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Which Way to Sundance?: The 2013 Festival Design

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Jessica Buzzard, Director of Marketing

Simple. Modern. Optimistic. With this minimal direction, our graphic designer set out to create the look and feel of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Because our designer is the remarkable Paula Scher of Pentagram, no further guidance was needed.

Paula’s visit to Sundance Resort during our Directors Lab this June provided her with everything else she needed to move the project forward. She had come to experience Sundance at its source: the Institute, the Festival, and all of its entities originated in this place that continues to host and define our creative Labs. One morning, over coffee and after a hike, Paula said she was concerned about the feasibility of meeting a looming deadline. Then, with a little prodding, her wheels started to turn. “Well, I do have one idea,” she said. And she sketched rough outlines of arrows on a napkin. That was it. Arrows it was.

Embracing the fact that we had provided such minimal direction, Paula created a graphic identity that does the same. Our 2013 design represents the excitement of choosing one (or more) of the multiple routes available to you in a given moment.

When Robert Redford and his cohorts started Sundance Institute in 1981, they did so in order to offer alternative paths to filmmakers who were, in Redford’s view, limited by the homogenization of American film. At the time, filmmaking seemed to be going in a singular direction that was increasingly defined by commercial interests. To enhance the vitality of the field – and of American culture more broadly – the Institute was conceived as a way to support individual filmmakers with unique stories to tell and to expand the choices available to audiences.

Our Film Festival is designed to encourage adventure. Restaurants are crowded and the weather is rough. Most films enter the Festival unknown to audiences. And those that generate early heat often sell out early. But the adventurous filmgoer knows that the best Sundance experience is most reliably found in the least expected places. By pointing you in every direction, our 2013 arrows celebrate the myriad choices that the Festival and our filmmakers provide. So this year, we hope that you’ll make it a point to explore, to go down an unanticipated path, and that you’ll have fun doing it. 

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