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Sundance Film Festival Launches Talent Forum for Indie Creators

The Sundance Film Festival is launching a new program to offer industry mentoring to under-represented and indie creators, the festival announced Tuesday.

Based out of Park City, Utah’s Kimball Art Center, the program will include focused mentoring for filmmakers, writers, producers, and beyond, as well as keynote events with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and a conversation with top nonfiction filmmakers about a banner 2018 for docs.

“We’re eager to unfold this first edition and convene our vibrant community. While the Institute continues to encourage artists to find their voices, it takes the dedicated support of our industry colleagues to carry those voices out into the world,” said the Sundance Institute’s Anne Lai, Caroline Libresco, and John Nein in a joint statement.

The forum is an expansion of programming at the nonprofit institute. Members of the group’s signature artist development labs and fellowships will showcase new work to industry attendees, alongside a special artist-only program of keynotes, screenings, gatherings, and seminars. It’s set to run from Jan. 29 through Jan. 31. One-on-one meetings will be set with the emerging talent to discuss creative development, packaging, financing, and distribution.

The inaugural keynotes include:

Filmmaker Ryan Coogler in Conversation with New York Times Journalist Jenna Wortham

New York Times journalist and Still Processing podcaster Jenna Wortham talks with writer-director Ryan Coogler about his creative process, storytelling vision, and trajectory– as he journeyed from emerging Sundance Lab Fellow with his first feature Fruitvale Station to making Black Panther in just a few short years.

The Year that Was: Creative Freedom and the Golden Age of Non-Fiction Cinema

We’ve called it a renaissance for a while, but 2018 was a Golden Year amidst a Golden Age. It was the year docs seemed to be on people’s minds, on Barack Obama’s favorite films list, celebrated widely in theaters and across numerous platforms, and talked about at water coolers. Join filmmakers Morgan Neville (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”), Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (“Free Solo”), Alexandria Bombach (“On Her Shoulders”), along with acclaimed documentarian Jeff Orlowski (“Chasing Coral)” in an exploration of the bold, cinematic storytelling that is fueling a zeitgeist moment.

Additional programming includes:

 Roundtables & Workshops

Breaking In: Commercial and Branded Content Workshop for Underrepresented Independent Filmmakers Moderator Alma Har’el, founder of Free the Bid and director of US Dramatic Competition entry Honeyboy, leads a workshop with players from all aspects of the creative advertising ecosystem to explore new developments and opportunities that can benefit independent artists.

Breaking Down the Walls: How Intrepid Artists Are Reaching Audiences Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative will host a panel featuring artists from various disciplines who have successfully navigated outside-the-box marketing and distribution strategies.

Little Ethiopia: Story Development as Live Performance Little Ethiopia spotlights the unique take of editors Maya Hawke and Joe Bini (You Were Never Really Here, American Honey, Grizzly Man) on the story development process. This live film performance combines personal photographs and iPhone videos with clips from films they have edited alongside their live narration. Together they explore the edges of personal filmmaking.

Closing Night Party Opening set curated by Sundance Institute Film Music Program, featuring alumni Carla Patullo (2018) and Kathryn Bostic (2013).

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