FROM SUNDANCE TO ROTTERDAM TO...?
by Visra Vichit-Vadakan
Once a year, Park City is transformed into a bustling film hub. It's hard to imagine that this sleepy ski town could be transformed into a star-studded show down with film screenings, art installations, industry workshops, and of course- parties starting early in the day and ending early in the morning.
For a film student studying in the United States, Sundance Film Festival is the Holy Grail of film festivals. Over 9.000 films are considered for the 250 slots for short films and feature films screened during one week in January. Sundance 2010 was my first Sundance experience. I was the actress in a short film, "The Visitors", that was selected to screen alongside 5 other shorts during the festival.
At the festival, I was mostly interested to learn about the network of support that Sundance Film Festival created for the young and upcoming filmmakers attending. Most helpful were the daily workshops on various aspects of the business and future of filmmaking that the festival held at large venues scattered throughout the city. Apart from the film festival, the Sundance Institute also supports young emerging filmmakers through writing workshops, directing workshops, and finding funding for feature films.
After Sundance, I flew to the Netherlands for the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).
IFFR was established in 1972 and has a rich history of supporting young filmmakers through various funds and grants but also by connecting them to the right industry people. To this day, they remain one of the largest film festivals in Europe that focuses on emerging talent.
The festival was incredibly supportive of its filmmakers. Apart from the workshops similar to the ones that Sundance Film Festival offered, IFFR scheduled meetings for us with industry professionals who acted as mentors for us throughout the festival.
As a Reynolds Fellow, I am interested in starting a network of support for your emerging artists in Thailand and Southeast Asia and I am considering starting a mentoring program that could expand into an event based showcase similar to a film festival that would springboard young careers and connect them to potential business partners and funders.