Geoff Gilmore at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Photo by Eric Kohn.
Mike Jones raises some interesting questions in his analysis of Geoff Gilmore's radical decision to move from his position as Sundance director to Chief Creative Officer of the Tribeca Film Festival. Jones views the choice as part of a recent trend among festival programmers, where many have moved to companies with digital initiatives. It's here that they can explore ways of finding greater potential for small films to succeed. Alongside the Gilmore news, Christian Gaines's transition from AFI Fest to Withoutabox and Matt Dentler's move from SXSW to Cinetic form quite the trifecta. While the film industry seems continually perplexed by the prospects of new media tools in sustaining the life of independent film, people in the festival world appear to realize that this arena offers greater promise than anywhere else. "Within the tiring discussions between the 'falling sky' and a “new frontier,' indie film simply needs something to work," Jones writes. "And soon."
Plenty of sales agents and industry executives still scoff at this sort of grandiosity, and they're entitled to do so. Gilmore heading to Tribeca might be a game-changer, but only for those willing to play that game. "The possibilities for a filmmaker are broader and more diverse than the state of some companies operating in a traditional way," consultant Peter Broderick told me last year. Tradition, as Fiddler on the Roof taught us, helps keep us balanced. But, as Fiddler also proved, sometimes it relegates us to the ghetto.