CMP led a group of members and friends on our inaugural trip to the opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 22-25. Our group had a fantastic time watching films, meeting filmmakers, and attending special events with representatives from all areas of the documentary film industry. Below are highlights of our weekend:
- Our weekend began with the Artist at the Table benefit event: beautiful mountain views at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, a delicious meal, and a great screening of the opening night premier, Liz Garbus's What Happened, Miss Simone?, introduced by Robert Redford and followed by a surprise performance of Nina Simone's songs by R&B singer John Legend.
- The filmmakers of the exciting and controversial documentary Hot Girls Wanted gave the CMP group a special presentation over brunch that included a discussion with an attorney working on legislative changes to the online pornography industry, input from a group of teen activists addressing sex education and health, and a behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaking process and decisions behind the documentary.
- Nick Fraser of BBC's Storyville and Mette Hoffman Meyer, head of documentaries at Danish Television, joined CMP for an intimate brunch where they introduced their newest initiative, Storyville Global/World Stories, which bundles important documentary films on a range of topics and offers them to foreign broadcasters in remote areas that typically have no access to documentaries. Their series of films through the WHY? initiative have been screened all over the world.
- Our final day included back-to-back conversations with Dan Cogan, co-founder of Impact Partners, and Tabitha Jackson, the new head of documentaries at the Sundance Institute. Each took time to explain their roles in the documentary community, assess the field today, and answer questions from CMP members. Dan and Tabitha will each be joining us for CMP Big Table Dinners in the spring of 2015 to continue these conversations with our general membership.
- In addition to the surprise performance by John Legend, members attended some special concerts in intimate settings: small performances by the Goo Goo Dolls, Common, Aloe Blacc, Erykah Badu and others popped up over the course of the weekend.
- The weekend was packed with events and parties, but of course CMP members had the chance to see some exciting new films in both the documentary and dramatic programs. Screenings included: The Bronze, Dreamcatcher, The End of the Tour, Hot Girls Wanted, How to Change the World, The Hunting Ground, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Mississippi Grind, Most Likely to Succeed, The Overnight, Tangerine, (T)error, and 3 1/2 Minutes. We're looking forward to sharing some of these films through special Chicago screenings in 2015.
- Two Good Pitch Chicago films received honors at the final awards ceremony: Dreamcatcher (GPC13 alum) won the directing award for World Cinema Documentary, and (T)error (coming to GPC15) won a Special Jury prize for Break Out First Feature in the U.S. Documentary category. Congrats to these two exceptional films!
Chicago Media Project is already looking forward to Sundance 2016! To join us for this and other specially curated experiences in documentary film, become a member or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.