're talking biz and not where Perez Hilton was.

SIMON: Yes, but answer it any way you like.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: As far as business, I don't think there's any of it getting done really until about Tuesday. There's only been two deals so far. You hear more people muttering toward the Yangtze under their breath. And you try to figure out what that is. It's actually the first movie that got picked up here at Sundance. It's got picked up by Zeitgeist Films. It's a drama called "Up the Yangtze." The only other one to get picked up so far is a movie that HBO purchased called "The Black List." And that's coming - it's a film in which Elvis Mitchell, the former Times movie critic…

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: …interviews influential black Americans. So there's really - yesterday was the first full day of screenings. There's nothing - there's not going to be a run yet. If there is, that's not going to happen probably until early in the week.

SIMON: What about the talks about the Writers Guild strike? Do you have any handle now on whether the writers see the directors' agreement as a model or as a caution?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Well, the Los Angeles Times is actually reporting that they're going to use it as a prompt to go back to the table with the producers. And, you know, you've got writers out there talking about this being - about this Directors Guild contract being the most impressive one for creative talent to come out to be negotiated by any of the guilds in decades.

So I think that's a very positive thing for people who don't want the multiplexes to dry up, you know, with films coming down the pipe. It's - and you know, a lot of the speculation about there being a run on movies this year was coming from the idea that, you know, studios were going to panic because of the writers' strike not being - not affording them the ability to put new movies into production, and that they're going to just start buying up movies to hold on to them for one movie to start running now. If this deal is really is the foundation for a new one with the Writers Guild, that's not going to happen.

SIMON: Have you seen any films so far actually this year?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: A couple. Today is going to be my big day as far as getting started in earnest. I saw the opening night film, "In Burges," with Colin Farrell, which, you know, have a lot of buzz around it and I think it's well-deserved. It's a hit-man movie. It's better as a movie about hit men being kind of quirky and funny than it is when they're actually chasing and shooting at each other than it's - you know, it's not of the Bond quality.

But - and the other one was a film by Amy Redford, who is the daughter of a guy who's very important around here, who's name is Bob. And her directorial debut, "The Guitar," starring Saffron Burrows, screened yesterday and to a very, very large, very packed house.

SIMON: And did you like that one?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: I think it's a first directorial feature effort. And I think I'm going to leave that one at that.

SIMON: Okay. Well, you're a gracious man and gracious to your host. Mr. Holloway, very nice talking to you.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Nice to talking to you.

SIMON: Daniel Holloway, film critic for the urban free newspaper Metro, speaking with us from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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