Sundance Trojan Spotlight: Steve Holleran

Let’s start with your name and graduation year. Hi I’m Steve Holleran and I graduated in 2013.

So we’re here to talk about your Sundance film A Boy A Girl A Dream. Can I get a quick pitch? It’s about two strangers who fall in love the night of the presidential election last year. The film is shot as a single take oner which immerses us in the last ninety minutes of the election. It stars Meagan Good and Omari Hardwick and was directed by Qasim Basir. It premieres next week at Sundance.

What was your role on the project? I was the cinematographer on the film.

How did you get involved with the project? There was a lot of serendipity with the way the film came together. The director Qasim Basir and I had actually met in person at the Laemlee in Hollywood when my last Sundance feature, The Land, came out in theatres in 2016. We met again to talk about A Boy A Girl A Dream the day of the Women’s March last year. I remember we found this hole in the wall coffee shop in the LA Arts District and talked for

hours about not only the film but about life. It was clear by the end that we were going to do the movie together. It felt like a great fit not only for our similar creative sensibilities but our outlook on life and the future of our country. We both wanted to create a film that said love and hope trumps hate.

Were you excited or worried? About the one take? It was a mixture. I’d always wanted to do a oner but — at the same time — we had some pretty serious constraints on the film in terms of time and budget. It was a difficult challenge to make it seamless but at the end of the day we decided it was the right way to tell the story.

On a technical level it was very exciting because I was able to bring together a lot of technology that hadn’t been used on a feature or a oner before. I had tested the prototype rig called the Anti-Gravity Cam on my Netflix series “Fire Chasers” which came out last fall. The rig is body mounted so it revolutionizes gimbal use and stabilized shots in general. With the rig you can move the camera from zero feet to nine feet and pan and tilt it all around like a mini jib. It’s like combining a remote head, jib, and steadicam into one mobile device. I’d never seen another feature shot in this fashion and for the mobile needs of the production it was a perfect fit.

What were some of the technical problems that you have to overcome to shoot in that style?

The camera had to follow our actors into a lot of live cramped and crowded spaces where crews don’t fit easily. You quickly realize in these environments that ceilings aren’t as tall as they seem and doorways aren’t as wide. Fitting through nightclub hallways, doing three sixty rotating shots, and keeping up with the actors moving at full speed was the ultimate film ballet. We even had to get the camera into a car without cutting. Twice. It required us to find a way to dismount the camera mid shot from the rig to temporarily hand it off to another operator in the car. We started calling it the Frankenstein rig due to its unique build and requirements. Since then named everything from the Terminator to the Preying Mantas!

I was looking over your IMDB and it seems like your projects have a wide variety. How do you go about choosing what you’re going to work on?

I’ve shot two features since graduating in 2013, both which have have premiered in the NEXT category at Sundance. With these films, I gravitated towards the underdog narrative. The Land is a story about kids trying to make it from the rough part of town in Cleveland. In A Boy A Girl A Dream its two strangers inspiring each other to follow their dreams when the world seems to be falling apart.

On my Netflix original series Fire Chasers, again it’s the story of the underdog, in this case people banding together in the face of an insurmountable enemy, wildfire. There’s a very strong dynamic of good versus evil in my work and I find it’s that conflict which inspires me and attracts me to a project.

So you graduated in twenty thirteen. Do you remember your decision to come here?

It was a circuitous route coming to USC but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense. I grew up in San Diego but my family has been in Los Angeles for five generations so SC has been a big part of my life whether through the watching the football team at family gatherings, studying film legends like Lucas, or alumni in the family. I applied as an undergrad but actually didn’t get into the film program so I decided to go east to Bowdoin College in Maine where I studied history. My passion for film persisted and pushed me to apply for a post-graduate grant called The Watson Fellowship. The fellowship affords 40 graduating seniors from across the country individual grants to leave the country for one whole year to pursue a project they each design. I was awarded one in 2008 and set off to create a feature length environmental documentary about overfishing in the Pacific. For one year, I lived on my own in fishing villages across Samoa, Chile, and New Zealand shooting and editing a project that became much bigger than I had ever imagined. It was doing this documentary on the edge of the world that taught me volumes about filmmaking and eventually became my submission film to USC’s MFA program.

Cinematography isn’t the first thing you hear from students. We have a long history of it but most people think directors producers and writers. What was USC right for you — as a cinematographer?

What I wanted to learn at USC was story. Knowing how to talk about a story is an essential element in a cinematographers bag of tricks and in my opinion, out of all the film programs, USC is the king of narrative. Whether it was the script writing classes, directing exercises, or budgeting meetings, we constantly came back to how each element of a film was tied into the story. I learned how the narrative connected to each shot that I wanted to create rom the lighting to camera placement and movement. This was a powerful tool for me and one that has come in handy over and over again on every set I’ve been on. So in that sense I think USC is a wonderful school of cinematographers.

If you can take yourself back to your time here what are some lessons that you learned here — navigating the School of Cinematic Arts — that you feel a student should know before they get here.

School is what you make it and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts has a ton of different opportunities. I quickly learned to hone in on what I loved to do and to squeeze every little bit of juice out of each moment. Plus the school is loaded with of lots of like-minded young artists so it’s an ideal moment to begin collaborating.

Were there individual professors or classes that really formed you as an artist?

Yes my 507 instructor Larry Carroll.

That’s the first production class? Yes. And I remember one moment after we screened our first films, Larry brought me up to the front of class and said, “What did you do wrong?” I remember saying, “Nothing.” Then he pointed out that I had committed a cardinal rule as a cinematographer and had crossed the line in one of my dialogue scenes with the character’s eyelines. That moment really stuck out to me.

What’s “the line?” It’s an imaginary line that you draw in a scene between two or more characters in which you get to place your camera to maintain an eyeline. There’s all sorts of different rules about it and you can break it but at the time I didn’t understand it’s applicability and I was just blowing it. In front of the class.

I had another instructor, Chris Chomyn — who taught my cinematography class. He had me come up in front of the class one day and pick up a C-Stand, a metal stand on which you can place a variety of lights and other grip related items. I picked it up by the inside collar and Chris instantly grabbed the outside arm which pinched my hand inside the stand. He literally held it up for the class to see with my hand stuck between the stand and I’m sure a look of shock and pain on my face. He said “This is why we don’t pick up the C-stand from the inside.” I never forgot it.

These two lessons drilled home a dedication to craft and the notion that there’s a set of rules in the film industry that’s standardized. It’s stuck with me to this day.

Where can people find more about your film?

LINKS

@stevenholleran

www.steveholleran.com

http://deadline.com/2018/01/a-boy-a-girl-a-dream-omari-hardwick-meagan-good-first-look-video-1202241825/

 

 

Wrapping Up the Sundance Film Festival

The last few days here have been amazing. Since I last checked in, I’ve seen six more films, some of which pushed my boundaries and expanded my worldview. I also had the ability to further immerse myself in some of the other events the festival had to offer, such as the Music Cafe, industry panels, and Sundance’s “Ignite” events.

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My tickets and credential for Sundance 2016

One of the extraordinary things about being here is simply the quantity and quality of people I’ve met. I’ve met film students from across the country, from Atlanta to Ohio to Portland. This allowed me to recognize how far-reaching film is and how many people outside of LA want to do the same things that many of us at SCA want to do. This revelation also made me feel privileged to go to a school right in the beating heart of the industry, and thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve had because of SCA’s reputation, location, and education.

Meeting people at Sundance also allows you to recognize just how small the town is. Twice, I’ve met people at events and then run into them on the bus the next day, jovially greeting each other and catching up on the films we’ve seen. I’ve also randomly met directors, editors, and actors simply waiting in line or sitting in the filmmaker lodge getting coffee, making every experience in Park City an opportunity to meet people.

Yesterday I attended “Speed Dating with the Filmmakers” where I sat around a table with four other young festival attendees and we had fifteen minutes to talk to whichever filmmaker was sitting at our table. After that time the filmmakers rotated, allowing us to hear the stories of those in the festival in an intimate setting where we could have a conversation and it was easy to ask questions. We talked with the producers, writers, and directors associated with the successful films at the festival, listening to their stories and advice.

Lastly, I’ll just give you another quick run down of the movies I saw since I last checked in, in case you ever come across these titles and want to know what to watch!

Newtown – A poignant, difficult documentary about the families affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy. The subject matter was worthwhile, but perhaps it was a little too soon for this documentary to be made, as the director’s respect towards her subjects at times limited her story’s ability to grow.

Mi Amiga Del Parque – A story by Argentinian director Ana Katz (no relation) about the difficulties of motherhood in a big city. It was a bit wacky and had a stream of consciousness feel at times, but overall was decently enjoyable to watch.

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John Krasinski talking about his experience directing “The Hollars”

The Bad Kids – A powerful documentary about the at-risk students and teachers that inhabit Black Rock High School in San Bernardino county. It beautifully balanced telling the students’ often tragic tales of hardship with the story of the woman who passionately runs this high school to give her students a better future.

The Hollars – A heartwarming film directed by John Krasinski about how family deals with the big moments in life. It had me laughing and crying at the same time; it was an enjoyable feel-good movie that seemed to bring back faith in humanity and family.

Between Land and Sea – A story about a man with muscular dystrophy living in a rural Latin American swamp and his mother’s love for him. It moved very slowly for me, which lessened the emotional impact it was trying to create.

I also saw a shorts program that had an interesting variety of short films.

Overall, Sundance was incredibly inspiring, and I can’t wait to get back to LA and start implementing all the ideas I’ve had while I was here!

– Jennifer Katz, Class of 2016

Sundance: A Wild First Two Days

I had never been to a film festival before, and certainly not one as large or prestigious as Sundance. It began as a whirlwind, which has not stopped for two days. At this point, I’ve seen some incredible movies, heard from some inspiring filmmakers, and chatted with some great people in the various lines that are a Sundance staple.

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Mom and I standing in a Sundance tent, waiting in line

I came to Sundance with my mom, because above all else we love movies. We seem to exemplify the Sundance crowd in that there is incredible diversity here in terms of age, gender, and background, across both the audience and the filmmakers, yet everyone is bonded by a mutual adoration for the cinematic art form. People have been incredibly friendly and willing to engage with total strangers in order to dissect and reflect what they are seeing on screen. This has turned standing in line from an exercise in boredom into an exciting opportunity to exchange impressions about past films and buzz excitedly about whichever film we are about to see. As much as USC tends to be a place where people appreciate movies, Sundance is at a whole new level.

I’ll give a quick cliff-notes version of the movies I’ve seen in the first two days I’ve been here and the impressions I have of them:

Agnus Dei – A powerful, beautifully shot story about a Polish convent and a Red Cross doctor in the years following WWII. French director Anne Fontaine does a beautiful job of expositional storytelling and growing relationships as the story advances.

Goat – An attempt at showing the strains of brotherhood by examining two brothers as they deal with violence and the flawed fraternity system. The characters fell a little flat and the director’s message seemed to get lost among the various food substances used in the on-screen hazing.

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Director and Lead Actor in Ali and Nino

Jacquline (Argentine) – In the mockumentary style, first-time feature director Bernardo Britto explores existentialist themes as he constructs a documentary about nothing. It was a great experiment and dryly witty; I’m excited to see what he does next.

Ali and Nino – A love story between a Christian woman and a Muslim man in Azerbaijan during WWI. Director Asif Kapadia exhibits a confidence with his gorgeous wide-sweeping landscape shots that help set the stage for the beautiful love story that unwinds between two captivating characters.

As You Are – An ambitious, suspenseful, intense, and beautifully shot first-time feature by 23-year old director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. This is an excellent investigation into the teenage psyche and Joris-Peyrafitte engages with a new form of constructing a story that left me on the edge of my seat. After learning at the Q&A that the film wrapped in October and the first cut was done in just 15 days, I was immensely impressed.

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Lena Dunham and John Cooper (Director of Sundance Festival)

For me, the films have definitely been my focus at Sundance, but there is so much else to explore. I have greatly enjoyed getting to hear the directors talk about their experiences making these movies, and the variety of directors we’ve been able to see.

I also have been attending the Ignite events – events created for the youth program at Sundance – where I was lucky enough to hear from both the Sundance Director and Lena Dunham. At these events, I’ve also been able to meet other film students from across the country. Overall it’s been a jam-packed, extremely exciting first two days. I’ll report back on more of my experiences soon!

-Jennifer Katz, Class of 2016

Manchester by the Sea with Matt Damon

Sundance is now one day past its midpoint… The frenzy of its introductory days has passed, and it’s become a little easier to see through the haze of my excitement and anticipation at each event.

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My first screening was Manchester by the Sea. Produced by Matt Damon and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (a reunion after their work on Margaret (2011)), the film stared Ben Affleck’s younger brother, Casey Affleck.

I loved seeing Matt Damon in person! I had seen The Martian in Leonard Maltin’s Film Symposium class at USC (a class in which films are screened before their release dates followed by a Q&A session with some of the crew), but he hadn’t shown up for that (instead we met the composer, Harry Gregson-Williams). Despite his celebrity status, Matt was calm, levelheaded, and straightforward. I think that’s an extremely admirable trait, given that his career revolves around him professionally acting normal.

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I’m in the Business and Cinematic Arts (BCA) program at USC, and I love following the news on the bidding that’s going on for the films. This year it’s so different with Netflix and Amazon driving up the prices. I’ll be heading back to campus soon, but in the meantime it’s great to be out of LA — the atmosphere here is so different, and it’s a truly amazing experience.

– Perisa Brown

 

SUNDANCE 2015: A Tale of Two Films (plus one!)

Hi all, Doug Blush again, still recovering from last week’s film screenings and reconnections with dozens of longtime filmmaker friends and heroes. The best part of Sundance, as I said in my blog last year, is actually not just the films…seeing premieres here is an incredible experience, to be sure…but the bonds that the independent film community makes at the events, on the streets, and even at the legendary Davanza’s Pizza place on Park Avenue (see photo!)

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Some of our HUNTING GROUND crew hanging out at the mighty Davanza’s Pizza in Park City

On Friday January 23rd, we premiered the two films I worked on in the festival this year, THE HUNTING GROUND from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the team behind THE INVISIBLE WAR, and at the same exact time (gee, thanks schedulers!), SEMBENE, from directors Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, about the life and work of the “father” of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene (if you haven’t seen his films, do yourself a favor and find them!).

The HUNTING GROUND premiere was full of intense emotions, with a number of our campus assault survivor-activists in attendance, along with two US Senators and a completely packed house. We had a long standing ovation at the end as our survivors took the stage and spoke about their work to bring campus sexual assault out of the shadows and up for legislation and new rules. Like THE INVISIBLE WAR, this film was difficult to tackle, but so satisfying to see in the response it received…our second screening on Saturday morning got three standing ovations as the film ended and our survivors took the stage (and standing ovations are not the norm at Sundance, I can say from many years of experience). The film will be released theatrically soon, and will be broadcast on CNN later this year. Many campus screenings will be happening soon as well…one will likely be planned for USC, and you can pass the word on to others at www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com.

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Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering and a group of survivor activists at our HUNTING GROUND Q&A

SEMBENE has taken almost seven years to come to Sundance, and I was proud to be a consulting editor on the project. The film weaves the parallel stories of Sembene himself and his longtime biographer and friend, co-director Samba Gadjigo. The interplay of these two Senegalese intellectuals is set against the incredible images and ideas of Sembene’s films, which I barely knew about before i first saw the project. With his films and writing, Sembene fought against French colonialism, Islamic extremism, government corruption, racial and gender inequalities and many other issues, all with a uniquely African sense of image, pace and idealism. The Q&A for the film’s Saturday screening also featured Sembene’s adult son Adain, who broke down crying while remembering his late father. These kinds of emotional moments are what make Sundance screenings so special…you truly don’t know what will happen during the first looks at these new independent films.

Directors Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo at the Q&A for SEMBENE!

Directors Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo at the Q&A for SEMBENE!

The big social event of the weekend for us doc filmmakers was the Saturday night IDA/ro*co party in the center of Park City, where nearly all the documentary crew members converge to trade ideas and enjoy a bit of sponsored libation. I probably talked to 40 filmmakers and artists during this event, and traded war stories with lots of personal heroes. This is the Sundance that really resonates for me…much more than a party, this was a meeting of the grand documentary “tribe”, a chance to come out of our various cave-like edit rooms and spend a few hours in the warm glow that Sundance brings us (and yes, the drinks are free!).

The title of this entry includes the “(plus one!)”, not due to a party RSVP, but because I found out literally with a day left at the festival that ANOTHER film I had edited last year, called BENDING THE LIGHT, was showing at the New Frontiers Microcinema on Main Street. I had worked on this project with legendary director Michael Apted, who has crafted everything from THE UP SERIES to a James Bond film and episodes of the series MASTERS OF SEX. The film tells the parallel stories of five master photographers and the craftsmen who make Canon optical lenses for still photography and cinematic use. I was pretty blown away to stumble into the finished film at Sundance (I hadn’t seen the final color corrected version) and we had a full house for the screening and Q&A. Here’s the trailer: https://vimeo.com/101762811

Everyone getting virtual with Google Cardboard at the New Frontiers exhibits

Everyone getting virtual with Google Cardboard at the New Frontiers exhibits

Finishing that event, I literally had long enough to run over to the USC Alumni and Filmmaker event on Main Street, say hello to some SCA folks, and get in the van for the airport! A great finish to a whirlwind Sundance, but I could have used another week to see the ridiculously great slate of films packed into Park City. Next time…

Preparing to take the fast ride home to LA, courtesy of BEING EVEL

Preparing to take the fast ride home to LA, courtesy of BEING EVEL

Sundance Recap: SCA has Banner Year in Utah

Careers are made at the Sundance Film Festival. Across generations, filmmakers from Bryan Singer to Ryan Coogler have started their storied careers at the Park City Festival. This year, 33 films with Trojans in key positions were shown at Sundance/Slamdance and 5 films were sold including Diary of a Teenage Girl, Results, Dope, Cop Car, and Finders Keepers. In addition, Red Om Films, a production company founded by actress Julia Roberts, Lisa Gillan, and Marisa Yeres Gill, will be producing a narrative version of the documentary, Batkid Begins.

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A still from Dope, which sold at Sundance 2015

Several SCA alums also received honors at the festivals. At Sundance, Dope was awarded the U.S. Excellence in Editing Award in the dramatic feature category. In the Slamdance Festival, Hench-DADA alum Einar Baldvin’s MFA thesis project, The Pride of Strathmoor, won Jury Award for Animation Short, and 20 Years of Madness received a Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature.

“It is inspiring to see Park City audiences discover the many unique voices among our alumni and student filmmakers” said Director of Alumni Relations Justin Wilson. “I look forward to seeing as many of these films as possible on campus as part of our screening series.”

USC was “live” from the Park City with coverage on the Sundance Blog. Bloggers included Doug Blush, Ross Putman, Tchavdar Georgiev, and Natalie Qasabian. You can read their entries here:

The following films were also part of the festival:

THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
Foley Edited by Kimberly Patrick ‘12

DOPE
Written & Directed by Rick Famuyiwa ‘96
Produced by Forest Whitaker
Produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi
Production Sound Mixed by Mary Jo Devenney

I SMILE BACK
Directed by Adam Salky

RESULTS         
Executive Produced by Sev Ohanian ‘12

SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME
Produced by Forest Whitaker
Produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi

Z FOR ZACHARIAH
Produced by Joni Sighvatsson ‘85

COP CAR
Produced by Andrew Kortschak ‘13

THE HALLOW
Written & Produced by Felipe Marino ‘04
Produced by Joe Neurauter ‘04

THE NIGHTMARE
Produced by Ross Dinerstein ‘05
Cinematography by Bridger Nielson ‘04

KAIJU FURY!
Produced by Shannon Blake Gans

PROJECT SYRIA
Directed by Nonny de La Peña ‘09
Art Direction by Michael Murdock ‘14

A WALK IN THE WOODS
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Cinematography by John Bailey

FINDERS KEEPERS
Directed & Produced by Bryan Carberry ‘09
Produced by Adam Gibbs ‘08
Co-produced by Greg Lanesey ‘95
Co-produced by Matt Radecki ‘94
Edited by Tchavdar Georgiev ’01

THE HUNTING GROUND
Edited & Associate Produced by Doug Blush ‘88
Edited by Derek Boonstra ‘07
Cinematography by Ayana Baraka
Production Coordinated by Chao Thao ‘14

KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK
Assistant Edited by Barb Steele

PROPHET’S PREY
Executive Produced by Brian Grazer ‘74

RACING EXTINCTION
Edited by Jason Zeldes ‘09

TIG
Directed by Ashley York ‘06

SEMBENE!
Consulting Editing by Doug Blush ‘88

DOG BOWL
Edited by Brian Scofield ‘11

MYRNA THE MONSTER
Assistant Edited by Jeffrey Glaser

THE COLLECTORS: BEEKEEPING
Directed by Steven Cantor ‘95

SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE
Produced by Paul Kewley ‘97

PALM ROT
Written & Directed by Ryan Gillis ‘14

THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST
Written by Marc Smerling

NANA                     
Written & Produced by Paloma Martinez ‘13
Edited by Monica Salazar ‘13

20 YEARS OF MADNESS
Directed, Produced, Edited & Cinematography by Jeremy Royce ‘13
Produced by Jerry White Jr. ‘13
Produced by Kaveh Taherian ‘12
Cinematography by Will Jobe ‘13
Production Sound & Supervising Sound Edited by Kimberly Patrick ‘12
Post-production Sound & Supervising Sound Edited by Qianbaihui Yang ‘12
Line Produced by Michael Newman ‘12
Associate Produced by Lindsay Villarreal ‘13
FX Edited by Marcello Dubaz ‘12
Composed by Alexis Marsh ‘11
Composed by Samuel Jones ‘11

BATKID BEGINS: THE WISH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD
Written, Edited, & Sound Designed by Kurt Kuenne ‘95

CLINGER
Written & Produced by Bubba Fish ‘13
Sound Design by Ankur Agrawal ‘14

LA-GAR-TO
Written & Directed by Miguel Jiron ‘13

THE PRIDE OF STRATHMOOR
Written & Directed by Einar Baldvin ‘14

SOMEWHERE IN THE VALLEY
Written & Directed by David Greenspan ‘01

YOSEMITE    
Produced by Clara Aranovich ’10
Produced by Nicolaas Bertelsen ’11
Produced by Sev Ohanian ’12

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A Sundance Education: 5 Lessons Learned

Natalie Qasabian here, SCA alum class of 2014 and newcomer to the Sundance Film Festival.

This year, I was lucky enough to make my way to Sundance with Electric City Entertainment, the production company behind Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines, and most recently Mississippi Grind, which premiered Saturday January 24th at Eccles Theater. I’ve been production coordinating for the company on their documentaries since July and was ecstatic when asked to ride along during Sundance.

Since I’ve been lucky enough to come to the festival in conjunction with a film and with some amazing producers and executives who are all Park City veterans, I was able to avoid a huge number of amateur mistakes during my festival experience. Inevitably, I still had a couple of “oops” moments. So whether you’re a newbie or a veteran coming to Sundance, hopefully there’s a lesson or two in here that you’ll find helpful (or, at the very least, entertaining).

LESSON #1: You Never Know Who is Behind You
HOW I LEARNED: The Hard Way
After any screening, and especially on the opening night of a film where executives, buyers, and the filmmakers themselves are present, if someone asks you, “So what did you think?” near the theater, answer very, very quietly.

After The Bronze premiered Thursday night at Eccles, an agent friend of my boss asked me the expected, “What did you think?” I responded animatedly, but was quick to remark what I didn’t love about the film – apparently way too loudly. I was immediately shushed by my boss who was quick to point out one of the producers standing right behind me. Lucky for me he didn’t hear (or at least acted like he didn’t), but anyways, critique with caution!

LESSON #2: RSVP RSVP RSVP
HOW I LEARNED: The Easy way
RSVP for every party you can get a link or an invite to. If you know anyone in the industry and can get your hands on to the coveted party / event grid, I have three words for you: RSVP, RSVP, RSVP. As much as you plan at Sundance, things will shift and change when you get here. Get on all the lists, regardless of it clashing with other plans or parties. You never know where you’ll end up, so play it safe and RSVP for everything.

I thought I’d be working all night on Saturday (the premiere day for Mississippi Grind) only to find myself relieved of Electric City obligations around 10:30pm. My first thought was,
“good thing the Trojan family takes care of their own.” Sev Ohanian (Producer of Results, which was in Competition this year at Sundance) offered me some Sundance event wisdom and helped me get on some exciting lists this year; one of which was James Franco’s Saturday night party hosted by The Art of Elysium and Black Label Media in Deer Valley.

Sev Ohanian @SevOhanian · 6h6 hours ago
Props to @TheArtofElysium and @BlackLabelMedia for hosting the coolest party at #Sundance last night. The smores were off the hook.

LESSON #3: Falling
HOW I LEARNED: The Hard Way
You will fall. Accept it. If it happens at the start, hey, at least you get it over with. If you should fall particularly hard, there is a clinic on 1665 Bonanza Dr. Park City, Utah 84068.

Unluckily for me, I learned this one the hard way on day 1 of my festival experience. At around 6pm I took a nasty fall on some undetectable black ice leaving my right wrist sprained. The positive in this, and my lesson learned was that a sprained wrist clad with a black splint makes a good icebreaker during interactions with new people.

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LESSON #4 – Network / Mingle First, Movies Later
HOW I LEARNED: The easy way
The first weekend of Sundance is when the important events and parties happen. Plan on attending as many as possible during those first couple days. Don’t be heartbroken about not getting into premieres the first weekend. By week B, or the halfway mark of Sundance, tickets to films become way easier to score. Maximize your time by networking and attending the important parties first, catching films second.

If you’re at the festival with credentials or know someone with them, get your tickets at Festival Headquarters. Festival HQ opens at 8am (line up at 7:45am to get a better spot) and you can score tickets for the same day or the next day. Planning ahead and buying for the next day is the best way to ensure you’ll get to see what you want.

I learned this one the easy way courtesy of my bosses and Trojan friends who were quick to share this advice. Standing at line at HQ is also a great place to meet people and network!

LESSON #5 – Getting Around
HOW I LEARNED: The hard way
Avoid Main Street with a car especially after the sun goes down. Main Street is less than a mile long, but it can take you 20 minutes to drive through during certain hours, especially during week 1. If you have a car, buy a parking spot in advance and navigate the back roads to get there. Park it and walk – it’s the best way to get somewhere.

I learned this one the hard way one day 1 when I was supposed to pick up someone on Main Street. I quickly learned that “pick me up on main” is code for find a back road that leads close by.

If you don’t have a car, Sundance has a great free shuttle system that will get you to all the theaters and to Main Street. Just make sure to plan ahead and budget enough time to get to screenings. You want to be between 15 to 45 minutes early too to ensure a seat.

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Trojan Film “The Pride of Strathmoor” Wins Jury Award at Slamdance

A huge Fight On! to Hench-DADA MFA alum Einar Baldvin, whose master’s thesis project, The Pride of Strathmoor, just took home the Jury Award for Animation Short at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival!

http://deadline.com/2015/01/slamdance-awards-winners-list-sweet-mickey-for-president-think-ink-1201362745/

And check out the trailer for The Pride of Strathmoor below!

The Pride of Strathmoor Trailer from Einar Baldvin on Vimeo.