Outside the gaze of the media, removed from the screenings and the frantic buying and selling, a parallel Sundance brings together tech companies and artisans who sample the latest tools that can enhance their craft. The Park City festival has long relied on a wide array of sponsors to help finance the event, and since filmmaking has always required technology to create its finished product, hardware and software companies find the Utah mountains fertile ground for reaching many of their customers. Here are the plans of just four of the many companies participating at this year’s fest that help fuel the independent film community behind the scenes.
For 25 years, Adobe has been a Sundance supporter, and the company’s Premiere Pro software is the festival’s officially recognized editing tool. This year the sponsor’s lineup of digital and live activities includes a filmmaker panel with directors David Lowery, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, and Jennifer Phang; a Facebook Live filmmaker series; a YouTube on-demand channel that dives deep into the use of Adobe’s Creative Cloud technology; and an Art of Editing lunch with editor Lewis Erskine.
Canon Creative Studio will hold hands-on workshops and showcase a headshot portrait studio and daily live panels in partnership with IndieWire. Also on display: a new partnership with IMDb Pro that instantly uploads newly taken portraits and attaches them to online profiles. Tim Smith, Canon’s senior advisor for film and TV production, says Sundance is the best event for the company to connect with filmmakers. This year, visitors to the company’s Main Street lounge will be able to tinker with Canon’s Cinema EOS line, the new(ish) ME20F-SH multi-purpose camera, and more than a dozen other camera models and lenses.
Jaunt is setting up shop on Main Street, where the public can experience its virtual-reality offerings. Visitors can strap on a Samsung headset and take in immersive content; filmmakers will be able to handle the Jaunt One VR camera; and editors can try out Jaunt Cloud Services to stitch, edit, and render footage. “We’re a team of artists, producers, and directors who are indie filmmakers ourselves,” says head of content Tom Vance. “It’s in our DNA.”
Since the launch of their partnership in 2011, Sundance and Kickstarter have teamed up to support more than 400 crowd fundraisers and audience-building events. This year, 40 alumni are attending, including filmmakers Terence Nance, Gillian Robespierre, Pamela Yates, Stanley Nelson, and Dee Rees. The company’s new team — director of documentaries Liz Cook and director of narratives Elise McCave — will be on hand to chat up filmmakers. Kickstarter will also host parties and dinners and produce a series of podcasts.