It is always a gratifying moment to see the Film Guide go live. After months of the film selection process, it is literally the grand handoff to present the films in black and white to an audience for the first time. Reading about all the films gets me excited about the program all over again. I hope you agree it looks like a phenomenal lineup of films. The stories are diverse and wonderful which makes choosing what to see a tough choice. Here's a few tips to help you fill your days and nights at Sundance.
- Check out OFF SCREEN. This is what we call the activities outside of the screenings including panels, music, and dialogues. We have created a new spin on Cinema Café that happens every morning at 10:00--a very informal and eccentric paring of Festival guests to create lively dialogue. I hope this becomes a new tradition at Sundance. Also, we are launching a special Power of Story panel for big names to talk about big subjects. Besides these, there are many events peppered throughout the 10 days. Lots of music!
- What is SPOTLIGHT? The Spotlight section was created to find a place for the films we love that we have seen throughout the year. We added a note at the beginning of each film description to let you in on the history of that film or filmmaker.
- DOCS are HOT at Sundance. We already know this, but you can hardly go wrong in this category. Even if the subject matter seems not of interest to you…you may be pleasantly surprised by the film experience and that is exactly what we look for when programming. Docs have become so popular we created a new section called DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES to be able to bring back alumni filmmakers with new projects and find a screen for docs with larger subject matters.
- NEXT is happening. The NEXT section was created last year to support no and low budget filmmaking. The creativity in filmmaking in this section is really magical. We adopted the < = > symbol which literally translates "less than equals greater than," meaning a great outcome. These films are so great, they will also compete for audience awards this year.
- NEW FRONTIER is at a new location and kicks off as part of the Day One festivities. If you don't spend a bit of time at this venue you have missed a truly special part of what we do. It is almost right across the street from the Library Theatre so leave some time after a screening there to check it out. There will also be some very exiting live performances.
- MEET THE ARTISTS. Learn the back stories to the 2011 filmmakers with our video series. Our interviews are often the first time these artists have talked publically about their films, and they sit down with Sundance.org to share their excitement for the Festival ahead.
I know it is all about planning right now, and that is good, but as any seasoned Festivalgoer will tell you, it is also about the happy accidents. Explore, talk to people in the theatre lines and on the shuttles, ask questions of us, and each other. Even for me, I stumble into the best conversations in the most unlikely places… waiting for the bathroom at Zoom. Rest up and arrive ready for possibilities.
Read more suvival tips to help you navigate the Festival from shuttles and parking to our new mobile apps.