Day One of the Sundance Film Festival is in the can, and the main highlight, The Opening Day Press Conference, attracted press from all over the world (I know, I was sitting next to a guy from Sweden) to the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street, Park City.
Reporters, along with online Tweeters, posed questions to Sundance Institute Founder and President Robert Redford, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam and Sundance Film Fest Director John Cooper. The trio gave their impressions on this year's festival and the state of indie film altogether.
Since check in was 11 a.m. and the conference started at 1 p.m., I got the chance to make friends with all the press surrounding me for two hours before the show—all while trying not to lose my spot up front.
My new best friends...
A minute was saved for a still photo session of the three on stage, before they took their seats and started streaming live on sundance.org. In fact, you can still catch the entire press conference there.
Or you can just read here for the jist, along with footage.
Redford's opening statement touched on the dark times we live in economically and the hardship it has put on the indie film industry, although the community is getting stronger—thanks in part to the Sundance Institute labs set up to help indie filmmakers. "The festival is just part of what Sundance is, but the labs are the real deal," he said.
The quote of the afternoon also came from Redford while he was speaking on the government's lack of support for the arts: "Art means a lot." Simple, to the point, true.
Cooper gave a bit of a rundown on some of the highlights for this year:
Putnam pointed out the Institute's three priorities for indie film.
The first priority is reflected through Sundance's Artist Services, which helps filmmakers self distribute their products. So far the program has raised about $1.5 million for indie films. The globalization aspect includes international films at the festival along with the newly launched Sundance London, not to mention workshops in China, India, Jordan and East Africa.
And technology... Just check out New Frontier, opening tomorrow at The Yard, 1251 Kearns Blvd, Park City. Another location is at 20 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City.
Cooper pointed out that this year offers more comedies, more movies made by women and more movies staring women than previous years. Documentaries have also upped the game.
And the most meaningful moments for Redford are when he's meeting and interacting with the filmmakers.
The biggest challenges for the festival: