The Sundance Film Festival Director, John Cooper, shared some of the new things happening at the festival and a few festival challenges—the loss of a screening theater due to renovation and those “bush-whackers”. His transparency is an asset to the organization because it gives us a peek into his enormous job that requires a realistic evaluation of each festival. Growth happens if one learns from their mistakes. He tells the press (with pride) that there are more documentaries being presented than any previous festival year and adds that the they are leaning into online line media pretty heavily this year tapping into a wider audience with live streaming, social medias like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube (showing a number of the short film programs) and expanding the Sundance film Festival USA.
The USA expansion across the country uses nine films located in nine cities. The list of films and cities are as follows: Ann Arbor, MI – Win Win; Brookline, MA – My Idiot Brother; Brooklyn, NY – Kaboom; Chicago, IL -- The Music Never Stopped; Los Angeles, CA -- The Details; Madison, WI – Like Crazy; Nashville, TN – Letters from the Big Man; San Francisco, CA – An Autobiography about Love, Death and Technology; Seattle, WA – Cedar Rapids.
All the films will be shown on the same night, January 27th, and will be accompanied with a Q & A after the film with the film’s director. The filmmakers will be flown from Utah to the city their film will debut. The USA event is one of the ways in which the Festival has worked hard to address the age old concern of whether or not the Sundance films could gain more exposure. It would not have happened without Cooper’s vision and commitment to grow a Sundance audience; but, not without the support of the various art houses around the country or the extended sponsorship from Southwestern Airlines and Chase Bank.