Sundance is teeming with directors, stars and wannabes of every flavor. There are wafts of smug cinephilia as Park City resonates with vibes of good-natured and communal celebration of film, dance and music.
Streets are filled with the beautiful people, handbills and the official, radioactive-pink 2012 jackets. But guerilla marketing for films is one area that lacks perfect Zen, as filmmakers fight over the limited space available to hang posters. The five sanctioned kiosks are patrolled daily, receiving blankets of overlapping paper.
“I actually saw a fight between a world-cinema documentary filmmaker and someone else, who had just postered over her poster,” said Emilie Chan, a veteran poster-girl. “Gloves come off, and its only day two. There was also a language barrier situation. I had to stop for a moment and let it all soak in.”
Mike Christensen has been working with a street team to promote HBO films for 10 years. He has witnessed the poster scene intensify, having posters and personal belongings stolen in past years. “It is a battle for coverage, so it gets crazy and competitive. People get a little agro, but we try not to let it go there. It isn’t the energy of the festival.”
While well-funded films can have a street team battle for eye-space, some have a “do-it-yourself” mentality, because they don’t have anyone else.
“We hope to one day have many, many assistants to do this for us,” said Jillian Mayer, who was hanging woopie-cushions to promote Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke. “This is our baby. We spent time editing in our living room. We did everything. Happy that we are here on the first day, so we can know that under the layers of posters in a few days, we can be at the core.” Mayer hopes to con friends into poster responsibilities, allowing her to enjoy the festival’s panel discussions, films, food and concerts.