Sundance alum: Kirby Dick

Directors remember their first time

“When ‘Sick’ showed at Sundance (in 1997), I had no idea what would happen. I was worried that people were going to riot after the screening. They didn’t riot. In fact, I won the directing prize. That led to ‘Sick’ getting picked up by just about every other festival and then getting theatrical distribution. It was pretty amazing, but it’s an amazing show they run. They have set up a system that treats documentaries exactly like features — 16 docs, 16 features — they’re given the same weight, they’re presented equally. This has totally turned around the way people look at documentaries. I don’t know if you can say they’ve made the medium more financially viable, but without what happened to ‘Sick,’ then ‘Chain Camera’ wouldn’t have gotten made. Then ‘Chain Camera’ (competed at Sundance in 2001), and that helped with ‘Derrida.’ The festival has just supported me every step of the way. And again this year with ‘This Film Is Not Yet Rated.’ It’s about the MPAA — it’s going to be controversial. I’m really looking forward to the discussion afterwards; I think it’s going to shake things up. I guess it’s a testament of a documentary could actually make an impact – think about the people who would have to be in the room for that to be possible.

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