By Hipolito Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
There are thousands of film festival in the world, many here in the United States and yet, there are some that stand out in filmmaker’s minds and in January that one would be, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. There are many stories about its inception, Robert Redford’s work and involvement with the festival is legendary. Its mission to present opportunities for new independent filmmakers to have a place to show their work and to gain the opportunity to break through the crowded field goes without question. I have spoken with some acquisition executives who have stated that they buy most of their product at this Festival. Other executives go there to “discover” and meet these new directors. The festival has a brand that can certainly support distribution and more importantly can attract an audience. But, this conversation is about preparing to go to the festival, and yes you should, at least once.
If you are a fan of film, I suggest attending for at least a weekend, but remember, it can be expensive, don’t take it lightly and go prepared with at least a small budget. Although you will probably be looking for freebies, and may actually get some, don’t count on them. The best likely place of finding a somewhat affordable room is in Salt Lake City, which is about a 40 minute ride from the resort, it is going to take some funds to get up there. If you drive there, remember it is winter, so there will be ice, so make sure you are prepared. The parking lots can get as steep as $20 dollars, yep, saw that last year. So prepare to either get to the site really early, or to pay for parking and to spend all day at the site, otherwise it will be expensive. You can still get some inexpensive eats, but that does not mean it will be cheap.
So first thing to do is to figure out why are you attending the festival, if its just for fun and you live close by and you have some friends there, okay, that makes sense as if you are not able to access any event you can still go back home, but if you are coming from out of town, make sure you contact your friends, colleagues or whoever you think will “help you out” before you get there. Many folks have been placed in tough situations because of assumptions made. Last year I attempted to bring into an event another person assuming that just because we knew the person in charge it would be no problem, well, it turned out to be somewhat embarrassing moment and created an uncomfortable situation for all. Don’t assume and don’t expect others to be your sitters, they are generally there to make their own experience worth it.
There are many wonderful things happening during the festival, not only the films but also music, conversations, panels and generally the opportunity to meet folks that are interesting and in your business.
See you there…. may be!