At this time last week, The Other One began its journey through SUNDANCE 2014!
We were featured twice at the Sundance House, thanks to Hewlett Packard, who's Z820 RED Edition workstation we used to rapidly (as far as workflows are considered) edit the film. You can read about our editor's work on the station here. It's a beauty and money saver for the indie producer in time alone!
On Friday, I moderated a conversation with Rick Hohmann, Senior Software Engineer at HP, and Melissa Lawrenz, Editor of The Other One about working with the Z820. And on Saturday I told the story of producing our film from "Concept to Completion in 10 months" and shared exclusive sneak peeks of two scenes from the film in 4K (super high resolution!)
While navigating the flowing crowd, we had great engagement and excellent feedback!
Sundance is an amazing film festival and even most of the general public know it's Robert Redford's baby. It is a place for filmmaking artists to find community, support, and tell original, risk-taking stories. It's also a place for new merchandise to be pushed into celebrities' hands (my favorite new item: pasta chips...ok,) exclusive parties to be held in almost every available space, and stars, new and old alike, to show their newest risk-taking projects.
In the U.S. Dramatic Competition Infinitely Polar Bear and Whiplash were the two films being most buzzed about.
It's great to see more female directors showcased, but it was sad to hear an industry executive at a party say he just "wished women could direct better films." Yes, the booze were flowing, but really he was rooting for us! Not seeing us prove ourselves is perhaps an honesty female filmmakers should acknowledge, but perhaps in our struggle to gain respect we've pushed the bar so unattainably high, we leave no room for any of us to fail. I'll keep thinking about that idea.
FAIL. This was a word for and by Sundance as well this year. #FreeFail Unfortunately, I didn't make it to any of these workshops, (meetings, mentoring, and trying to get into exclusive networking events can keep you busy,) but I liked that Sundance was reaching out to the festival attendees, many of which are the general public, and encouraging them to experience what so many filmmakers go through- Failing. I wonder if next year Sundance will #SuperSuccess and celebrate risk takers sharing how they achieved success. While I believe failure is essential to risk-taking, innovation, and the creative process, as an independent filmmaker wishing to have a long career, I'd like to focus more on the next steps to success and sustainability. Investors and audiences only dig failure for so long.
If you know me, you know I'm a networker. I'm happy to talk about my projects, career, and where I want to go, hoping that along the way I'll meet people who can share insights, critique, mentor, and give me a helping hand up, so I can one day return the favor.
When talking to more established people in my industry, I am often given directives and ultimatums. "You HAVE to do this," "You MUST do that"... kind of thing, comments that mostly feel fueled by profit more than creativity. Fortunately, because I was graciously allowed into the Creative Producer's Lunch, I was so happy to hear Alix Madigan-Yorkin say "There is no way of knowing what will work" when it comes to producing. THANK YOU ALIX.
Sundance is constant. You're going non-stop and often eat at odd times when you finally realize you've only had free coffee from the AirBnB house all day. It's full of fans and industry and while it has consistently grown to be more glam/hollywood, I know the Sundance Institute is committed to the filmmaking artists, and I was even told they wanted to focus on more artists across the nation, not just the typical east and west coast markets. YEAH! This Chicago gal would gladly assist in that goal.
So Mr. Redford, I feel you on "It's none of our business" in regards to your comment about financing and distribution lessons at Sundance. This will stay in mind as I creatively push my projects forward and hold on to our team's vision, trying to not kowtow to the HAVEs and MUSTs. We'll figure it out and remember there is no right way, especially in this new wild west of distribution and financing.
Sundance is also full of news and big announcements, but on Monday, Martin Lurther King Day, Anita Busch of Deadline put out a big announcement about Harvey Weinstein's comments on violence and why they matter. So in addition to what people were enjoying in the theater, people in line for the films were musing on our industry's influence on violence and the conflicting profitability of violent/action films.
Our film, The Other One, would have probably contained more violence, bigger stars, and a puppy if we stuck to the HAVEs and MUSTs of distributors, but it doesn't need that and never did. We've pre-screened to over 250 people now and have received terrific feedback amidst the sniffles and tears our powerful little independent film has created. We're not sure where we will premiere, nor what our distribution looks like, but already our team: filmmakers, cast, and funders, are so proud of what we created. #SuperSuccess So, Mr. Weinstein, I've got your back. We're with you in the change. The Other One could have glorified gun violence, but the story is too real, the public's imagination too vivid, and we just won't do it either.
Finally, Sundance inspires. It's a great way to start 2014 and I'm so grateful to have participated more fully this year as a filmmaker, even though I didn't have a film in the fest, and even though that's what I've been all along.