Submitting to Sundance: Two Festival Programmers Share Their Insight

Lisa Ogdie and Kim Yutani discuss the selection process at Sundance.


Last week, Sundance Film Festival programmers Lisa Ogdie and Kim Yutani stopped by Film Independent to do a Q&A with our members, offering insight into the selection process as well as helpful hints for filmmakers submitting their work. The deadlines for Sundance 2015 are fast approaching (official deadlines are Monday, August 25 for shorts and Friday, August 29 for features; late deadlines, at a slightly higher entry fee, are Monday, September 15 for shorts and Monday, September 29 for features), so check out their tips and then send them your movie!

They started off with some rather discouraging statistics: last year, there were over 4,000 feature films from around the world submitted, and only 121 of them were chosen. Of the 8,000+ short films submitted, only 66 screened at the Festival. “There’s always good stuff that we would love to play that we just don’t have room for,” Ogdie, who programs the shorts, admitted. In the shorts programs, for example, Ogdie explained that they try to go with at least 50% US-produced shorts, as they are an American festival, and that run time is definitely a factor. “Our official rule is under 50 minutes,” she said, “but it’s just a fact that the longer your short is, the harder it is to program.”

Both programmers explained the long process of selection, and you can rest assured, if you submit your film to Sundance, it will be viewed in its entirety and considered on equal footing with every other film there. Yutani broke down the features selection process: they send out the submissions to a highly pre-screened group of pre-screeners, from whom the team of nine programmers receives extensive coverage. “We all read the coverage of the films, even if they’re lower-rated, just to make sure nothing slips through the cracks,” she explained. “The worst thing that could possibly happen is that we don’t see a film or we pass on a film that then goes on to play at another festival and gets attention.” The team of nine shorts programmers split up the submissions, each watching about 1,000, and then watch each other’s top picks, compare notes and discuss. “We watch everything all the way through,” Ogdie assured us, “even all those 50-minute shorts, I watch every minute of them.”

Film Independent | Read the Full Article

Christopher Nolan on “Following” – Conversations Inside The Criterion Collection

Always interested in crime and justice, Christopher Nolan’s first film (a whole seven years before he made Batman Begins) is a curious black and white head-scratcher about a writer who, obsessed with following people, subsequently gets caught up in a life of crime.

In this interview, Nolan explains his key to success and ends up revealing many of the DIY filmmaking techniques he used to make Following.


Best/Worst-Marketed Films Of Summer 2014

Scott Mendelson picks the best and worst marketed films of the summer.


The Best: Godzilla (Time Warner, Inc.)

Warner Bros. tricked the entire entertainment industry into thinking that one of the biggest monsters in cinematic history was a box office underdog. Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla revamp actually sold fewer tickets in America and overseas than the alleged super-flop that is the 1998 Roland Emmerich version. But they expertly used the perception that Godzilla 1998 was a John Carter-level disaster to manage expectations for this next go-around. Oh, and they dropped a series of gorgeous and genuinely imposing trailers, which inspired genuine awe in general movie goers while giving away very little of the finished film.

The marketing campaign emphasized scale and large-scale destruction, while offering up Bryan Cranston as the apparent audience surrogate and apparent witness to Godzilla’s reign of carnage. Anticipation built throughout the spring and summer, to the point where a number of non-movie nerds whom I knew both asked me about my thoughts on it and expressed a desire to see it. Warner Bros. did all of this, building a very real anticipation and excitement, while mostly hiding the title character and very much hiding the existence of other monsters and several major plot beats. With the review embargo dropped just over a week before opening weekend, the mostly positive notices gave way to genuine excitement and anticipation, which resulted in a massive $93 million opening weekend.

So big was the debut weekend and so positive were most of the reviews that the film carried a perception of success even as it dropped like a rock in America and barely earned $200 million domestic. It is the lowest-grossing movie ever to open to $90m+ domestic, and it just barely crawled over the $500m mark worldwide. Now at a $165m budget, that’s a genuine success, but the relative indifference past opening weekend among the general public leaves the sequel’s box office future in doubt. Not only did Warner Bros. open their Godzilla movie to over $90m, they successfully managed expectations to where an even less-leggy run than Godzilla 1998 and less tickets sold was construed by most as an unmitigated triumph. Consider me impressed.

SNEAK PREVIEW – The Science and Engineering of Sound

We are hard at work cleaning up the sawdust on the new version of FilmmakerIQ – but in the mean time, we would like to share the second video in our Audio Series which is sponsored by RØDE Microphones. In this lesson we take a closer look at the science of sound and the basics of how microphones convert sound energy into electrical signals. We will also run through the different kinds of mics used in video and film production.



“THE FILM before THE FILM” is a short documentary that traces the evolution of title design through the history of film.
This short film was a research project at the BTK (Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule) that takes a look at pioneers like Saul Bass, Maurice Binder and Kyle Cooper by showing the transitions from early film credits to the inclusion of digital techniques, a resurgence of old-school style, and filmmakers’ love of typography in space.


A brief history of USB, what it replaced, and what has failed to replace it

It’s ubiquitous – the everyday USB  connector, here’s the history of this common data port came to be.


Like all technology, USB has evolved over time. Despite being a “Universal” Serial Bus, in its 18-or-so years on the market it has spawned multiple versions with different connection speeds and many, many types of cables.
The USB Implementers Forum, the group of companies that oversees the standard, is fully cognizant of this problem, which it wants to solve with a new type of cable dubbed Type-C. This plug is designed to replace USB Type-A and Type-B ports of all sizes on phones, tablets, computers, and other peripherals. Type-C will support the new, faster USB 3.1 spec with room to grow beyond that as bandwidth increases.

It’s possible that in a few years, USB Type-C will have become the norm, totally replacing the tangled nest of different cables that we all have balled up in our desk drawers. For now, it’s just another excuse to pass around that dog-eared XKCD comic about the proliferation of standards. While we wait to see whether Type-C will save us from cable hell or just contribute to it, let’s take a quick look at where USB has been over the years, what competing standards it has fought against, and what technologies it will continue to grapple with in the future.

Ars Technica | Read the Full Article

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