….that is the question.
After a talk with one of my inspiring indie film friends, I went crazy and booked a hotel room for four at Sundance in Park City at $289/night. Of course, I can still cancel the reservation in the next two weeks so there’s really no risk to me just yet. But I figured I can recruit three other crazies to drive in my black Prius, split gas, split the hotel room and dive into the nexus of the film festival world for under $500 bucks. I already have a lead on one or two potential Prius-Riders (it’s hard to feel gangsta in a Prius, but still, I think I’ll manage to feel a little gangsta).
The question is, is this worth my time and money? I’m leaning “yes” for a couple reasons.
I had planned to hold a reading of the polished screenplay for investors and industry on January 16th. Well, I might lose some folks due to Sundance on that date and might gain some folks after the festival by moving that to around February 5th, 6th or 7th. (My friend suggested other industry folks might be at their “high point” of interest in indie film right after a successful festival). If all my prep work was headed towards a date that wasn’t ideal, maybe I ought to work with the calendar instead of fighting it. And if I do attend Sundance, I’d have the reading – an upcoming event – to invite people who showed interest in me or the film.
Also, I had previously thought it was better to attend a film festival only after you’ve had a film accepted into that festival. My friend convinced me that this might not be the right approach. After all, selection to Sundance is very rare and political, so there’s no shame in not having a film there…just yet. Plus, a Sundance experience might connect me to other interesting filmmakers and film-lovers and provide a sort of energetic push for the project. While I certainly don’t plan to give Park City the “hard sell” on ‘Inside-Out, Outside-In,’ a few new friendships are worth a lot over the course of a career and Sundance at least provides an opportunity – and one OUTSIDE the established power structure of L.A. – to make connections and to be exposed to new ideas and talent. In a sense, everyone there is at least committed enough to filmmaking to travel some distance. So that’s promising in and of itself.
Plus, I’ve never done Sundance and maybe it’s just that time. Maybe this year is the year the itch becomes a scratch and that’s okay.
Will Sundance be worth it? I don’t know, but Hamlet ended up killing himself and his family after bemoaning an existential question, so I’m not gonna take his example and second guess too much. I guess “To Sundance” it is….
Hunter Lee Hughes is a filmmaker and actor living and working in Los Angeles and the founder of Fatelink. His current feature film Guys Reading Poems is touring film festivals and this blog is dedicated to the process of making his second feature film, “Inside-Out, Outside-In.” If you enjoy the blog, please support our team by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@Fatelink) or Instagram (@Fatelink).