Native Program Director, Bird Runningwater with Programming Leaders John Cooper and Trevor Groth
Charlie Reiff, Assistant to Director of Programming & Coordinator, Shorts Labs
Going into Sundance London, the programming staff headspace echoed the overarching theme of Terrence Nance’s “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” (playing here at SDL): Complications can arise when expectations meet reality. We’ve had decades to build a sense of trust with our Park City audience. We know their taste and they know ours. But now we’re heading across the globe to put on an event for a foreign audience full of questions. Will they show up? Are they avid documentary film lovers? Do they even care about short films? Will our American comedies translate well? We really had no idea.
With two days of the festival already passed, we have all breathed a collective sign of relief. The screenings are packed with locals excited for American independent cinema. We’ve seen comedies by Josh Radnor and Colin Trevorrow received the same massive receptions (albeit very ‘polite’ massive receptions) in the 700+ seat Superscreen theater as they did back in January in Park City. Paul Simon, Lauren Greenfield and Eugene Jarecki have spoken before enraptured audiences during their post-screening Q&A’s. And in the lively exchange following last night’s first of three sold out screenings of our short film program, the discussion focused around the commercial potential of shorts after one audience member commended the quality and diversity of the program and wondered why the 90 minute program couldn’t be released directly into public movie theaters like features. Despite all the anxiety we had coming into this new endeavor, we again realize that it’s all about the storytelling. Quality cinema knows no boundary and that’s not a bad lesson for us to remember.