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The 2011 Snowflake: Thumbs Up

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Nate von Zumwalt

Over the next few months we’ll be chronicling memorable moments in Festival history as we reveal the mystery behind the 2011 snowflake icon. This week we examine the “thumbs up” icon, the definitive sign of approval in the world of film.

Roger Ebert and Micheal Moore
Roger Ebert and Micheal Moore

Founder of the universal thumbs up/thumbs down film rating system, Roger Ebert spent the last four decades sifting through films and discerning potential Oscar-winners from certain box office busts. Equipped with an uncanny knack for film criticism, his reviews range from eloquent praise to sarcastic disparagement . Ebert began his illustrious career at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967 before inextricably pairing himself with fellow critic Gene Siskel on their syndicated television show. He has attended the Sundance Film Festival since 1984 and remains a faithful advocate for independent film.

 

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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