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Free Fail: A Day in the Life of Failure
by Karen Pecota

The festival celebrating its 30th Anniversary humbly acknowledges that without episodes of failure the Sundance Film Festival would not be what it is today. Not only a work in progress, but a successful one.

The festival theme for a day called Free Fail: A Day in the Life of Failure celebrated failure. The events were designed to embrace failure as essential to risk-taking, innovation, and the creative process.

For one whole day the festival featured a variety of panels, films and workshops sharing experiences of what failure looked like. In addition to the experiences shared several tips, guidelines and discussions transpired dissecting valuable information.

Director, John Cooper of the Sundance Film Festival shares that while his team of skilled festival programmers have developed their intuitions over three decades to find the films that represent the year's most original stories, they are not perfect. They miss it sometimes. Pride goeth before a fall in many cases. Thus an ironically comedic question posed by Copper, "Who Me? Fail?"

In a reminiscent state, Copper recalls one of his festival pho-pas, "In 1994 we showed the short film Bottle Rocket, directed by then up-and-coming filmmaker Wes Anderson. When the feature was submitted to the Festival a few years later, we passed." Smiling he adds, "We were wrong! The film was beloved by many and launched the careers of Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson." Cooper apologetic and grateful, "As a part of Free Fail, I'm happy for the opportunity to right this wrong. My humble thanks to Mr. Anderson for condoning the screening of his 1994 feature film Bottle Rocket."  A one-time showing aired during the Free Fail day celebration. Luke Wilson was present to open the film.