A Counterpoint for Cannes: Lessons from the Sundance Film Festival

Sundance-film-festival

so I was listening, as is my want, to Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode’s Movie Review Podcast (which is very good btw) as they were live from The Sundance Film Festival which was visiting London. they were interviewing John Cooper, Director of the SFF who described how the festival first came about:

“Sundance … was created to find a safe haven for artists to become better and to make better cinema … then we started this thing … we called labs, which were basically workshops where filmmakers come and work on their scripts with mentors and there’s a whole mentoring process … very quickly after that [we] were making movies but they weren’t getting seen anywhere so we needed to create a platform and that was the Sundance Film Festival and that’s how it started” (source)

the festival has seen the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne and Tarantino all hone and develop their skills in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and protected; a very different environment to Cannes or the Oscars … where the focus is on subjective judgement by peers and winning awards.

I couldn’t help but think and wish that there was a Sundance equivelant for our industry. the Cannes Festival of Creativity (which will soon see the great and good head off to the south of France for the annual networkathon) is basically our Oscars, and it has its place.

but there doesn’t seem to be a counterpoint? we don’t have a Sundance.

certainly in Australia the Media Federation Awards, like the B&T awards and Adnews awards, all follow the Cannes / Oscars template … glitz and glamour as the campaigns and ideas judged to be the best allow the people who submitted them to have a fully deserved 15 seconds in the glare of the lights.

how awesome would it be if the above quote read:

“Incubator … was created to find a safe haven for planners to become better and to generate better innovations … then we started this thing … we called labs, which were basically workshops where planners come and work on their ideas with mentors and there’s a whole mentoring process … very quickly after that [we] were creating innovation but they weren’t getting seen anywhere so we needed to create a platform and that was the Incubator Ideas festival and that’s how it started”

how awesome? very.

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