Indie Film Hustle® Podcast: Filmmaking | Screenwriting | Cinematography | Film School | Film Production | Independent Film

IFH 282: So You Didn’t Get Into Sundance…Neither Did I

November 29, 2018

Well, it's that time of year again when filmmakers around the world get that dreaded rejection letter from the Sundance Film Festival. Below is my rejection email:

RE:  On the Corner of Ego and Desire

Dear Alex,

On behalf of the entire Programming team for the Sundance Film Festival, thank you for allowing us to consider your film for the 2019 edition of the Festival. Unfortunately, we were unable to include it in our program this year. Ultimately, we are forced to make many difficult decisions throughout our process, and we consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to view the latest work from the independent creative community.

We received a record number of submissions this year (over 14,200), and the number of worthy projects submitted to us is far higher than the number of slots available in our Festival program. The level of quality displayed in the projects we receive is higher each and every year, so it is never an easy process. We wish you the best of luck with your film going forward and we are excited see more of your work in the future.

Sincerely,

John Cooper Director, Sundance Film Festival

Did you read that, 14,200 submissions? Getting into Sundance is a lottery ticket for sure but it isn't as important as it used to be. Here's what Mark Duplass wrote about it:

Annual Sundance Film Festival rejection reminder: Sundance is awesome, but Sundance is not everything. So many incredible films don't make the cut. Don't let it get you down. If you believe in your film, keep pushing forward. There are so many new ways to get it there. Good luck! - Mark Duplass

My indie films have played in over 500 international film festival around the world and it has been a great experience and I've even been in a few big festivals like Raindance and Cinequest. I've also been rejected by EVERY major film festival in the world. SXSW, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, AFI and the list goes on.

Film festivals are great. I loved them so much my recent film, which got that Sundance rejection email,  On the Corner of Ego and Desire, was a love letter to film festivals, Sundance and Independent filmmakers everywhere.

You have to understand that film festivals are not the only way to get your films out there anymore. Sure, getting into Sundance would be AMAZING but alas it wasn't meant to be and you know what...it's OK. This should stop you from moving forward on your filmmaking journey. Festivals are run by people with tastes and opinions. Those tastes might not be in line with your tastes and that's OK.

Maybe you made an amazing film but there were three other films about the same subject so they had to flip a coin. I decided to make this episode as a therapy session for any filmmaker who has been rejected from Sundance or any film festivals.

I hope it helps. KEEP ON HUSTLIN' NO MATTER WHAT! Keep that dream ALIVE.