Sundance veterans have noticed something missing from their moviegoing experience this year: Gone are the annual series of funny minute-long Sundance-branding shorts (or “bumpers”) that precede each film. Made by the previous year’s standout filmmakers, they traditionally feature the Sundance logo and slogan (2011’s is “Be Here”), and give the audience a quick laugh before wading into, say, an intense two-hour torture flick about Uday Hussein and his body double (we’re talking to you, The Devil’s Double). Instead, this year audiences are just being flashed the same quick, digitally animated rendition of what might happen if the Sundance snowflake logo was put through a kaleidoscope, and then it’s right to the main attraction. Cried out one man at a screening yesterday, “I am so done with that fucking snowflake!”
Good news for you, guy in the screening! Vulture has uncovered the set of funny bumpers that were actually commissioned for the festival, but were spiked just before opening night. Sources say the decision came from the highest level, and it was likely Robert Redford who made the call.
Sundance commissioned a total of four bumpers from Jeremy Konner, whose Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln, with Don Cheadle and Will Ferrell, won last year’s short films jury prize, and Jordan Vogt-Roberts, whose Successful Alcoholics was a favorite in last year’s short films program. Konner’s proposals were rejected early in the process, but Vogt-Roberts’s concepts (including a mockery of festival “swag hags,” with a cameo by Arrested Development’s Tony Hale, and one with Jason Ritter playing a Steven Slater–like fed-up flight attendant) were approved, shot, and edited. And yet a week before the festival, the word came down that they wouldn’t be shown, with a source revealing that the ultimate decision from on high was that they were “too edgy.” Sundance spokespeople were not available for comment.
We found the nixed videos and posted them below. What do you think: Too edgy? Not edgy enough? Not snowflakey enough?