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Will You Be There?

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John Cooper

It is official, the season has begun. Even while last year’s Sundance hits are playing in theatres and awards season hopefuls are launching at fall festivals, we here at the Sundance Institute office are looking further into the future….January 2011!

New films are arriving at an amazing rate. Film submissions are tracking at the same number if not higher than we have had in the past (which says a lot for the health of the independent film world). For the past several months, my programming team and I traveled the globe looking for new international work and now we are home, deeply entrenched in finding the best films possible for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

I am super excited about our global experiment Life in a Day, which enlists user generated content from all over the world shot on July 24. This is great collaboration that has captured the imagination of an audience already. Thanks to all 80,000 folks who participated.

Our new location for New Frontier (at the historic Miner’s Hospital across from the Library Theatre) is going to bring a burst of energy to that section of the Festival. I have heard from many new filmmakers that they are setting their sites on the NEXT section created last year to celebrate no and low budget filmmaking.

Also on the new side from last year, Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. is back and growing. During the Festival (Thursday, January 27) we will dispatch nine filmmakers and their films to nine different cities across the U.S. where the filmmakers will present their work in a collaboration with local art houses.

About the snowflake. It is ironic that we have not used the icon of a snowflake in any of our previous Festivals. In my mind, it immediately conjures an image of season and place, not to mention that each snowflake is unique—just like our films.

And just like the Festival’s ten-day run, each snowflake is fleeting. If you’re not there, you’ll miss it. To me, “be there” is an invitation and a challenge—to not only attend, but to actively participate in the moment of the Festival, to show up with all of your energy and spirit.

The there of Sundance is created when an audience experiences a film and a filmmaker. We cannot do it without you. Let’s all be there in January.

John Cooper,
Director, Sundance Film Festival

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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. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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