Five Things To Know Before Coming To Sundance (plus Five): Wash Wetmoreland And Richard Glatzer

Filmmaking duo Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer show up last year to Sundance with thier low-budget no-star “kitchen sink” drama QUINCEANERA. They left winning both Grand Jury prize and Audience Award. Now we can learn from their experience.

Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer

1) Bring your cast and crew. Though it may have your name on the front, the film belongs to everyone who made it. So get your actors, your dps, your editors, along to share the experience. Even that annoying actor with two lines who still e-mails you every week. Also, get them all to every screening and make sure they always vote for the “Audience Award,” Republican style!

2) Get cool looking postcards and give them out everywhere. This gives you what marketers call “Brand recognition.” If you have any good-looking actors get them to give out the postcards and generally flirt a bit with the public. This gives you what marketers call “Sex appeal.”

3) If you get invited to the Robert Redford Filmmaker’s brunch don’t expect to meet Robert Redford. There’s like two thousand people there and he’s constantly mobbed. It’s like trying to meet Ghandi or Lady Di or something. Talk to other filmmakers instead. You may find your deadly rivals are actually very nice people indeed.

4) Don’t go to bed early to be fresh for a press interview the next day. You’ll have more fun at the party, and get more business done. The journalist will probably be as hung over as you are.

5) Don’t shit your pants if you’ve been spying on a distributor and they walk out of your screening half way through. They might be going to the restroom! Or they might be going to phone their boss to say, “We gotta buy this one.”

6) If it’s a question of seeing a film or going on a swag hunt. We recommend the former.

7) Avoid the soulless corporate parties and try and find the ones with a bit of personality. Keep your ear to the ground for parties in people’s condos because they can be good fun. You don’t have to be queer to go to the queer lounge, and they usually have good parties.

8) Don’t get so caught up in solipsism. Go see films. As many as you can. Talk to people in line or on the circuit loop bus about what films are worth seeing. See international cinema and rare docs as well as the, “Hollywood star does an indie turn” that everyone is queuing up for.

9) Thermal underwear.

10) Everyone’s Sundance experience is different — it’s like “Youth,” in that respect. So feel free to ignore all the advice in this and other columns and do your own thing.

Peter Bowen

Senior Editor, Filmmaker Magazine