Emmys: Sundance Channel Gets New Moment In Spotlight

Ten Emmy noms lends validation to cabler's scripted strategy

"Top of the Lake"

Netflix isn’t the only media outlet having a “Netflix moment” in the wake of the 2013 Emmy nominations.

AMC Networks-owned cabler Sundance Channel,  best known for its adherence to indie films and unscripted programs has had nearly as thrilling an Emmy-nominations session as the streaming-video company that seems to be commanding the lion’s share of attention. Where Netflix secured 14 nominations this year, compared with zero in 2012, Sundance got ten Emmy nods for 2013, compared with none last year.

Sundance’s “Top of the Lake” won a nod for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, with Elisabeth Moss getting a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in the category and Peter Mullan securing a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the category. “Lake” also won a nod for Outstanding Writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special for Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, as well as Outstanding Directing for Campion and Garth Davis.

Among below-the-line awards, “Lake” won nods for Outstanding Casting for a miniseries, movie or special for Kristy McGregor and Tina Cleary; Outstanding Cinematography for a miniseries or movie for Adam Arkapaw; and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a miniseries or movie, for Alexandre de Franceschi and Soctt Gray.

“We were totally gobsmacked in terms of the number” of nominations, said Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel’s president and general manager. “The volume this year really takes us to the next level,” she added.

Sundance Channel also secured two Emmy nominations for “Restless.”

Like its sister cabler AMC, Sundance has begun to make waves by launching scripted fare that is as cerebral as it is entertaining. “Top of the Lake” stars Moss as a detective brought back to the remote mountain town she once called home on a strange missing-persons case. “Restless” is centered on a Russian spy who must try to draw the United States into World War II. “Rectify,” another series that has secured some notice, tells the story of an ex-con exonerated from Death Row who must re-enter society.

Sundance’s Barnett sees the number of nominations accorded to her network and Netflix as “proof that great content is coming from so many quarters,” and promises the debut of more scripted programming in the months to come.