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Focus Forward Imagin8ion at Sundance 2012
by Karen Pecota

Two skillfully creative film media groups have their product debut at Sundance Film Festival 2012. For each of them, it was the beginning of a year-long film festival tour showing off their wares. The two groups specifically showcase in the short film media program. The two groups support and collaborate with the independent artist in film, artwork, and photography giving credence for their presence at Sundance. Their projects attract a wide-range audience that has the potential to keep a steady but growing fan base for each media outlet. This is the first time either media group has presented their creativity at Sundance. Here below is the message of each group:

Focus Forward: Sponsored by GE and Cinelan five of their new 3-minute film series repertoire was a selection in the Sundance Shorts program. It is possible that the 3-minute shorts will be used in connection with TV/Online Media commercials. “Focus Forward is an unprecedented new series of 30 three-minute stories about innovative people who are reshaping the world through act or invention, directed by the world\'s most celebrated documentary filmmakers.” The idea is to quicken an emotional connection to a product or service. Several of films use humor because laughter is medicine for the soul, right?  But, on a more serious note, the 3-minute called Heart Stop Beating is described by the director Jeremiah Zagar (In a Dream), “I tell the story of Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier, two visionary doctors from the Texas Heart Institute who in March 2011 successfully replaced a dying man’s heart with a ‘continuous flow’ device they developed, proving that life was possible without a pulse or a heartbeat.”

My favorite is The Bionic Eye from director Steven Cantor. This short is by far the goriest due the visuals of a real eye under the knife. The possibility of using in depth medical technology to replace something broken is thrilling. It is so cool to think that our God-made human bodies could actually undergo physical enhancements with futuristic b ionic systems. The bionic man or woman will be a reality. Wow!

My husband, Steve, currently suffers daily from corrective laser eye surgery gone badly.  The surgery was two years ago. Steve was of the population known as, the less than 1% that should not have had the corrective surgery--unbeknown to him, of course. Not a day goes by that he does not feel badly about his decision to enhance his initially poor vision. His story is long and sad especially since he needs his eyes for his study and research job. After screening the bionic eye short, I was so excited to relay to him that one day he will be able to have bionic eyes. I explained the whole concept with overwhelming enthusiasm. Wiry of just the thought of trying one more time to make a mistake right,  he sadly looked at me, similar to a deer in the head lights, and told me I was crazy! Ha Ha Ha...well, I am not going to give in to his response because the amazing 3-minute short on making bionic eyes will be remembered and I will believe that my guy could be the first to get those bionic eyes.

Project Imagin8ion: CANON, Inc. and filmmaker/actor, Ron Howard collaborated on a short feature film that was made from eight still photographs. The eight stills represented one of these topics: setting, time, character, mood, relationship, goal, obstacle, and unknown. The eight stills were winners (see website below for stills) from an online photography contest that CANON and Howard put together. He says, “We’re all creative and we are making a film inspired by your photos. What will you inspire?” Howard is all about giving back to the community. His plan consisted of using artists of photography (like you and me) to submit their creative work in hopes a win of their (our) photography would be used in a short film. That would be the prize, right? Right! Everyone likes a little notoriety for their art. The online contest lasted for a few weeks allowing people to submit different shots in a variety of categories. One winner for each category was selected. The eight winning photography stills were handed off to a screenwriter for the narrative. Once the narrative was complete and the cast and crew assigned the filming began. Howard invited his daughter, filmmaker Bryce Dallas Howard to direct the piece. Her expertise in filming and acting was invaluable to the project. The film, when you find me, was exceptionally made. Once the concept is understood the reality of this film is truly a piece of art.

This remarkable first time endeavor created so much buzz and success that the second Imaginat10on project will be complete at the end of 2012. I'm looking forward to seeing it in 2013 and hopeful that its first tour will be at Sundance 2013. I had the privilege to submit some of my photography and though my submissions were not selected this time around I will not give up. The opportunity to submit my photography is always thrilling and one more chance to learn from others and continue to work on my creative abilities and talents.