“The secret magic of (Sundance) film festivals is that they offer audiences direct communication with the artist,” so says Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth. And, oh how right he is.
I have been going to Sundance Film Festivals for 15 years. Some years are good, some years are even better, but what are always great are the Q & A sessions with people directly involved in a film immediately following a screening.
Unfortunately these Q & A sessions are rarely made public. So, if you can’t make it to Park City for ten days in January, you probably won’t get the inside scoop or see “the secret magic”.
And that got me to thinking…what if I could publish the Q & A’s? I’ve got an iPhone. I’ve been recording the Q & A’s for years. What if I published them at In an Irish Home? And so, for two weeks that’s what I’ve been trying to do! At first, I tried to upload them directly to my WordPress blog but, for whatever reason, it just wouldn’t work. Then, I set up a YouTube channel and gave that a go. It took several tries…but at long last…it’s done.
For the record, Q & A’s are sometimes serious, sometimes funny…above all, they are always informative. Their format is as follows: after the credits, a Sundance Programmer comes to the stage and introduces the director, producer, actors, cinematographer, etc. of the film just viewed. The Programmer asks one or two questions and then turns the questioning over to the audience.
In all, a Q & A last about 15-20 minutes. It seems a really short time, but, those 15-20 minutes can make the difference between an audience leaving a screening with a good feeling (which can elevate a film’s impact in the wider public) or a bad one (which will have the exact opposite effect).
I was fortunate to attend five or six films this year that were followed by Q & A’s, including one for the Irish-Cuban film Viva. Director Paddy Breathnach and Irish producer Rob Walpole answered questions candidly. It was fascinating to learn things like 1) how many years it took to make Viva; 2) what it was like to direct actors who spoke a different language; 3) how hard it was to find financial backers to support the project; and 4) how the wonderful music in the film almost did not make it into the movie.
So, for the first time ever, I’m delighted to bring you behind the scenes at Sundance 2016 with the Q & A from Viva!
Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:
* Viva nominated for an Oscar in 2016.
** How to do a film festival Q & A.
*** Watch the Viva trailer here.
**** Viva is the closing gala event at this year’s Dublin Film Festival (Feb 28th). To buy tickets visit here.