Robert Redford announces Sundance Fest

MUMBAI: Sundance Institute has joined forces with the GSM Association (GSMA), whose members serve more than two billion mobile phone customers across the globe, to create the Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project, a pilot project that will showcase and extend the reach of the independent short film genre to mobile users worldwide.


Unveiled at a press conference in New York, the organisers of the Sundance Film Festival in conjunction with the GSMA, have commissioned six independent filmmakers to create five short films, crafted exclusively for mobile distribution. All of the filmmakers participating in the project have screened films at the annual Sundance Film Festival.


“Cell phones are fast becoming the ‘fourth screen’ medium, after television, cinema and computers. We feel this experiment embodies fully, our quarter-century dedication to exploring new platforms to support wider distribution of independent voices in filmmaking. We are excited about bringing this opportunity to independent filmmakers and most excited to see what they will do with it,” said Sundance Institute president and founder Robert Redford.


While cell phones have previously been used to deliver film and entertainment content, this pilot project is believed to be the first to commission high calibre independent filmmakers to create original stories specifically for the mobile environment. The project presents creative challenges to the filmmakers who will be working with a limited budget, time and resources to make a three – five minute film for a small mobile screen.


“The Global Short Film Project takes us into the realms of a uniquely intimate new medium, one which holds tremendous promise for maximising the impact and international reach of the short film genre, and in doing so serving the artists,” said John Cooper, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival and Creative Director for Sundance Institute, who will oversee the project.


Citing the experimental and groundbreaking nature of the collaboration, GSM Association chief marketing officer Bill Gajda said, “The emergence of mobile as the fourth screen is already changing the way people are educated and entertained. This project will explore the potential of the mobile medium to deliver compelling, cinematic entertainment to a global audience on an unprecedented scale.”


The six filmmakers featured in the Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project are Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow), Maria Maggenti (Puccini For Beginners), Cory McAbee (The American Astronaut) and Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way).


The Sundance Institute will exclusively premiere these completed short films on the opening day of the annual mobile event, the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona next year (12 – 15 February 2007). The event attracts more than 50,000 visitors annually from across the mobile value chain. The films will be available for cell phone download during the congress for attendees, and for broader distribution through mobile carriers immediately following the event.