Anyone who thought that a virtual Sundance Film Festival couldn’t recapture the same enthusiasm as a premiere in Park City’s Eccles Theatre would be sorely mistaken.
After filmmakers, critics and journalists remotely screened “CODA,” a heartwarming family drama written and directed by Sian Heder, there was an immediate outpouring of love on social media that ignited a bidding war among distributors. Shortly after opening night, Apple emerged as the highest contender, shelling out a record $25 million for the film.
Before Apple officially signed on the dotted line, Heder recalls her phone was ringing off the hook. An unexpected challenge, she notes with a laugh, was being home with her two children rather than in the Sundance bubble.
“My kids keep saying, ‘Mom, stop looking at your phone.’ But I can’t,” Heder said at Variety’s virtual Sundance Studio, presented by AT&T TV, the day following the premiere. “I’m like, ‘Give me a break just this once!”