5 Things For Short Filmmakers To Know Coming To Sundance

Last year Ian Olds was here at Sundance with his short narrative film BOMB [www.filmmakermagazine.com], which was anything but. He’s also worked extensively in documentary, co-directing with Garrett Scott, OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND [www.occupationdreamland.com], an in-depth portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja, that was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for emerging documentary directors. He was recently awarded a National Video Resources fellowship sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation to pursue a new documentary in Afghanistan. We asked him to reach out to short filmmakers at this year’s festival with some advice.

1) Watch movies. It seems obvious, but it’s not. If you don’t make this a priority you could find yourself going mad on the quixotic quest to meet that one person who will magically grant you a career.

2) If one of your goals is to meet with agents and managers, don’t expect any of them to come to your screenings. Get copies of your movie to whoever wants to see it, preferably before the festival even begins, and if someone responds to your work you can use the festival week to meet face to face.

3) Go Skiing. It’s beautiful and the festival scene is madness. So take a day, forget Sundance and get the hell out.

4) Watch documentaries. It’s almost always a safer bet. Amidst the chaos of Park City, any time spent focusing on something real is time well spent.

5) Relax. Movies aren’t that important, and short ones even less so!


Peter Bowen

Editor, FilmInFocus.com