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From the Labs

Off the Mountain: A Peek Inside the Sundance Institute’s Digital Summer Labs

Dogfight, A Dry White Season, The 40-Year-Old Version, El Norte, Reservoir Dogs, The Wood, Pretty Woman—these are just a few of the memorable independent films that have gone through the Sundance Institute’s summer labs over the past four decades. Bringing together established mentors and exciting talent from a wide range of artistic disciplines, the labs have been a core part of the nonprofit Institute’s mission since the very beginning.
From 1981 up until this year, most of these gatherings have taken place high in the mountains of Utah at the Sundance Resort, an idyllic backdrop that allows participants from all over the world—among them directors, screenwriters, XR artists, actors, playwrights, composers, and editors—to shut out the demands and pressures of the outside world and really focus on their craft.

Michelle Satter on Reimagining Sundance Institute’s Summer Labs

Michelle Satter is the director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, a post she has held since the Institute was founded in 1981. In the letter below, she offers insights into how the Institute’s signature Labs have been carefully adapted and reimagined to go digital on Sundance Co//ab.
For the thousands who gather in Park City each winter, the Sundance Film Festival is the most visible part of Sundance Institute.

8 Filmmakers You Probably Didn’t Know Came through the Sundance Labs

Summer at Sundance Institute means one thing: lab season. Our labs are week-or-more-long intensive residency programs pairing budding artists with experienced mentors, all designed to help new voices hone their craft.
And the labs aren’t just on writing or directing (though we have those, too)—we have labs for everything from creative producing to composing music for film to working with VR and new media.

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Creative Distribution

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From the Archives: The 3 Things It Takes to Be an Independent Producer

As the spiritual closing of Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Summit, Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper wrapped up the weekend with the “One Word Challenge.”Cooper’s challenge to his three keynote guests was simple: “It is 2011, and the most important thing a producer needs to survive is …” Panelists were given this one-word task by email before arriving in Utah and told to bring their best thinking to the audience of creative fellows and advisors. The experiment is both simple and profound, and audience members were invited to play along with cards of their own.

‘I Knew People Wanted to See It’: The ‘In Reality’ Team on Why and How They Self-Distributed

In part one of this interview, In Reality writer/director/star Ann Lupo and producer Holly Meehl shared how they got their anti-romantic comedy feature off the ground. In this second and final part, we explore how they navigated self-distribution.
Were you building an audience along the way? How did you keep people engaged?
AL: During post-production I took on a side project editing a short for Casey Neistat called “Filmmaking is a Sport,” and it completely changed my perspective on YouTube.

From Short Film to Unexpected Feature: How ‘In Reality’ Came to Life

Liz Manashil is a filmmaker and former manager of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative.
A few months ago, before I had a baby, I encountered the anti-romantic comedy feature film In Reality, which I immediately fell for. As I told the filmmakers later, it was the movie I needed when I was in my early 20s.

From the Archives

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