Posted: 05/ 5/11 03:18 PM ET
Filmmaker Emily Carmichael debuted her delightfully inventive fantasy-comedy short film The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting at Sundance this year. The creator of a slew of genre-mashing shorts, including the animated retro-video-game Ledo and lx series, Carmichael is a New York native now based in Brooklyn, a graduate of Harvard, and holds an MFA in filmmaking from NYU. We talked with the rising star about her attraction to sci-fi, her advice about Sundance, and her celebrity encounter with a cast member of The West Wing.
What was the best part about being a first-time filmmaker at Sundance this January?
Sundance is kind of like Burning Man — a temporary, annually reconvening mini-society forged around extreme climate conditions and substance abuse. In the case of Sundance, the substances are Kobe beef sliders and Stella. (At SXSW the weather is mild but the sliders are far more intense.) I actually had some prior experience with Sundance, since in 2009 and 2010 the Ledo and Ix movies were at Slamdance, which is in Park City at the same time. So by the time I was there this year I was familiar with the party circuit and running into a lot of familiar people, including this one guy I think is named Rob who has been literally at every festival I have ever attended.
But it WAS my first time at the Sundance director’s brunch, a several-hundred-person extravaganza where Robert Redford says fierce things about the close-mindedness of the studio system and the undesirability of the hype that’s developed around the festival. I was impressed by his honesty — he described independent filmmaking as pretty much a constant uphill battle and avoided any kind of “you’ve arrived now” sentiment.