Sundance alum: Nicole Holofcener

Directors remember their first time

“I had workshopped ‘Walking and Talking’ at Sundance, so getting in wasn’t much of a surprise. Your film would have to be pretty bad to get workshopped there and not make it into the festival. But the premiere — that was kind of a different story. We got there hours late. We had to charter a private plane and fly through a storm, risking our lives to get the print to the projectionist. It was such a travail that a part of me figured that after all that, I’d get to be president. I was a nervous wreck. I figured if I didn’t get a standing ovation, then my career was over. I didn’t get the ovation, but afterwards Brooke Shields came up to me in tears. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, a famous person liked my movie.’ That was a relief. Then when it sold to Miramax — I didn’t expect it to sell so quickly — that was a bigger relief. Selling your first film at Sundance is like the holy grail to an unsuccessful filmmaker. Pretty quickly afterwards, I figured out there was no holy grails, just stones to step on that hopefully lead you in the right direction.”

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