A Dose of Sundance

Daniel Edward Hyde is a 2011 Native Lab Fellow of Navajo and Belizean descent. He recently participated in the five-day Lab in Mescalero, New Mexico, with his project The Way Things Are.

Leading up to our week in Mescalero, a terrible fear began to grow inside me. As a self-taught filmmaker, I was certain that the good people at Sundance Institute would soon figure out that I was a fraud with ridiculous methods and laugh me out of the building that they had so graciously invited me to. But I can’t explain how relieved I felt to find a true artist’s haven waiting for me in New Mexico. I was afraid it was going to be a lot of uncomfortable “nice to meet you’s,” but the social anxiety levels were quickly smothered and it ended up being one of the most beautiful spaces of time in my life. My fellow Fellows couldn’t have been more awesome to hang out with. They’re brilliant and my ego has been stroked silly to be in the same company as them. I can’t wait to see all our projects come to fruition. Each of the Advisors brought different and important angles to the craft of filmmaking, that is, during the times I wasn’t completely star struck.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of solidification I got from discussing projects and ideas with them. A huge part of the execution of anything is confidence and I got a hot dose of that. I think that’s an enormous part of cultivating talent and I can say without a doubt that Sundance Institute knows what they’re doing in that respect. I’m even more excited to be a part of this group than when I was first selected.

As an artist I’ve found the most important thing to have is motivation. The ideas are the easy part, but it’s the work that graduates the dreamers into artisans. There are all sorts of reasons why artists do what they do, but the motivation must evolve to sustain its life force and I felt movement on that part. I have fresh inspirations to show my new friends and peers the best that I can in story and craft, not settling for anything less.

I wasn’t always certain that I knew what I was doing making films, but after this experience I truly feel like the sky is the limit. That feeling alone is priceless.


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