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IndieWire Celebrates First-Time Filmmakers at Sundance Cocktail Party with Canada Goose

The event toasted directors such as Laura Moss, Wale Oyejide, Chiaki Yanagimoto and Ben Braun, Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, and Sing J. Lee.

Sing J. Lee (2nd from left) and attendees at the IndieWire x Canada Goose First Time Filmmakers Cocktail Hour on January 22, 2023 in Park City, Utah.

Sing J. Lee (2nd from left) and attendees at the IndieWire x Canada Goose First Time Filmmakers Cocktail Hour on January 22, 2023 in Park City, Utah.

Tiffany Burke for IndieWire

“These kind of stories have sustained us for 25 years.”

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn set the tone at the First-Time Filmmakers Cocktail Party, presented by Canada Goose at Sundance on January 22. The original stories and perspectives from directors making their feature debuts powers IndieWire and the film industry, and IndieWire couldn’t be happier to celebrate them.

There’s something electric about new filmmakers meeting each other for the first time. At the three-hour event, hosted at the Canada Goose Basecamp on Main Street in Park City, “Aum: The Cult at the End of the World” co-director Chiaki Yanigimoto talked with “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” filmmaker Anna Hints, while Sing J. Lee arrived with the cast of his stirring film “The Accidental Getaway Driver.” Narrative filmmakers exchanged tips with documentarians, and everyone celebrated cinema.

Among the other attendees were Lin Alluna, Thembi L. Banks, Razelle Benally, Ben Braun, Jacqueline Castel, Mstyslav Chernov, Andrew Durham, Alice Englert, Mary Helena Clark, Raven Jackson, Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, Glorimar Marrero Sánchez, Joel Michaely, Laura Moss, Wale Oyejide, Frances Sola Santiago, Sierra Urich, Maximilien Van Aertryck, and Alejandra Vasquez.

“IndieWire has been partnering with Canada Goose at Sundance and other festivals for quite a while,” said IndieWire publisher James Israel. “Canada Goose has been supporting Sundance for 11 years, and IndieWire and Canada Goose have done a lot of great events like this, hosting female filmmakers, first-time filmmakers, cast dinners. Canada Goose’s mission and dedication to supporting filmmakers, outfitting the crew and keeping everyone warm on set, and supporting film with all their various initiatives which you should go to their site and check out. This has been a fantastic partnership for us. Because IndieWire’s mission, as well, is supporting emerging filmmakers, identifying talent, and celebrating all of you.”

Kohn reflected on how every great filmmaker who’s a household name today was once a first-time filmmaker.

“Every year that you come to Sundance you make these amazing discoveries,” he said. “And those discoveries are reflected in the kind of people we have in this room. I often take to saying at the end of the year that if you think it was a bad year for movies, you didn’t see enough. I would amend that here by saying that if you are worried about the state of movies in the world today you should see the debut films at Sundance this year. Every year when you come to Sundance and see first-time filmmakers you know it’s not going to be the last time you see those storytellers.”

He closed with an anecdote. “Ten years ago, I went to a 9:00am screening at The Library and didn’t know much about the filmmaker or the story the filmmaker was telling,” he said. “By the end of the screening, Ryan Coogler was a major director. And he’s still a first-time filmmaker who’s a part of this community. It’s a not a static thing. We look forward to seeing you at many more Sundances.”

Here are some images — and a video — from the event.

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