The very first Sundance London festival has drawn to a close. The festival finished for me with Placebo’s performance at the Indig02 on Saturday evening. The band were on form, playing a good mixture of newer songs and old hits. It was a nice facet to Sundance London to feature music as well as film. This is particularly true in the case of Placebo, as the band had attended a Q & A session for the documentary Placebo: Coming Up For Air earlier in the day.
I did not get to see as many films as I would have liked at Sundance London. Nonetheless, I was lucky enough to see the fantastic Liberal Arts. What was good about Sundance London was the number of post-screening question and answer sessions that were held. Even second screenings of films that were held during the day had directors introducing their films, and answering questions from the audience afterwards.
The only real negative of Sundance London was the choice of location. The o2 is an awful venue for a film festival, especially one which showcases independent film. Due to the host of other events taking place at the o2 (the cinema was understandably dominated by Avengers Assemble screenings, while concerts took place in the actual arena), the venue was too capacious to generate any kind of festival atmosphere. The volunteers in their yellow sweatshirts were definitely helpful in providing directions and guidance. However, for festivalgoers attending more than one event in the evening the location was a nightmare. Every restaurant, bar and cafe sported throngs of queues; there was simply nowhere for patrons to eat or relax between events without having to take a tube or bus away from the area.
I genuinely hope Sundance London will return next year, and build on the positives of this year’s festival. Preferably in a more conducive venue.