Film Festival Survival Guide

Sundance

Q&A Session after screening of the film Linsanity

It’s not every day that I find myself attending a film festival that is as prestigious such as Sundance, but when I do I like to make sure I come absolutely prepared. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time, the key to making any film festival work in your favor is to make it look like you know what you’re doing. You want to give off the impression that you know film like David Oreck knows vacuums. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of your film festivities.

1. Wear tight pants: For the ladies this is a walk in the park but it might take some getting used to for the guys, but trust me, anyone who knows anyone at a film festival shows off the slim cut. Nobody ever looks at a guy with baggy pants and thinks, “hmm… I bet he’s directed a movie or two.” But if the guys has tight pants… well… (You know you’ve done this.)

2. Wear festive sweaters: We all know that the more extreme conditions that a film festival is put in, the bigger success it will be (i.e. atop a mountain in Utah during the month of January). If it’s going to be cold, dress warm. But don’t just dress warm, look good while doing it. Thankfully if you forgot one, they have plenty of shops where you can pay way too much for a sweater that looks like you found it in a back-alley dumpster.

3. Wear dark-rim glasses: What better way for you to prove to other filmmakers that you do in fact possess the intellectual yet artistic personality that makes you such a great filmmaker. It’s amazing what a pair of RayBan’s will do.

4. Never take a shower or comb your hair: The last thing you want to do is give off the impression that you enough time to care for personal hygiene. No! You where busy all last night and this morning editing a video that needed to be sent off to your director in LA as soon as possible.

5. Starve yourself a few weeks before the festival: This way you can prove to the rest of the world that you, indeed, are a starving filmmaker. You want to get your cheeks good and sunken in before you even step foot onto festival grounds. Who knows, maybe someone will feel sorry for you and give you a million dollars to start your next project. It could happen.

6. NEVER carry a camera: The last thing you want to do is give off the impression that you are there as a tourist. You are at the festival only for business and networking purposes. You don’t have time for trivialities like picture taking. At the very most, use your camera phone and be discrete. After taking the picture with your phone, put it up to your ear and say these words, “Hello. Oh hey Jim! No I’m only here for the day. I fly out tomorrow for a shoot in Arizona. Yeah I’ll be there tonight! Love to get together with you and discuss the next project. sounds good! talk to you later.” Everyone within earshot of you will know that you mean business.

These are only a few tips and tricks you can use to get you noticed at your next film festival. You’ll be handing out business cards like a blackjack dealer in Vegas.

Now, completely turning around 180 degrees… It’s time to get serious…

It was a great to be able to get a chance to experience everything that this festival has to offer, but I think what makes this experience even better is the group of people I get to enjoy it with. Sharing the joys of movies with a community of believers gives a completely new and fresh perspective to the whole world of cinematic arts. It has been great to not only be able to watch the films featured at Sundance, but to process them through a Christian lens. Even though it is only our first real day at the festival, we have already taken part in numerous group discussions about what we saw, how each of us perceived the film, and how it affects us living out our faith among the community of believers.

This morning we watched a movie about the NBA star Jeremy Lin. The Documentary talked about how Lin, through his faith in God, overcame adversity and racism to become an incredibly influential player in the sport of basketball. It was great to be able to discuss how that film impacted us. We all came away with something different.

There is truly no better way to spend a week-long film festival than with other believers who not only love the art of film making, but more importantly, who have a passion to see Christ glorified through the art.

I Cor. 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of Christ.” Film making is just one area of our lives in which we can give the glory to God and it has been an amazing journey to see this played out this week at Sundance.

-Mike Niedermeyer

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