This is my fifth time to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. Every year brings the familiar excitement of digging up winter clothes, trying to get tickets to the movies you want to see (which are always sold out!), and emailing friends to see who will be up there and if there's an extra room (or floor) available.
This year is especially exciting for me. Not only did I get the honor of being asked to be on the Alumni Advisory Board with some incredible artists, I am also premiering an installation piece I worked on with Mridu Chandra and Shanghai Restoration Project. The piece is called Himalaya Song and it is an ode to the Himalayas. Through music, storytelling, art, and technology we have been able to create a multimedia film/performance art piece.
Gingger Shankar's Himalaya Song.
The first day of the Festival kicked off with a New Frontier social hour and a rehearsal in the incredible new space New Frontier has built this year at the Yard. We are so excited to premiere our project at the Sundance Film Festival and Shari Frilot (New Frontier Curator) has been so supportive to bring it to the stage.
The evening ended with my first time attending Sundance Institute's An Artist at the Table opening night event. It is such a great idea: Every table has an artist to talk to people about how they create their art, their process, and the importance of the Sundance Institute Labs. I glanced around the room and couldn't believe the mind-blowing talent all in one room. Lynn Nottage (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright), Julia Ormond, Hank Willis Thomas (Question Bridge), Gina Rodriguez (star of Filly Brown), Dee Rees (director of Pariah), Cliff Martinez (composer of Drive), and others. There really is no other place that cultivates such diverse talents and provides us all with a space to learn, be mentored, and try (and fail) and try again!
Mr. Redford opened the evening with a fantastic speech about how important it is to support us independent artists. What more can be said?
Gingger Shankar is a Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board Member and the director of the 2012 New Frontier installation Himalaya Song.