We just got back from Sundance 2016 and we’re still riding high. For the third year, we’ve been able to go to Park City and work with the Sundance Institute staff to train volunteers to use our Reach Engine platform so that the massive amount of content that’s generated can be turned around quickly and sent out to social and all media.
The Sundance Film Festival, which just concluded on January 31st, is one of the biggest challenges and highlights of the year for the Sundance Institute. The Institute is a long-term organization with a full time staff dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences.
During the two weeks of the festival some 60-thousand people descend on this tiny mountain ski town and take it over to see a wealth of almost 100 films, shorts and installations. The Institute, with 150 employees in Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City, swells to several thousand volunteers during the festival who do everything from logistics, to handling tickets to photographing every event, and pretty much all the activity surrounding the festival.
Just over three years ago, Sundance and Levels Beyond started working together because of timing and a bit of luck. They were looking for solutions to manage the Sundance Institute library of images, video and content in their archives. It was a great opportunity and a fantastic match for everything our company is about. It’s rare to get to work on a project where both sides are so aligned – we’re all incredibly passionate about storytelling and the independent film process.
Our work with the Sundance Institute extends well beyond the festival in support of their year round programs and activities. That means we try to stay on top of all the content they’re generating, shooting, working with, catching up on and digitizing. Reach Engine is about automating the process and mechanics of promotion and event content creation and content publishing. Our goal is to enable all of these creative artists to tell their stories and focus on their content so they don’t have to deal with file management, sharing files and organizing their content, transcoding and publishing.
Our partnership with the Sundance Institute has been a huge success and we’re still working to make it better. We are always listening to what our colleagues at Sundance have to say so we can build the tools they need to expand the experience to their audience. Behind the scenes, the Institute holds labs for directors, producers and writers and one of our goals in 2016 is to help the Institute capture more work in progress content and documentation of the artistic process.
My favorite thing at the festival is seeing things that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. This 2016 festival is about being at the forefront of the industry, forecasting and changing the landscape. What’s so awesome is that the storyteller cares enough to show up at the festival. We go to the festival and become part of the audience and there’s nothing like it. Whatever your tastes are, whatever weird combination of content you like, you can find it there. The thing I really love is the conversation you get to have with the artist/creator. You watch a film, and you’re stewing on it, and wondering ‘did it connect with me?’ Five minutes later the director walks up and the actors go on stage and as they’re talking about their experience you suddenly realize, ‘I love that film.’
Swiss Army Man is a perfect example. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen, but I heard so many people talking about it afterwards and when the team came up to talk about it in the Q/A, I realized how cool it was that something that weird can be created and find an audience.
My top pick of the Festival would be Miles Ahead, and what a thrill to see actor/director Don Cheadle and the others involved in the project talk about why they did this movie about Miles Davis.
Love and Friendship, a period piece, was f@#%ing hilarious! My wife, Nicole, is into period pieces and Kate Beckinsale was awesome. The writing was incredible.
And Certain Women, telling a story with as few lines of dialogue as possible felt so real. I don’t think I would have appreciated it without the Q/A.
This was the perfect opportunity for us all to come together to support independent storytelling and get those stories out. Sundance is at the epicenter and we are proud to be the technology that’s helping to make it all easier.