The Sundance Film Festival 2013 was an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. There are only so many words that can describe the experience of this miraculous festival. Before I attended this festival I heard so many wonderful things, but I never knew what it really was about until I finished the ten-day adventure.
Before our class began we were assigned 12 films to watch and critique. These independent films showed me what the definition of an independent film really was. From mainstream to independent, all things are important such as; budget, financing, marketing, distribution, casts, directors, producers, plot structure, story, cultural setting, themes, subject matter, characters, location, and audience. As an art, independent film chooses to use no name casts, directors, and producers. The plot at times can be non-linear or there can even be no plot at all! Many stories in independent films can be ambiguous, contain anti-heroes, are issue driven, or discuss a struggle. Independent films contain in depth character development, which is something we don’t always see in mainstream films. Independent films strive to show variety in all types of forms.
After attending the festival, I saw all aspects of independent film come to life. The people who attend these festivals are open to diverse points of views. They welcome all films that contain issues and themes that are controversial and normally not discussed in a normal conversation. Independent film is an art because each film is open for the audience to interpret the meaning of the film as whatever they think that meaning should be. These films not only bring people together but they also create a conversation. This in itself is an art.
Independent film as a business is something very unique. Most independent films have a very low budget some starting at $1,500. The financing comes from investors, family, friends, and crowd sourcing. The marketing comes from indie distributors. Many companies and non-profit organizations help give filmmakers money to achieve their goals and start production. This is something that filmmakers must apply to and many are turned down since there is only a small amount of money to give. Once some of these independent films are given a chance to play at the Sundance Film Festival, they are then given the chance to be bought to screen in mainstream theatres. This shows how the Sundance Film Festival is a showcase for indie film and as a film market as well. Once these films are bought, they are able to share a conversation that wouldn’t have been normally discussed or brought up. Even though some filmmakers never have the chance to get their films out there or recognized, they are happy that their ideas were even made and that production even happened.
Besides the business and art aspect, the Sundance Film Festival is an experience for all walks of life. Many people who attend the festival are filmgoers, people within the industry, students, and you can’t forget about the celebrity hunters. Some celebrity hunters are lucky, while others aren’t. The cold weather only contributes to the amount of fun this festival is. The snow and the winter wonderland at Park City truly creates a magical feeling. Whether it’s spending the night at the box office to fight for movie tickets, spending up to five hours wait listing for a film, or getting only two hours of sleep a night, this festival was truly worth it. Because of the diverse crowds of people at the festival, conversations were never left dull or boring. I am truly thankful for this experience and the people I met along the way. Those ten days in January 2013 were days I will cherish for a lifetime.