Sundance Institute Co-Managing Directors Laurie Hopkins (left) and Sarah Pearce. Photo by Adam Finkle.
Sarah Pearce and Laurie Hopkins are like the left and right sides of the Sundance Institute brain. Hopkins handles the administrative, legal and financial side, while Pearce oversees artsy initiatives, like development labs and film fest programs. And in an industry dominated by out-of-towners with deep pockets, Pearce is from Holladay and Hopkins is a Parkite. They chatted with us about the 2014 Film Festival, including the music, economic impact and the newest installment: artist Doug Aitken’s “The Source,” featuring his interviews with artists of all sorts.
What is Doug Aitken’s “The Source” all about?
SP: We reached out to him in celebration of our 30th anniversary. We wanted to do some really special things and this is one of them. He’s a world renowned multi-media artist. He does amazing work with projections and interviews, and in this installment he’ll be interviewing people about the creative process and how they come up with their stories.
What’s the atmosphere like in Park City during the Film Festival?
LH: It’s really exciting; the town has a great energy. It’s filled with independent film lovers and supporters, and it seems like everyone just comes together for this moment to celebrate film and the power of storytelling.
SP: We both go down to Salt Lake for the Salt Lake Gala, which is that first Friday night, and that energy is also alive and well in Salt Lake.
With all you’re responsible for, do you have time for screenings?
SP: I always try to carve out time on that last Sunday, because that’s when we show all of the award winners.
LH: Aside from the films we show on the last Sunday, we also do free screenings in Salt Lake City. And we do a best-of fest on that next Monday, so that’s something we all try to get up to as well as we can.
SP: I oversee it from our side, and we’re going into our third year and have a lot of plans in place. It’s a four-day film and music festival that we hold at The O2 Arena and bring films from the Utah festival and what we show in January and to introduce the UK audience to those filmmakers and their work.
Music is a big part of the London festival, but what about Park City?
SP: We show a lot of emerging musicians as well as some established musicians in an acoustic environment every day throughout the festival in a venue dedicated to music. These days, it seems there’s a trend of doing a lot of documentaries about music, so there always tends to be that thread in the film festival’s programming.