#PowerofStoryTwenty years ago, an explosion of new talent at the Sundance Film Festival boldly marked the start of a new era in independent film. When the class of 1994 took the stage at the Festival, it was not only a watershed moment in the industry but an unequivocal statement that the engine of this movement was its diversity—a range of passionate voices absent from mainstream cinema. Independence afforded them the opportunity to take ownership of their stories, appropriate the means of production, and bring unique perspectives to cinema audiences.
Gregg Araki has made 10 independent feature films, including Totally F***ed Up, The Doom Generation, Mysterious Skin, The Living End, Smiley Face, Splendor, and Nowhere. His films have screened at the world’s most prestigious festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, and New York. All of them premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
John Cooper (moderator) is currently the Director of the Sundance Film Festival. He has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and has served as the Director of Creative Development for Sundance Institute, and the Director of Programming of the Sundance Film Festival since 2003.
Kevin Smith is a director, producer, actor, author, comedian, podcaster, and comic book writer. His first film, Clerks, shared the Dramatic Filmmaker Trophy when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994, and his later films include Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Red State, and the forthcoming Tusk.Rose Troche is an award-winning writer, director, and producer of both film (Go Fish, The Safety of Objects, Concussion) and television (The L Word, Six Feet Under, Ugly Betty). She is currently working on her fourth feature, Black Kid, and producing Stacie Passon’s second feature, Strange Things Started Happening.
Boaz Yakin made his first deal for a screenplay at the age of 19, and his directorial debut, Fresh, shared the Filmmaker's Trophy at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. A prolific filmmaker, his projects have ranged from stirring, emotional films such as Death in Love and A Price Above Rubies to blockbusters like Now You See Me, Safe, and Hostel.