John Cooper Talks Programing Process, Digital Distribution, and His Favorite Films of 2012
On the heels of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival program announcement, Festival Director John Cooper hosted a Reddit ‘AMA’ (Ask Me Anything) session for film fans and other users. Below are just a sample of the questions Cooper responded to, click here for the full conversation.
Jayprofeen: With no star power usually, more modest budgets, and with so many film schools churning out these guys: how important is to wait on a final deliverable for submission rather than making the deadline with a Work in Progress (temp sound, color, etc)?
SundanceFest (John Cooper): Hard question! You have to know your own product to know how far along it is. In some ways it's a necessary evil (we watch a lot of films in rough cut) so that's not it, I think I'm saying trust your own instincts.
Salacious: What movie was the hardest choice you have ever had to make on whether to include or exclude it?
SundanceFest: Probably one of the first choices I ever made, it was for Paris is Burning. I was young and I hadn't done it before, and it paid off well.
Jimornana: Hey John, Hope you're well. What do you think about the role of sound in movies?
SundanceFest: Sound is more and more important in this digital age, and we're excited to have a partnership with Dolby - they give our artists real help when it comes to prepping their masters for the Festival.
bre_stump: How do you become a festival programmer?
SundanceFest: Our fest programmers come from all backgrounds, really diverse. The key requirements are passion for film, love of discussing films, and a lot of stamina.
Tinytooraph: The Internet and other direct-to-consumer technology is obviously presenting some challenges to the "traditional" model of film distribution. What do you think the future of film distribution will be? And more specific to you: What role do you see film festivals playing in this future?
SundanceFest: I don't think it's a challenge for filmmakers, I think it's a solution. The more opportunities for them, the better. I believe there are audiences for all of our films out there.
Festivals? Our role is to find those films.
Larinsullivan: Hi Cooper! Saw Trevor's tweet and thought I'd head over and check it out. My question - how has the Sundance Programmer's job and the festival overall changed in the last 8-10 years, since the advent of all this digital and online technology?
SundanceFest: More artists making films, that's the biggest. Also more rough cuts ... digital also speeds up the process. Technically, the quality of films has improved a lot.
chrisclayton1234: Hi John. I just wanted to say, thank you so much for bringing Sundance to London this year, I can't wait to see the selections for next year! (Fingers crossed for Upstream Color)
A pretty obvious question you must get asked a lot, but because it's been such an incredible year for film, what have been some of your favourite films of 2012?
SundanceFest: Thanks for the note on London - we had a great time there, seriously fun. It's satisfying to see Chasing Ice and The Sessions and Beasts of the Southern Wild doing so well.