The Sundance Diaries: You Miss Much More If You Win

This is one in a series of posts for HuffPost Culture's "The Sundance Diaries," a month-long multimedia diary kept by the international filmmakers whose 64 short films were selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Jan. 27, 2012

So firstly - boo hoo hoo. I'm not going to Sundance. Whaa whaa the big baby cries.
Being chronically short sighted I never considered the need to book ahead. Being busy I thought I'd wait and see how work panned out before committing myself. Now listening to the tales of people who have 'luckily' managed to rent half a sofa for the week I fear the opportunity may have passed. I've comforted myself in the thought that I might get to go out there again when I next make a film, but the rate it takes to get an independent animated short done (well, the ones I make anyway), it might be quite a while.

Don't worry; I've been kept abreast of what's going on out there. Jill Soloway and Fred Casella, who are in the same program as I, were beautiful enough to email me and try to organise a Program 1 wonder-bus for us all to go out to Robert Redford's ranch for a film makers brunch. The thought of missing such a snazzy late breakfast filled me with regret, especially as London is currently grey, drizzly and germ spreadingly warm; but mostly it was the brief inclusion in the joy and camaraderie that seems to spread amongst filmmakers at festivals.

Again I don't know about feature film festivals, but the experience I have of short film festivals are that it induces a rather lovely sense of community amongst the directors who have usually travelled far and wide to attend. I think it's to do with love, yes love baby! As far as I can tell no one seems to make a short film for financial gain - to make a quick buck. There's no mad eyed money man at a giant gleaming golden abacus totting up the prospective profit margin of this new fifteen minute blockbuster. There might be some sort of investment in developing emerging talent through short film, in the form of a limited budget, but mostly the herculean task of making one of these little critters is with your own money or your own time, or both; and I suppose you do that because you love it so much. Whether it's to do with kudos, a first step towards bigger things, or an inexplicable need to entertain or engage people for just a few minutes, all of it is done with passion. Yeah passion baby!

So when an invite arrives asking you and an equally thrilled number of directors to get together for a festival, there always seems to be a heady mix of relief, excitement and a genuine shared interest that enables everyone to get along so well, and I've missed it! What a Muppet. I bet some people have walked, dodged an avalanche, sacrificed a limb to a hungry wolf, and then finally crawled on their raw and freezing bellies to get to Sundance. Well I salute you, and your now racked and ruined torso.


Yet while I've had comfort, I have also been inflicted with great envy. Its one thing to miss the buzz and the love, yeah love baby, that envelopes a rip roaring festival, but I now realise you miss it that much more if you win. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic and in no way complaining. You should have seen me jumping around my bedroom at 7 o'clock in the morning in my unsightly and soon to be soiled boxer shorts after being texted by my producer saying we'd won at Sundance. Still, I'd much rather have been jumping up and down in Park City next to host and hero Mike Judge (Although he might not have been too happy, what with the state of my underpants).

Anyway, thanks very much to Sundance for the award, and congratulations to everyone else; a special nod and a wink to Kibwe Tavares for making it all the way from my locale in Sarf London.

I hope you all have a wonderful last weekend you lucky, intrepid and beautiful people.

WATCH a preview for Orchard's "A Morning Stroll" below: