Sundance 2017 – My First Sundance

Let’s start with the basics. I left Louisville Monday the 23rd, and now I am flying back Sunday the 29th. (I’m at the airport now. I just finished Pei Wei for lunch. It was great). Anyway, so I was at the festival for the second week that it was going on. Park City is cold and covered in snow….

Taken with: Galaxy S6 Active

Taken with: Galaxy S6 Active

Taken with: Galaxy S6 Active

Taken with: Galaxy S6 Active

Also, I didn’t really know what to expect so I brought dress shoes, tennis shoes, Chuck Taylor hightops, and boots. I think you can guess the only footwear I wore all week. But, enough about me.

Sundance was great. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to meet people and see some cool films. My favorite film of the week was Sydney Hall which got trashed by the only four professional critics who have reviewed it, even though it has an 8.5 on IMDB right now. So, I don’t know what that’s about. To each their own I guess.

The cast and crew of Sidney Hall (Taken with: GH1, Speedbooster, Super Takumar 50mm)with: GH1, Speedbooster, Super Takumar 50mm)

The cast and crew of Sidney Hall (Taken with: GH1, Speedbooster, Super Takumar 50mm)with: GH1, Speedbooster, Super Takumar 50mm)

I’ve watched way too many movies over the last four days (our passes started on Wednesday). But, a few of the films I would recommend are: Walking Out, Crown Heights, Ingrid Goes West, and Mudbound.

The biggest thing I learned from this trip is that Sundance isn’t really about the movies. It’s about being around 40,000 other people who love movies. (Park City’s population goes from 5,000 to 50,000 during Sundance according to an article I found online but am too lazy to find again for sourcing. I’m also assuming 5,000 people are there for skiing and snowboarding . Don’t question my math.) If you go, bring a ton of business cards and meet as many people as you can. Talk to those around you in line, go to the panels, and try to make friends. That is my best advice to anyone going to Sundance. Meet as many people as possible.

After finishing that last paragraph I went to get on my plane, landed in Denver, got off at the wrong terminal and accidentally left security. I then got back to Louisville and immediately drove back to school. I arrived at 2am and got up at 7am for my class. Class is now over. I’ve had a nap and caffeine and am finally back to normal.

Back to Sundance. Like I was talking about earlier Sundance is all about people. One of the things that I learned that I want to share is to assure you that you can learn enough about filmmaking from books and the internet to be a good enough filmmaker to get into Sundance. From all of the panels and conversations I had no one seemed to just have vastly more knowledge of the art since they went to USC , NYU, or AFI. They had better connections, but not a better grasp of the craft. At least not to a level that couldn’t be achieved elsewhere.

Cooke Anamorphic lens at the Canon House (Taken with: GH1, Speedbooster, Nikon Ai 35mm F2.8)

Cooke Anamorphic lens at the Canon House (Taken with: GH1, Speedbooster, Nikon Ai 35mm F2.8)

The second big thing I noticed was the people who had films there were all around the age of 30. So if you’re over 30, just keep working on it, there were quite a few 40 year olds with films there too. If you are under 30, chill out, you’re not behind, just keep working hard and become the best artist you can be.

Lastly, independent film is for entrepreneurs. If you are not a good business person or are willing to take risks and power through things. Indipendent film is not for you. The more entrepreneurial nature you have, the less money you will need to make your film. There were films that at Sundance that were awesome that were made for almost $0. There were also films with fairly large budgets too. So, just keep this in mind if you are going to try to make a $0 budget film. Be a good business person, or find someone who is.

Anyway, these were just some thoughts I had post Sundance. I know, this isn’t groundbreaking or anything. I mostly did it just for me. Also I am really tired, so, sorry if none of this made any sense.