Clandestine marketing strategies can be something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, all publicity is good publicity – even when it is simply rumours and hearsay; but, the air soon leaks from a speculation bubble – and the popular regard of projects can eventually be damaged by over-exposure allowed to run rampant by studio and network officials. This is especially applicable to the most highly anticipated titles ahead of their respective releases, and the new series of Twin Peaks certainly falls into that category.
Returning to the small screen for the first time in over a quarter of a century, the third season of Twin Peaks has retained its pedigree of having creators David Lynch and Mark Frost steering the narrative and, though snippets of casting information have made their way into the public domain – along with a few teasers that reveal little to nothing – Showtime has been impressively successful in keeping its cards close to its chest, to the extent that there’s still no premiere date. The lack of this vital information is undoubtedly what has given rise to the latest hot rumour – that discussions are underway to have Twin Peaks feature at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
As a rumour, this is an interesting one. Though Sundance is synonymous with cinema, television has been featured during the event before – most notably with Rectify and The Red Road, although those were SundanceTV series. The work of David Lynch is closely associated with the film festival circuit in general and, while most of his projects have screened at Cannes and Telluride, he did bring Lost Highway to Sundance in 1997. We know that a Twin Peaks Television Critics Association panel has been scheduled for January 9th, 2017, and it’s possible that either a clip, or a teaser of some kind may be revealed there – but the rumour mill suggests that Sundance may ultimately prove to be the venue for a high-profile Twin Peaks-related event.
It seems highly unlikely that a full premiere of the first episode of the new Twin Peaks will take place at Sundance. While it is the case that part of the original series screened at the Telluride Film Festival in September 1989, that was when the project was entirely unknown, and in need of a huge marketing push. This is no longer the case, with fans desperately awaiting closure of the brutal cliffhanger they were left with when the show ended its run in 1991. While Twin Peaks may well have a promotional presence at the Sundance Film Festival, I suspect it’s far more likely that this will revolve around a network premiere announcement, and perhaps a full trailer. You should place your bets now, though, because Sundance runs from January 19th – January 29th, 2017.