John Cooper and Trevor Groth

Independent film is thriving as Sundance submissions reach record numbers

This year Sundance Film Festival received 12,146 film submissions, 429 more than last year, putting the numbers over the 12,000 mark for the first time ever!

The challenge faced by the Sundance Film Festival programming team, led by Festival Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth was enormous. After a gruelling screening and selection process, they shaped this unwieldy 12,000 + submissions into a svelte program of the world’s finest independent film.

But where Cooper and Groth are content to acknowledge a brimming submissions inbox, they’re exultant when discussing the quality of this year’s films. Perhaps it’s that strict adherence to the ‘quality over quantity’ adage that has these two programmers eager to share this year’s films with the rest of the world.

The pair sat down recently to talk submissions, call out some potential noisemakers, and check on the healthy pulse of the independent film community.

What do this year’s film submissions – more than 12,000 of them – say about the state of independent film?

John Cooper:

To me, it says that independent film is thriving. It’s certainly exciting for us to receive 12,000 submissions this year for the first time ever, but more than that, we were really pleased by the overall quality of the films submitted to us. Each year the quality of independent film seems to rise, and we’re chalking that up to this idea of a vital independent film community – directors, producers, DP’s and art directors all continuing to work in independent film throughout their careers and also well-known and really talented actors joining these projects.

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Sundance London will present the UK premieres of a selection of 14 films fresh from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

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