Sundance Film Festival Friday - Features 12

Festival-goers chat as they wait in line during the second day of the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in downtown Park City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

At the end of Saturday's world premiere screening of "Four Good Days" at the Eccles Theatre, director Rodrigo Garcia called members of his talented cast -- including stars Glenn Close and Mila Kunis -- up on stage.

"Get up here, people!" Garcia said with added gusto. "Let us have our 15 minutes!"

I don't know if there's new post-screening protocols in play, but if the first three days of the festival are an indication, then the sessions seem noticeably shorter this year. In previous years, the question-and-answer period seemed to time out from 13 to 15 minutes. This year, for every screening I've attended but one, the Q&A has been cut off at the 10-minute mark.

Having attended so many of these over the years, you develop an innate feel for just how long they should last. You can kind of sense when the moderator is going to jump in with the obligatory, "I'm told we have time for one more question" mandate. That moment's arrival definitely seems accelerated and a bit forced this year.

It's too bad, because these sessions are something that really sets Sundance Film Festival screenings apart from the norm, and make the experience more impactful. With some films over the years, I end up remembering more about what was said afterward than I do about the movie itself. I've got to believe the same proves true for other Sundance-goers as well. 

Not only do you get to learn insights about the specific project itself, many things you probably wouldn't be aware of otherwise, but it's interesting to see the personalities of the actors and directors at play.

With a record number of films screening at the festival this year, maybe this is just a sacrifice that was made to keep the giant cog of machinery running on time. But those extra five minutes of interaction time are missed.

I guess what I'm saying is, I echo Garcia's sentiments. "Let us have our 15 minutes!"

-- Doug Fox

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