Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sundance '12: Filmmaker / Industry Reflections

Simon Barrett (co-writer/segment producer, V/H/S)

Like many filmmakers, we went to Sundance with no idea of what to expect in terms of how audiences there would respond to our film, or if audiences would show up to see it at all. I think literally less than a dozen people had watched the finished movie before its premiere, so it was entirely untested, and we had allocated approximately $20 to our festival poster art. Ultimately, the movie was a success beyond my wildest expectations, but my fondest memory at Sundance isn’t the film’s premiere, acquisition, or much publicized audience fainting incident (that part was kind of stressful, actually), but the first moment I realized people were actually excited to see the movie we had made. I had just got off a city bus with the film’s main producer, Roxanne Benjamin, and we were standing miserably in the wind and snow trying to figure out where the hell Main Street was.


Two teenage boys randomly approached, politely gave me directions, and then one of them quickly added, “We’re really excited to see your movie, V/H/S. We don’t have tickets, but we’re trying to get them.” They then hurried off. I have no idea how they knew who I was, but that was the moment I started to feel confident in what we’d created. If random Park City teenagers wanted to see our film, then we were in good shape. I turned to Roxanne with a huge smile on my face; she, of course, was looking at a map on her phone and had missed the conversation completely.

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