TO: Jason Berger, John Cooper c/o Sundance Film Festival
FROM: Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
RE: Sundance ’19 press pass
Hope you guys are doing well.
Before I jump in on the issue of my usual press pass being denied for next month’s Sundance Film Festival, I’d like to offer an apology to whichever parties within the Sundance organization who have decided that I’m a bad or unworthy fellow, and a pledge that I will try to do whatever it is that they would prefer I try to do henceforth.
Obviously I’ve rubbed this or that person the wrong way, but I am a determined, hardworking columnist-critic who’s been diligently covering Sundance each and every year since ’93, and I’d like to continue doing that. If nothing else Sundance saves me from award-season coverage for roughly ten days, and it’s wonderful for this aspect alone.
Since announcing in my column that the Sundance press office is denying me a press pass for the first time after 25 years of coverage, I’ve heard from colleagues and filmmakers who’ve found this decision “alarming, deplorable, appalling, ridiculous,” etc.
One response I’ve been pondering is to post a letter-to-Sundance that various veteran journalists and producers might want to sign — something to the effect of “we the under-signed feel it is extremely ill-advised of the Sundance press office to withhold press credentials of a 25-year veteran of the festival because they don’t agree with his viewpoints. This smacks of ‘woke’ McCarthyism, and is clearly not in keeping with the liberal, inclusive, independent-contrarian spirit of the Sundance Film Festival”…something like that.
It’s a fairly simple notion that arbitrary withholding of press credentials under these circumstances (all of us being in the the midst of revolutionary changes in the industry as far as inclusion, identity politics and representation, #MeToo and #Timesup advocacy, p.c. admonishings of older white guys, SJW sloganeering and a general climate of “woke” political intimidation) is not a good idea and that it sets an unhealthy precedent, freedom of the press-wise.
Anyway, I’d be most grateful if the offended parties with the Sundance organization could find it within their hearts to turn the other cheek and let bygones be bygones, etc.
Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere