Interview with Cullen Conly of the Sundance Institute
October 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Cullen Conly serves as the Manager of the Feature Film Program at Sundance Institute. In this role, he manages the Screenwriters, Directors and New Frontier Story Labs, supporting emerging filmmakers and artists through creative workshops. Prior to Sundance, Conly worked at Paramount Vantage and the William Morris Agency. He is based in Los Angeles.
What will the latest donation of $1 million from the Annenberg Foundation be used for?
The Annenberg Foundation has awarded a $1,000,000 three-year grant to Sundance Institute to provide general operating support for our year-round creative and tactical programs for independent film and theatre artists. These funds will support our labs, grants, #ArtistServices initiative and public programs, including the Sundance Film Festival. We are, of course, very grateful for their generous support!
What is the importance of grants and donations made to the film industry?
Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization, so grants and donations are critical to allowing us to continue supporting independent artists and audiences that enjoy their work. Oftentimes these artists don’t have access to resources, or can’t secure funds to produce their work, and they need organizations like us to support their work. In a larger sense, I think the importance of supporting the arts is critical to ensuring a thoughtful and well rounded society, not to mention contributing some beauty to our world.
What is your favorite part about working in the film industry?
I grew up in a small town in Louisiana, so I learned a lot about the world and about people through film and television. I think film is an incredibly powerful medium – to expose ourselves to other cultures and ideas, to see our own experiences reflected on screen, to challenge ourselves to see things in new and interesting ways. On a more personal level, I’m able to work with artistic and creative people every day, and I’m not behind a desk crunching numbers (no offense to accountants). It’s challenging at times, but it’s equally exciting and thrilling to have a hand in entertaining people across the globe.
What can we expect from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival?
Our Programming team is hard at work finding the best new work for us to share with audiences. I personally believe every Festival gets better than the last, and I think audiences can once again look forward to discovering thought-provoking stories by emerging and established filmmakers and artists. I know John Cooper and his team have more than a few new ideas in the works. Oh, and ideally, snow!