- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2005

The annual Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Park City, Utah, turning the snowy resort into an insular demimonde of art-movie practitioners who hope a studio buys their wares. It’s the first in a long year’s worth of famous festivals, not-so-famous festivals and … unknown festivals.

Ronald Reagan Film Festival— Hosted annually at conservative activist Grover Norquist’s home in the District, this festival is an homage to all things Gipper. The faithful watch every movie in which the late president starred, as well as news footage of major speeches. Rumor has it that Mr. Norquist does a “Tear down this wall” impersonation under a replica of Mount Rushmore with an additional head.

George Clooney-Steven Soderbergh Meta-film Festival — Entries limited to verite films about the staging of independent film festivals. The winning film — chosen by judges George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh appearing as themselves in the film about the Meta-film Festival — gets picked up by HBO.

Zapruder Film Festival — Every summer, a small coterie of conspiracy buffs set up a giant projection screen somewhere in the Green Mountains of Vermont to watch the Kennedy assassination on a perpetual loop. Their hope is that someone will notice something, some obscure puff of smoke or twitch of body, that no one’s ever noticed before.

Terminal-Interminable Film Festival — The location of this one changes each year. A gang of angry travelers picks a new airport at which they protest security delays, lack of legroom and late arrivals. Until they’re inevitably shut down by airport staff, TIFF organizers are able to jam TV feeds and broadcast one or two airline disaster movies as travelers wait for flights.

Weinstein Film Festival — This one’s unique among festivals, in that it’s a ritual of masochism. Miramax honchos Harvey and Bob Weinstein screen all manner of no-budget films, dangle six-figure advances before first-time writer-directors’ eyes and then make nanny-nanny-boo-boo faces as they capriciously back out of contracts.

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