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Defining ‘indie’ for overseas market

Copywriter toils to explain to Euro audiences

You know what an “indie” is, and we know what is. But what about those who reside in the great fly-over?

They haven’t a clue, reports Michelle Novella, the copywriter on a couple of Sundance Channel ads just now making the rounds. (The consumer version breaks in the New York Times on June 7). And the fact that some indies are gaining mainstream success simply muddles matters.

Hence the objective of the 26-year-old ad scribe, who toils with same-aged art director Paul Olkowski at Soho-based Holland Advertising, to define the Sundance Channel and its product.

“After being forced to watch tons of award-winning Sundance movies while at work,” Novella says of the process, “and after the client gave in to our begging and sent us to the Sundance Film Festival, it dawned on us that what really connects today’s indie films is not a definition but a philosophy. It’s about ignoring rules, being unconventional and making films for passion, not profit.”

Certain to be of interest is whether or not Sundance’s new management shares this view. Tom Harbeck, the channel’s new creative director and EVP of programming, claims the positioning strategy is still in its “bouillabaisse phase — it hasn’t set yet” and that current executions are simply one-offs designed to “turn up the volume.”

“Well have a lot more to say in the fourth quarter,” he then promised, already sounding what Novella has taken to calling “Hollywoodesque.”