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Friday, September 12, 2008

Sundance's Role as a Tech Proving Ground

The FilmInFocus Web site, run by Focus Features, has an exclusive out-take from Inventing the Movies -- essentially a short chapter about the role that the Sundance Film Festival plays in testing and promoting new technologies.

From the opening:

    For ten days every January, Park City, Utah becomes a microcosm of the independent film world: there are ambitious young filmmakers vying to get their movies noticed, passionate cinephiles debating what’s worth seeing, and acquisitions executives looking to pick up the next 'Napoleon Dynamite' on the cheap, for eventual nationwide release.

    The Sundance Film Festival wasn’t explicitly intended to promote the marriage of indie filmmaking and new technologies, but for more than two decades, since Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute took over an event that had been born as the Utah/US Film Festival, it has done more than any other festival to make that marriage happen.

    “…I'm about storytelling and content,” Redford told an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2005, “and technology is not to be an end unto itself, it’s a means to an end.” In his talk at the annual trade show in Las Vegas, Redford used the word “democratization” several times. He saw technology as a key that would unlock the door to filmmaking, making it easier for any talented storyteller who wanted to express herself do so. “…Now the artist is going to be freer and have more protections in terms of their own individual voices,” he said, “and Sundance is basically an organization, a non-profit organization, that supports the ability of new artists to have a place to work and to be free of restrictions, so risks won’t be considered a failure, it will be considered a sign of growth.”

You can keep reading here.

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