Still from Ryan, a short film about animation pioneer Ryan LarkinGreenCine Daily’s dwhudson is blogging Sundance with an eye for the particular ironies of its hyper-sponsored “independance”:

The festival, made famous for its support of independent American filmmakers, has started every screening with a promotional spot made by animation house JibJab. JibJab’s claim to fame consists of a series of political animated shorts. Their frontispieces for the festival reveal a certain cynicism towards independent filmmakers. They begin with the word “Independent” in bold white on a red background, the letters blurring away one by one. The last letters to go spell out the word “inept.” In one version a road line painter talks about how he hates working for “the man” and how sick he is of always having to paint straight lines. In order to break away and be himself, he starts painting colorful patterns on the road, stating that independence means freedom to do whatever he wants to do; in the background a car plunges off the road to certain death. Every variation of the JibJab intro leaves off with the main character’s desire for freedom causing death through ineptitude, naiveté and carelessness. It doesn’t help that a song preaching freedom and independence then plays over a hefty sponsor list. What is Sundance trying to tell us, here?

The rest of the post is all about the short films (including one up for an Oscar) and full of deeplinkety goodness. Check it out.

GreenCine Daily: Park City Dispatch. 4.

UPDATE: The New York Times weighs in on the schwag bags and other giveaways at Sundance [reg. req.]:

Companies hope the giveaway will help them establish relationships with celebrities and influential tastemakers, though the broad swath of people being gifted at Sundance made it impossible for representatives to say whether the practice was having the desired effect.

“Pamela Anderson, she picked G-strings; Carmen Electra preferred lace bras,” said Heather Patt, a spokeswoman for Le Mystere lingerie at the Fred Segal store, when asked about the ploy. Near her booth, another stylist was giving away $600 Walter tweed overcoats. “Everyone is very appreciative, though I’m sure it’s a little overwhelming,” Ms. Patt said. “For us it’s great brand exposure.”