There is an air about Sundance that I’ve heard plenty about but didn’t quite understand until I’d had the full experience. In 2008 I attended Slamdance, a smaller festival in the same city, at the same time as Sundance, but I was making a film and so I didn’t participate much. I only remember seeing Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize winner that year: the very unique and female-driven Precious.
The positive air at the fest comes directly from the attitudes oozing from both the people and the movies. Everyone just says “yes” – something a wise businessman recommends doing in professional situations. If Hollywood studios truly are stuck working within corporate formulas, as they seem to be, their abilities to iterate and adjust both financially and creatively are stunted: there’s a lot of “no” going around. But Sundance is a place where new ideas are presented, theories are proved, disproved and where adjustment is made accordingly. People say, “Yeah, let’s figure that out.” No matter if I conversed with a producer from HBO while sipping Moscow mules or new age communist promoters on a bus, we all said, “yes,” and exchanged ideas and contact information.
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