Producer pally to HE: “We all know that Sundance has changed. The exciting, culture-defining current and buoyancy are long gone. I used to enjoy Sundance despite its rigors. But that was another time.

“Attacking Sundance in your column for the umpteenth time not only isn’t going to make any big difference, and at some point what it will do is finally exhaust your readers so much that they will turn away, stop reading, and leave.

“You’ve made your point. Now stop. Just cover what you think is relevant and stop attacking the festival. Remember that no matter what the festival may represent today” — i.e., the spirit of HUAC of the late ’40s and early ’50s, except persecuting white guys instead of commies — “there are filmmakers there who have worked for years and given up much to fulfill their dream of getting their film made and seen there, and they should at least should be appreciated.”

From Michael Fleming’s Deadline column, posted at 9:28 am today: “The 2020 Sundance Film Festival gets underway today, and it has been the toughest market to handicap in a good long time.

“Conversations with buyers and sellers point to a lack of obvious star power in the slate of pictures available for acquisition. It could well be a quiet market, meaning that the sums could be modest with dealmaking for most films lingering beyond the festival.”

Translation: Who wants to pay serious money for feminist slash POC slash LGBTQ wokester films that will stream and quicken no pulses and then vaporize?

Distribution chief quoted by Fleming: “All of us used to come to Sundance making bids that were based on estimates of what a movie might gross, and how much money it would cost to market it, and wins and losses were determined by subtracting purchase price. Now, it’s impossible to grade these films that are acquired by the streamers, because box-office is about the least important metric. It has become very difficult to compete when one of them really wants a film.”