Filmmaking / Directing : Killing the Sundance Myth: No Filmmaker Comes Out of Nowhere by Richard "RB" Botto

Richard "RB" Botto

Killing the Sundance Myth: No Filmmaker Comes Out of Nowhere

Fantastic (and inspiring, if you dig) article by Chris O'Falt of Indiewire - That last line, especially, is "pin to the wall" worthy.

Killing the Sundance Myth: No Filmmaker Comes Out of Nowhere
Killing the Sundance Myth: No Filmmaker Comes Out of Nowhere
What's an unconnected filmmaker to do about a festival with over 14,000 applicants? Don't worry about it. In March 1985, the great George Plimpton wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated that told the st…
James Drago

Wow. This is an eye opening article. Thanks RB!

Joseph Deegan

Great story - thanks!

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Well duh.

Richard "RB" Botto

You're welcome James Drago & Joseph Deegan - Shadow Dragu-Mihai great contribution as always.

Pat Savage

Thanks RB! Great story

Pamela Bolinder

I'm going to Sundance...

Debbie Croysdale

Thanks RB good read. No room at all for complacency in this game. I met Sundance team in 2014 when they stayed at Langham Hotel London. Their events were dotted all over. Someone said on stage “No one realises just how fried our brains are and what tender loving care we need.” Lol, probably from the numerous wine tastings that week.

Richard "RB" Botto

You're most welcome, Pat Savage

Richard "RB" Botto

Debbie Croysdale "No room at all for complacency in this game." - Man, is that spot on!

M L.

Wow. Interesting math. At 14k entries, Assuming each film is 90 minutes, it's 1,260,000 minutes per year of material. 261 work days, makes for 4827 minutes per 8 hour day and that's 603 minutes or 10.5 hours of movies to screen per each hour of the day. This means you'd need at the very least 10-15 people employed full time doing nothing but watching entries year round in a nightmarish Clockwork Orange style capacity. Anyone know how many actual full time screeners Sundance has working for them?

Tony S.

One. And a tanker of Visine.

M L.

That means they are watching only the first 2 minutes of every film. No wonder Blue Ruin didn't get in. haha

Roxanne Paukner

I've been to Sundance (alas, none of my WORK has) and agree the parties are horrible - except for the music. In line, on the bus, and at the Filmmaker Lodge is where I've met people and learned the most.

Doug Nelson

M.L. As a film reviewer/judge, let me assure you that a dud is easy to spot within the first couple of minutes and if it opens that badly - it goes in the trash bin. If it makes it through the first screening, it goes into a recycle bin for the next reviewer. At any point in the process, it can wind up in the trash. A few films make it through a dozen or more screenings before they are slated for inclusion into the public screening and even then multiple screeners must agree. I've never been a screener for Sundance but I'd bet they use a similar process. In the end, every film fitted into the festival schedule has been viewed all the way through many times.

M L.

Doug Nelson I don't think people would be as quick to pay a $65 submission fee knowing that they had a very small chance of their film being viewed passed the 2 minute mark. Blue Ruin is the best example I can think of cause the film is absolutely brilliant but it has a SUPER slow opening. Rejected by Sundance, but then Premiered at Cannes and was nominated for a John Cassavetes award at Independent Spirit Awards. My point is that if you pay a $65 fee, someone should spend the time to actually watch the film. Otherwise all entries should be free. Then only the finalists would pay a fee to have their work looked at more closely. If it's free, I don't care if someone watches a minute and tosses it. But at $65, you've paid someone for an honest look. If they won't watch it, that is fraud. No other word for it and that's why anyone with experience knows it's a scam and wouldn't bother. It's really just a tax on new and bad filmmakers.

Pamela Bolinder

ML: Agreed! For this reason, I do not submit to anything but the top 5 script competitions.

Cherelynn Baker

RB! Where's the Stage 32 meetup in Park City? What date? I'm there January 26-28. Do we need to register ahead of time? Get on a guest list? Let's shake a chicken and make it happen!

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