The Sundance Film Festival reached a half way mark yesterday (Tuesday) with a startling incident at the screening of Buffalo Soldiers. The controversial film bought for North American distribution by Miramax Films in Sept 2001 - but only set to be released this spring - had just finished screening at the Eccles Theatre in Park City when an angry female audience member started screaming complaints at director Gregor Jordan who was on stage to take questions from the audience.
The woman, who was shouting that the film was anti-American and anti-army and blaming the festival for programming it, then lobbed an empty plastic water bottle at the screen which landed just short of the stage. The woman was immediately escorted out. Earlier reports from the festival that the bottle hit actress Anna Paquin who was on stage with Jordan at the time, although ubiquitous, proved exaggerated.
The film, which tells the story of corrupt, drug-dealing US soldiers in Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, was an early casualty of the pro-American feelings which swept the nation after Sept 11. Miramax set no release date for the film but finally announced late last year that it would be released in 2003; the deal to buy it from producers FilmFour and Good Machine was concluded on Sept 10, 2001. Arguably, no such deal would have been closed a day later.
Paquin stars in the film with Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn and Gabriel Mann.