A.J. Schnack, director of They Might Be Giants doc Gigantic and About a Son, the forthcoming doc about Kurt Cobain, discussed the difference between opening a film at Toronto (as About a Son did), and opening at Sundance. "At Toronto," Shnack says, "It's like everyone is there to find out, 'Are these Oscar buzz films good enough?' I mean, we got enough press, but Toronto is a festival where it's still possible to play under the radar. Unlike Sundance, where everyone's like, 'What's the great discovery? Where's the new talent?'"
Movies everyone's talking about: The Savages, starring Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as troubled siblings; the Irish musical Once; Zoo, the beastiality-in-suburbia documentary, and Hounddog, otherwise known as "the film in which Dakota Fanning gets raped." Oh yeah, and Crazy Love, a doc directed by Dan Klores, is officially the first sale of the festival -- Magnolia picked it up for about $400k -- and no one seems to care.
Speaking of Hounddog, I chatted with a woman from the American Humane Association -- the group in charge of verifying that "no animals were harmed in the making of this film." Apparently, it's a banner year for the AHA: the lady I met was at Sundance to see five or six films that she monitored, including Mike White's Year of the Dog, and, yes, Hounddog. When asked about her impressions of the infamous film, the rep (who hasn't seen the final cut) recalled reading the script: "Knowing Dakota was attached, I was like [widens eyes in shock]. I mean, she was our Dreamer girl! But I think its actually a really important step for her, as an actress who wants to have a career outside of childhood."