What’s it like to attend two of the premier independent film festivals of the year? It’s truly exciting! As the Kodak regional account manager for studio & independent feature films / film schools, I get to meet new talent, and be one of the first to see a film that may go on to be a box office hit – and possibly win an Oscar®. From the moment I pull into Park City, I am happy to see fellow filmmakers, watch screenings, talk production, and soak up the creative energy.
Here are some of the highlights from my journey to this year’s Slamdance and Sundance Film Festivals:
- The annual opening night IndieWire Chili party: It was packed, but the vibe was welcoming. This is where all the adrenaline starts, as filmmakers and industry professionals discuss all the new films being celebrated at the fests.
- Slamdance opening night: It begins with the Kodak Filmmaker Toast, which I am so honored to be a part of. It’s a fantastic tradition that epitomizes the community aspect of the festival. Along with founders Peter Baxter and Dan Mirvish, I welcomed the 2013 participants. Then, we took the opportunity to visit one-on-one with the attendees, and learn about their many wonderful projects. Corks popped and we all raised a glass to everyone’s success in Park City!
- The NYU Film Department Brunch: NYU’s film school has produced some of the most successful independent filmmakers working today. Here, I had a chance to catch up with instructors and alumni.
- Sundance Institute brunch for producers and Women in Film brunch: Every year I like to stop by the Sundance Institute’s brunch and chat with producers about upcoming projects and what’s getting buzz at the festival. This year, it landed on the same day as the Women In Film brunch, where I presented a Kodak Grant to Jordana Spiro, filmmaker of Skin. Jordana received the Women In Film / CalmDown Productions Grant, which included a prize of 5,000 feet of Kodak film. The WIF event is always packed and great for meeting smart, enthusiastic women working in all types of media. After WIF, it was time to talk post production at the Deluxe/Company 3 reception.
- Killer Films and Cinereach events: Killer Films knows how to host a party. Having afternoon cocktails at a swank mansion in Deer Valley left no question that Hollywood had arrived in Utah. Out on the deck, several festival filmmakers and I agreed that the view overlooking Park City is spectacular. Later in the evening, the wonderful nonprofit Cinereach held their event. This organization celebrates the many films at Sundance and Slamdance who benefit from their project grants. And, of course, they are still enjoying the success of their first fully produced feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was shot on Kodak film!
- Screenings and trivia: I caught a screening of James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now, which was captured on Kodak 35mm. It looked fantastic and the actors went on to win a Special Jury Prize later in the festival. … For my last night in Park City, I convened with a group of veteran Sundancers at the first ever Sundance Trivia Night, arranged by Tom Hall of the Sarasota Film Festival. Filmmakers and programmers had a blast trying to answer questions about past Sundance Festivals, Park City and Robert Redford.
- The Kodak Slamdance panel: Finally, I got to moderate a lively discussion about shooting low-budget projects on film. The panelists were generous in sharing stories and information, and the audience asked some great questions about film formats and archiving, among other things.
Indie filmmakers create some of today’s most unique and entertaining stories for the screen. I’m glad I can be there to answer questions and help them find ways to realize their vision on Kodak film.