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New Frontiers Bringing Over 30 Innovative Programs To Sundance 2020

Sundance Institute

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival brings with it opportunities for festival goers to see new films, hear panels and listen to live music. Alongside more traditional forms of artistic expression, the festival also explores opportunities for additional venues of expression.

Since joining the festival in 2007, attendees have sometimes had difficulty describing what the experimental, technologically oriented New Frontier is about. Sundance Institute New Frontier Curator Shari Frilot explains the theme this year.

“The show is called Soul Power this year,” Frilot explained. “It's that way because as much excitement as digital life is generated and consuming our attentions, it really is about people coming together. These technologies bringing people together and giving it human context.”

There are two venues for New Frontier programing. One is at the Ray, which requires tickets and the other, New Frontier Central, which is open and free to anyone with a credential. In all 32 projects are a part of the programming. It can sometime be a challenge matching new technologies to limited space, but Frilot says this year there should be venues with greater capacity, meaning more opportunities for people to catch shows.

“It's interesting this year the works at New Frontier Central, they've taken a lot more people at a time,” Frilot continued. “In fact, we built what we’re calling the bio digital theater. For VR works that lots of people can experience at a time. Atomu is one of them, seven people at a time. All Kinds of Limbo is 20 people at a time. Anti-Gone is 50 people at a time. So, you just have to go and see what times these works are playing in the bio digital theater. They generally run for about 2 hours at a time. So, a lot of throughput will be able to happen there. I think chances of seeing stuff at New Frontier this year have greatly increased because of work like this.”

While the film festival is programmed in part by combing through submissions far above the acceptance rate, Frilot explains that while they do receive submissions their role is more curating going out to aid and recruit programs. One that the festival is excited about to premier is BLKNWS

“BLKNWS is a renegade newscast,” Frilot said. “It is a really interesting art project that is turning into a broadcast. It’s by Kahlil Joseph, he's been here at the festival, won a couple of prizes. BLKNWS is a kind of elevated what the news could be. It's appropriated social media and newscasts. He reimagines this and re-edits it all down with music to talk about black people, and it's just mesmerizing. It's really beautiful.”

Frilot says that the program is expanding by leaps and bounds. With exhibit and film ideas that they thought would be five years out often appearing at the festival the next year. You can learn more about New Frontier online at Sundance.org

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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