About Sundance Film Festival: Why It Matters

Sundance’s mission: “After Robert Redford bought as much land as he could to preserve it from development, he ultimately welcomed fellow artists to the place to experience its power.  There, collectively, they made a commitment to free expression, creative experimentation and to cultivating and promoting original thinking independent of common commercial pressure.  They called the place, and their mission, SUNDANCE.”

The HV mission: Is to create a collaborative think tank to inspire and educate filmmakers globally with practical storytelling techniques to improve their speed, expand their creativity and make them more marketable in the entertainment industry.

The pilgrimage to a small town in the Utah mountains has been going on for years. With creativity and wonderful storytelling, the Sundance Film Festival has grown to be the place to see new talent, to acquire films, meet and greet industry insiders and just enjoy the love of filmmaking.  I have been going every other year for about 12 years and it is a source of creative inspiration for me. Connecting with artists that choose the path of original stories, experimentation and just plain independent thinking and not CGI and flash bang is where my head space is.

Snowy Park City, Utah. Image Courtesy of chichi212.com

Snowy Park City, Utah. Image Courtesy of chichi212.com

The parties are epic; the wine and drinks flow and the networking I find is a wonderful time to catch up with many of my directors, colleagues, producers and close friends that make the journey from all over the world.

Maurice Marable

Maurice Marable

Maurice Marable

This man is a creative force.  The brains behind the incredibly visual Six Feet Under, Entourage, Carnival and Boardwalk Empire promos.  Maurice and I have worked together for 14 years now  shooting promos and commercials and I have to say he is an inspiration to me and a wonderful collaborator.  You can always spot him in the crowd with his signature hat.

Greg Haggart

Producer extraordinaire.  Greg and I met on “Act of Valor.”  He was the line producer on the film and from there, we have done about 25 commercials together.  He has been my producer when I direct as well. This man knows how to produce DSLR’s.  He can get money from a stone.  A labor of love for both of us was Po Chan’s film “The Last 3 Minutes”. Greg used his incredible skills to bring Po’s story to life on a very limited budget.  I plan on seeing a couple of films with him by my side, along with many glasses of wine.

Jacob Rosenberg

Me with Jacob Rosenberg, Sundance 2012

Me with Jacob Rosenberg, Sundance 2012

Post production genius, talented filmmaker. He helms at Bandito Brothers, along with Scotty Waugh and Mouse McCoy, the directors of Act of Valor. Jacob and I have been collaborating for about three years now on many projects and he is one of the reasons AOV looks so good.  His post work flow on this movie will become the benchmark for all DCP prints in the future. Trail blazer, post innovator.

 Steven Poster

With Steven Poster at Sundance

With Steven Poster at Sundance

Head of the Local 600 union. Amazingly talented cinematographer, still photographer, visionary leader and a good friend. This man donates tons of his time to lead a union that he believes in. He unites and inspires thousands. Thank you for all that you do for us and our families. Your hard work never goes unnoticed. We met on 1/19 to show him our new MCS (Master Cinema Series) gear platform for the Canon C300 before he headed up to Park City. Steven and I have had long discussions about the power of the DSLR platform in feature films along with Canon’s wonderful color space and sensor technology. Great conversations, amazing stories, just an incredible filmmaker.

Make a difference, believe in yourself and bring your story to life.  These are the things that I always seem to take away from the Sundance Film Festival.  It fuels me and gives me the ability to never get comfortable and always ready to veer.

  1. Lliam Worthington 4 years ago

    Cool :) I’ve been reading a few cynical thoughts about Sundance of late. NIce to get back to the spirit of it all and celebrate it. What an amazing world and time period we live in that we even have the luxury of being professional story tellers and artists. Healthy to stay grateful. Thanks as always for a great post Shane.



  2. Stan Evans 4 years ago

    Hey Shane! It was a pleasure running into you and your wife at Sundance. Your love and enthusiasm for film making is infectious. Thanks for sharing it with me.


    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Stan Evans, It was great meeting you as well. I love what I do and I love to show it. Hope to see you again next year.

  3. Andy Buys 4 years ago


    I was told that I just barely missed meeting you at the festival! I guess you had a conversation with Ricky from the Utah Film Commission before I arrived. I’ve followed your blog and work for sometime now, and it would have been awesome to meet the man and legend behind it all! Oh well. I recently did a couple spots for the film commission (http://youtu.be/gC6WTtpG2CU?hd=1) using the 5dii and used many tips and techniques you write about here.

    Anyways, thanks for being willing to share and talk about what you do online. I wish more top cinematographers did the same.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Andy Buys, I am so sad that we missed each other. Looking forward to getting back to Utah sooner than later. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I look at it this way. I am very transparent. What you see is what you get. I give of my knowledge freely and love educating. Thank you for noticing. I will check your spots out.

      • Andy Buys 4 years ago

        Thanks Shane! Next time for sure!

  4. KahL 4 years ago

    This is just completely beautiful, Shane. So many talented folks all in one place.

    I’ll most definitely see you guys there next year. Possibly even with a film or two to show for it :)

    Oh and BTW, thank you also for contributed your mind and practices to us all via your site. I ended up going to a lighting workshop here in NYC and didn’t realize just how far ahead of the game I was coming from your school of thought. Even landed a friend who I’m collaborating with now on another short and music video.

    Truly a mentor you are, my friend. Even from afar.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      KahL, Sundance was awesome this year. Great people and opportunities to boot. That is great news that you rocked it out at the lighting workshop. I will continue to give of my knowledge and experience. Keep crackin’ out there.

  5. Ron 4 years ago
  6. Oli Kember 4 years ago

    Great stuff. I’d love to go one year. Thanks.

  7. Ron 4 years ago

    In case people didn’t see this pertaining to ACT OF VALOR – Shane and crew could have eaten a stray bullet. Real bullets used.

    Let’s all support Shane and spread the word about Act of Valor. That’s the least we could do for all his good will. Cheers.

  8. David Eger 4 years ago

    Your take on the festival is very refreshing. Steven Poster is awesome. I remember when I was in college talking to him via chat. It was really nice to find such a talented guy who was as approachable as he is. Not many shooters would take the time to go back and forth with a student at that time. The man is a gem.

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