Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program
We just celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Feature Film Program Labs which started with the June Filmmakers Lab in 1981. Over these years, we’ve had the privilege of providing an immersive creative experience to hundreds of artists whose films have transformed the independent landscape and had a significant impact on audiences around the world. More recently, the Feature Film Program evolved to establish a year-round support system for independent filmmakers beginning at the script stage and continuing through distribution with Labs, granting, and ongoing creative and strategic support.
Today, while the goal remains the same – to make your film and get it seen – the tools to achieve that have shifted and expanded and filmmakers and producers are taking a more entrepreneurial role in getting their projects produced and distributed. Digital distribution, audience engagement, and fundraising are now critical to the life of any independent film, from development to distribution.
At Sundance, our mission has remained the same since 1981. But as the environment for filmmaking has transformed, so must the ways in which we support our artists. As many of you know, we recently created a Sundance partnership with the online crowd sourcing site Kickstarter. Our alum Dash Shaw immediately took advantage of this opportunity and reached his goal of raising $25,000 towards pre-production activities for his first feature “The Ruined Cast.” Announced in January 2011, the Kickstarter partnership is one part of Artist Services, an initiative that empowers our filmmakers with new tools and digital opportunities.
The Feature Film Program team is thrilled to be working closely with Joe Beyer and Chris Horton who are leading Artist Services. With our continued support, they will guide all of the Institute’s alumni through best practices and offer personalized support tailored to the needs of each project and filmmaker.
I hope that all of our alumni will participate in this initiative in some way and I look forward to seeing your work on one of these digital platforms some day soon.