Sundance Institute Archives

Since 1981, Sundance Institute has supported thousands of independent film and theatre artists with its artist development programs and its annual Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute Archives is dedicated to preserving and facilitating access to the work of these independent film and theatre artists and the material that documents their artistic processes in the creation of this work. Learn more or donate.
Nearly 10 years before becoming an interstellar adventurer in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt attended the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, along with Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and director Paul Dinello for the premiere of Strangers with Candy (pictured above all making their best Jerri Blank face).James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is chock–full of Sundance alum, including Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close to name a few.Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theatres nationwide on Friday, August 1.Photo by J. Vespa / WireImage

Nearly 10 years before becoming an interstellar adventurer in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt attended the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, along with Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and director Paul Dinello for the premiere of Strangers with Candy (pictured above all making their best Jerri Blank face).

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is chock–full of Sundance alum, including Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close to name a few.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theatres nationwide on Friday, August 1.

Photo by J. Vespa / WireImage

Joe Swanberg has directed, written, and produced 17 films since 2005, three of which have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, including Uncle Kent, V/H/S, and most recently Happy Christmas, starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, and Swanberg’s son (pictured above with his father during the film’s Q&A).Swanberg brings his signature voyeuristic approach to filmmaking in Happy Christmas, offering a refreshing and candid look at complicated family interactions. His wonderfully imperfect characters pull each other out of their respective ruts and bring a strikingly human element to a story we all know well. Learn about Swanberg’s inspiration for the film, building strong female characters, budgets, and the mumblecore movement with a one-on-one interview here.Happy Christmas is currently available on VOD and iTunes and opens in select theatres on Friday, July 25.Photo by Calvin Knight

Joe Swanberg has directed, written, and produced 17 films since 2005, three of which have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, including Uncle Kent, V/H/S, and most recently Happy Christmas, starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, and Swanberg’s son (pictured above with his father during the film’s Q&A).

Swanberg brings his signature voyeuristic approach to filmmaking in Happy Christmas, offering a refreshing and candid look at complicated family interactions. His wonderfully imperfect characters pull each other out of their respective ruts and bring a strikingly human element to a story we all know well. 

Learn about Swanberg’s inspiration for the film, building strong female characters, budgets, and the mumblecore movement with a one-on-one interview here.

Happy Christmas is currently available on VOD and iTunes and opens in select theatres on Friday, July 25.

Photo by Calvin Knight

Writer/Director Malik Vitthal attended the 2011 January Screenwriters Lab with his film Imperial Dreams, then returned in August of the same year for the Creative Producing Summit.  Three years later, he premiered Imperial Dreams at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best of NEXT Audience Award.Malik Vitthal’s radiant debut feature leavens hardcore gangster life with a warm and earnest humanity. Featuring a breakout performance by John Boyega as Bambi and an inspired rhythmic score by composer Flying Lotus, Imperial Dreams ignites a passion for redemption that transcends circumstance.Check out a short, but sweet video of Vitthal discussing his film just before heading to Park City to premiere it.If you didn’t have a chance to see the awarding winning film in January, you can catch it during NEXT FEST in LA on August 9, followed by a live performance from singer/songwriter/performer Tinashe — find out more here.Photos by Jill Orschel, Araya Diaz/WireImage, and Stephen Speckman

Writer/Director Malik Vitthal attended the 2011 January Screenwriters Lab with his film Imperial Dreams, then returned in August of the same year for the Creative Producing Summit.  Three years later, he premiered Imperial Dreams at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best of NEXT Audience Award.

Malik Vitthal’s radiant debut feature leavens hardcore gangster life with a warm and earnest humanity. Featuring a breakout performance by John Boyega as Bambi and an inspired rhythmic score by composer Flying Lotus, Imperial Dreams ignites a passion for redemption that transcends circumstance.

Check out a short, but sweet video of Vitthal discussing his film just before heading to Park City to premiere it.

If you didn’t have a chance to see the awarding winning film in January, you can catch it during NEXT FEST in LA on August 9, followed by a live performance from singer/songwriter/performer Tinashe — find out more here.

Photos by Jill Orschel, Araya Diaz/WireImage, and Stephen Speckman

Writer/Director Mike Cahill first attended the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, where he and writer/actor Brit Marling premiered Another Earth.  They won both the Alfred P. Sloan Prize and Dramatic Special Jury Prize for their science-fiction debut.Both returned to the 2014 Festival, alongside Michael Pitt, with I Origins, which also won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize.I Origins is an enthralling exploration of the connective tissue between love and science. Cahill utilizes Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey’s onscreen chemistry to vigorous effect. As emotionally moving as it is intellectually stimulating, I Origins solidifies Cahill’s position as a distinctive cinematic voice.Check out an interview with director Mike Cahill during the Festival here.I Origins opens in select cities Friday, July 18.Photos by Fred Hayes / WireImage and Sonia Recchia / WireImage

Writer/Director Mike Cahill first attended the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, where he and writer/actor Brit Marling premiered Another Earth.  They won both the Alfred P. Sloan Prize and Dramatic Special Jury Prize for their science-fiction debut.

Both returned to the 2014 Festival, alongside Michael Pitt, with I Origins, which also won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize.

I Origins is an enthralling exploration of the connective tissue between love and science. Cahill utilizes Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey’s onscreen chemistry to vigorous effect. As emotionally moving as it is intellectually stimulating, I Origins solidifies Cahill’s position as a distinctive cinematic voice.

Check out an interview with director Mike Cahill during the Festival here.

I Origins opens in select cities Friday, July 18.

Photos by Fred Hayes / WireImage and Sonia Recchia / WireImage

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett’s first feature length documentary, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory, premiered during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award.Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand experiments conducted by social worker Dan Cohen in nursing homes, Alive Inside demonstrates how connecting the elderly to the music they love not only combats memory loss but also supplements a broken health-care system often indifferent to interpersonal connections.Get an inside peek into the process of making the documentary with the director Michael Rossato-Bennett here.Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory opens in select theatres on Friday, July 18.Photos by Eyeball NYC, Chad Hurst, and Stephen Speckman

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett’s first feature length documentary, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory, premiered during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award.

Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand experiments conducted by social worker Dan Cohen in nursing homes, Alive Inside demonstrates how connecting the elderly to the music they love not only combats memory loss but also supplements a broken health-care system often indifferent to interpersonal connections.

Get an inside peek into the process of making the documentary with the director Michael Rossato-Bennett here.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory opens in select theatres on Friday, July 18.

Photos by Eyeball NYC, Chad Hurst, and Stephen Speckman

It’s been over 10 years since Jared Hess’ Napoleon Dynamite premiered in the Dramatic Competition during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and went on to gross some $45 million in domestic revenue.Napoleon Dynamite will kick off Sundance NEXT FEST on August 7, with a screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Purchase tickets here.Efren Ramirez, who plays Petro, recalls his experience at the 2004 Festival and discusses just how astonishing the rise of Napoleon Dynamite came to be in a recent interview.  Read the full interview here.Photos by Fred Hayes 

It’s been over 10 years since Jared Hess’ Napoleon Dynamite premiered in the Dramatic Competition during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and went on to gross some $45 million in domestic revenue.

Napoleon Dynamite will kick off Sundance NEXT FEST on August 7, with a screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Purchase tickets here.

Efren Ramirez, who plays Petro, recalls his experience at the 2004 Festival and discusses just how astonishing the rise of Napoleon Dynamite came to be in a recent interview.  Read the full interview here.

Photos by Fred Hayes 

Kurt Russell attends the premiere of The Battered Bastards of Baseball during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.Chapman and Maclain Way’s energetic telling of one of baseball’s great, unheralded stories is as much about independent spirit as it is about the game. When Portland, Oregon, lost its longtime minor-league affiliate, Bing Russell (Kurt Russell’s father)—who briefly played professional baseball before his successful Hollywood acting career—bought the franchise and formed the Portland Mavericks, a single-A team which would be America’s only independent club, operating outside the confines of major-league baseball.Bing’s quirky, unkempt castoffs won games, and they won fans, shattering minor-league attendance records. Their spirit was contagious, and during their short reign, the Mavericks brought independence back to baseball and embodied what it was all about: the love of the game. Check out Kurt Russell and directors Chapman and Maclain Way discussing the film here.The Battered Bastards of Baseball will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, July 11.Photos by Ashley Lindsey and Fudge Photography

Kurt Russell attends the premiere of The Battered Bastards of Baseball during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Chapman and Maclain Way’s energetic telling of one of baseball’s great, unheralded stories is as much about independent spirit as it is about the game. When Portland, Oregon, lost its longtime minor-league affiliate, Bing Russell (Kurt Russell’s father)—who briefly played professional baseball before his successful Hollywood acting career—bought the franchise and formed the Portland Mavericks, a single-A team which would be America’s only independent club, operating outside the confines of major-league baseball.

Bing’s quirky, unkempt castoffs won games, and they won fans, shattering minor-league attendance records. Their spirit was contagious, and during their short reign, the Mavericks brought independence back to baseball and embodied what it was all about: the love of the game. 

Check out Kurt Russell and directors Chapman and Maclain Way discussing the film here.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, July 11.

Photos by Ashley Lindsey and Fudge Photography

Director Steve James’ seminal 1994 Sundance Film Festival documentary Hoop Dreams is the most recent film to be restored through a collaboration between Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive, and Kartemquin Films — Working from multiple elements, including standard definition video masters and a 35mm film print, the project team created a new uncropped, high definition digital master that better represents the pictorial quality of the original videography, allowing future audiences to see the film as conceived by its filmmakers.James emphasizes the importance of film preservation in a recent interview:Preservation should be important to every filmmaker on a personal level because these works are like our children. We put so much of ourselves into them, it’s unfathomable to contemplate that they might disappear and be forgotten. So much of the history of cinema has been lost even when the medium existed exclusively on film. It will only be worse with digital and video if we don’t all make it a priority.  One might say, “Well, all the important films will be preserved.” First, that’s not true. Many great films have been rescued from oblivion. How many more haven’t been? Read the full interview here and find out more about how the groundbreaking Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA, established in 1997, is playing a crucial role in protecting, preserving, and restoring independent film here. Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute Archives

Director Steve James’ seminal 1994 Sundance Film Festival documentary Hoop Dreams is the most recent film to be restored through a collaboration between Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive, and Kartemquin Films — Working from multiple elements, including standard definition video masters and a 35mm film print, the project team created a new uncropped, high definition digital master that better represents the pictorial quality of the original videography, allowing future audiences to see the film as conceived by its filmmakers.

James emphasizes the importance of film preservation in a recent interview:

Preservation should be important to every filmmaker on a personal level because these works are like our children. We put so much of ourselves into them, it’s unfathomable to contemplate that they might disappear and be forgotten. So much of the history of cinema has been lost even when the medium existed exclusively on film. It will only be worse with digital and video if we don’t all make it a priority.  One might say, “Well, all the important films will be preserved.” First, that’s not true. Many great films have been rescued from oblivion. How many more haven’t been? 

Read the full interview here and find out more about how the groundbreaking Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA, established in 1997, is playing a crucial role in protecting, preserving, and restoring independent film here

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute Archives

Nearly twenty years before playing Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor and mechanic who battles evil alongside the Autobots, in the summer action film Transformers: Age of Extinction, Mark Wahlberg attended the 1995 Sundance Film Festival with Scott Kalvert’s Basketball Diaries.Wahlberg is not the only Sundance alum starring in Age of Extinction.  Stanley Tucci is a long-time alum, first attending the Directors Lab as an actor in 1987 and then the Festival in 1993 with the short How to Be American, returning over a dozens times since.  T.J. Miller has written and starred in two short films that premiered at the Festival, Successful Alcoholics and I’m Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.Photos by New Line Cinema and Sandria Miller

Nearly twenty years before playing Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor and mechanic who battles evil alongside the Autobots, in the summer action film Transformers: Age of Extinction, Mark Wahlberg attended the 1995 Sundance Film Festival with Scott Kalvert’s Basketball Diaries.

Wahlberg is not the only Sundance alum starring in Age of Extinction.  Stanley Tucci is a long-time alum, first attending the Directors Lab as an actor in 1987 and then the Festival in 1993 with the short How to Be American, returning over a dozens times since.  T.J. Miller has written and starred in two short films that premiered at the Festival, Successful Alcoholics and I’m Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Photos by New Line Cinema and Sandria Miller

Director Brian Knappenberger’s 2014 Sundance Film Festival documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, creates a dynamic portrait of a precocious boy who grew up to lead the Internet community into a new age of data sharing and free speech.The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz follows the late computer programmer’s ascent from childhood prodigy to flourishing startup developer to sociopolitical activist. Only one year after his death, and with unbridled access to Swartz’s family, friends, and colleagues, Knappenberger’s film takes on one of the most pressing and convoluted issues facing our modern digital world: access to information.Read more about the film’s Festival premiere and Q&A with Aaron Swartz’s father and brothers (center and bottom images) here.The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz opens in select cities and on VOD today, June 27.Photos by Noah Berger and Ashley Lindsey

Director Brian Knappenberger’s 2014 Sundance Film Festival documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, creates a dynamic portrait of a precocious boy who grew up to lead the Internet community into a new age of data sharing and free speech.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz follows the late computer programmer’s ascent from childhood prodigy to flourishing startup developer to sociopolitical activist. Only one year after his death, and with unbridled access to Swartz’s family, friends, and colleagues, Knappenberger’s film takes on one of the most pressing and convoluted issues facing our modern digital world: access to information.

Read more about the film’s Festival premiere and Q&A with Aaron Swartz’s father and brothers (center and bottom images) here.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz opens in select cities and on VOD today, June 27.

Photos by Noah Berger and Ashley Lindsey