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Sundance Offers Half-Hearted Response to Boycott

Although I still oppose the campaign to boycott the Sundance Film Festival, I was disappointed to read Sundance officials' tepid response in yesterday’s New York Times article about the Festival, the relevant portion of which is:

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Gilmore said festival officials were stepping carefully around demands that they cooperate with a boycott of businesses associated with supporters of California’s Proposition 8, banning gay marriage.

The festival, for instance, will make certain that no film is screened only in the Holiday Village theater in Park City, operated by Cinemark, a chain whose chief executive, Alan Stock, donated to Proposition 8’s backers in the November election. The idea is to give anyone who has qualms about Cinemark the opportunity to see a movie somewhere else.

But, given the dearth of theaters, programmers don’t intend to abandon the Holiday Village.

“We don’t have an alternative,” Mr. Gilmore said. “If we had another theater we could walk down the street to, we might be thinking about that.”

Source:  Sundance Tilts to Heart-Tuggers by MICHAEL CIEPLY. Published: December 3, 2008

Two questions:

1) If the movies shown at the Cinemark theater will all be shown elsewhere, why not pull all of them from the Cinemark? I understand it means fewer showings and less convenience but when did taking a stand about human rights not require sacrifices?

2) “If we had another theater we could walk down the street to, we might be thinking about that.” You might be thinking about that? What a weak answer. Why not, “If we had another theater we could walk down the street to, we would have already switched.”

Of course, it doesn’t really have to be a theater “down the street.” Films are already shown outside of Park City (e.g., in Heber and Salt Lake) with shuttles transporting movie goers to and fro. They could do the same thing with the movies scheduled to be shown at the Cinemark theater.

Sundance could send a powerful statement if it did not use the Holiday Village (Cinemark) because of the Cinemark CEO’s support of Proposition 8. It might mean a little less money, a little less convenience, and a little less scheduling flexibility for the Festival and its attendees but isn’t the cause of Civil Rights for All worth it?

~ Mark Worthen

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