Sundance 2023: John Sloss Interview on Screen

Few people in the film community have been more closely involved with the industry side of Sundance than John Sloss, a veteran attorney and sales agent who has been a dealmaker at the festival for decades. Through his Cinetic Media company, Sloss, whose credits range from Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy to the overnight hits “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” spearheaded the effort. to push Sundance films to consumers and their subsequent commercial success in the US

It’s never been an easy task, but with the pandemic, two virtual Sundance releases in a row, and a streaming-dominated landscape that makes the theatrical market look more dire than ever, everyone in the business of selling movies is worried. nowadays it is difficult to influence this positively.

But as a guest on this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Sloss found a few ways. Joining Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson ahead of this year’s festival, he acknowledged the difficult environment, but was more optimistic than you might think about the overall state of things. “Judging by the combined budgets of streamers and the fact that people are starting to go to the cinema again, there is no reason not to be optimistic,” he said.

Part of that, however, stems from Sloss’s investment in the theater in the streaming market. “I hate to say it. I will probably be roasted at the stake for this,” he said. “There is this idea of ​​a collective experience – people alone in a room in the dark. This is undeniably true of visceral films, theme park films.”

He was more interested in the streaming market – but mainly documentaries. “Until the art market comes back, I would not be an investor in a scripted narrative film,” he said. “I don’t know what the market for this is.” As for the theaters themselves, Sloss said they “arrogantly” pushed for longer theater windows. “Theaters need the rest of the industry to come back to life,” he said. – They have to use the flexibility of the windows.

As for the idea that streamers will buy less content now that they can create it in-house, Sloss said he’s not convinced. “The argument that streamers are cutting their budgets, I don’t think is true,” he said. “Once there’s a movie that everyone wants, we’ll see how disciplined they are.”

Watch the full episode above or listen below. Stay tuned for details on next week’s live episode of Screen Talk, taped on location at Sundance.

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman, available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous details here, subscribe hereand be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts tackle specific issues in future editions of Screen Talk.

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