The Sundance Film Festival occurs annually at in Park City, Utah with the intention of advancing independent storytelling in both film and theatre. Sundance has been, is, and always will be a special platform for filmmakers to finally get the exposure and recognition they deserve. These are some directors that made the jump through this iconic film festival, and it’s quite a shortlist.
In the simplest of words, Christopher Nolan has mastered the art of mindfucking; the guy has achieved tremendous success with his works of cinematic art. Nolan flirts with the idea of reality, making his films a race against time, body, mind with all that psychological manipulation. You could watch Memento right now 15 years after its release and have your minds tickled all over again. Nolan is a class-act, a timeless director and surprise, surprise – he didn’t even have the privilege to have started at Sundance Film Festival, instead, having humble beginnings at Slamdance, the cooler sibling of Sundance. His film Following premiered in 1996, clinching him the Black & White Award and a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize. He then got the attention of Hollywood and broke out of obscurity with Memento in 2001, and the famous Inception in 2010. That in itself deserves a standing ovation.
Tarantino is an oddball genius. The first movie of his I watched was Django Unchained in 2012, and I’ll admit that it is unacceptable, unforgivable, and probably punishable by law that I have lived so many years without watching any of his films. His first successful film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs, debuting his taste for blood and violence. He later released Pulp Fiction, won the Palme D’or at Cannes, and the rest, as they say, is history. Only Tarantino could so flawlessly and effortlessly add subtle elements of humour to something so disgustingly violent and make you love it so hard, you binge watch every other film he directed. He started at Sundance. Let that sink in.
THE COEN BROTHERS
The Coen Brothers debuted their film Blood Simple at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival, where they clinched the Grand Jury Award for dramatic film. This was crucial in the directional development of the brothers, who moved on to creating masterpieces such as No Country For Old Men. Long story short, it’s yet another Sundance story of launching directorial careers.
Wes Anderson’s short film Bottle Rocket premiered at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, and was later adapted into a full feature film. The 1993 premiere got the attention of James L Brooks who cultivated Anderson’s talent and skyrocketed him to fame. The Grand Budapest Hotel, anyone?
Remember those posts on tumblr that were going around displaying side-by-side comparisons of the hottest celebrities before they were famous and after they got famous? How they looked mediocre, ordinary, fat, or even ugly (if I’m gonna be honest here)? Then they showed you what they looked like now, completely new people that you want to be, or be in?
Sundance Film Festival does that to people. It showcases amazing filmmakers, gives them the medium to be discovered and appreciated and basically skyrockets them into fame spontaneously. If you’re into discovering something special before anyone else, keep track of the films premiering at the festival. More importantly, if you feel like you’re nothing, just remember that the most renowned people were once nothing too.