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Keeping Things Fresh - Next year's Sundance

It may seem a bit too soon to even start thinking about the Sundance Film Festival, while still in the whirlwind of Cannes, yet plans are already in the making for this independent movie festival held every January in Utah. Celebrating their 26th year, Sundance is on the quest of finding new talent with the goal of coming back "fresher" every year. Held at the American Pavilion, Sundance Film Director, John Cooper and Program Director, Trevor Groth, discussed the ever-changing world ofindependent filmmaking in America.


"Ever year there's a completely distinctive flavor," says Groth, who explains how the  variety of films they receive often times reflects what's going on in the world and the constant changes around us. They are always looking for new material, which isn't difficult to find considering the uniqueness and individual perspectives that come along with independent filmmaking. While the movies at Sundance aren't feature films expected to become Blockbuster hits, there are the occasional "explosions." For example, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton's 2006 Little Miss Sunshine, was a major audience success. However Groth warns aspiring independent filmmakers not to set their hopes up too high. It is very rare for sky rocketing fame."Just because it didn't become a Blockbuster hit doesn't mean it was a failure." 


Due to the huge independent film circuit, the selection process for Sundance is obviously one of the most crucial parts of organizing the festival. While it would be physically impossible for one person to view every single submission, each movie does end up being seen by at least one person. Groth and Cooper also explain the reasoning behind selection. They discuss how despite one’s negative opinions on a certain film, if someone else is still very strongly passionate about it, they will pass it along to someone else for another point of view. There might be something there that they may not see but many others do.

Sundance’s shorts and docs were also highly emphasized throughout the meeting. The two festival directors expressed the significance of these movies that are often times overlooked.

Overall, both John Cooper and Trevor Groth have one major goal which is to bring the best and the freshest to Sundance each year. They also strive to create a general exciting and interesting atmosphere during the week of the festival.

Even though Sundance may seem in the distant future of next winter, it is important to keep in mind the talent, reinvention, and work that goes into putting on one of the most renowned festivals in the world. Yet don’t whip out the skigear yet! Keep your sunglasses and brimmed hats on and enjoy the rest of Cannes!


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