Sundance taps six for mobile film project


NEW YORK -- Six Sundance Film Festival alumni directors have been commissioned by the Sundance Institute and mobile phone operator trade group GSM Assn. to create five short films designed for mobile phones, Institute president and founder Robert Redford said Wednesday.

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Justin Lin ("Better Luck Tomorrow"), Maria Maggenti ("Puccini for Beginners"), Cory McAbee ("The American Astronaut") and Jody Hill ("The Foot Fist Way") have been tapped to create three- to five-minute low-budget original shorts as part of the Sundance Film Festival Global Short Film Project. The films will premiere in February at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

"These will be big stories for the small screen," said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival director of programming and Sundance Institute creative director.

The films are expected to be circulated by World Congress attendees, though later they will be available for download on the Sundance and GSMA Web sites.

"There's going to be a lot of viral sharing," said Bill Gajda, chief marketing officer of the GSMA. "Once you've got these on your phone, you're going to be able to share these. We want to see where they go, how widely they are distributed and what is the appetite for this kind of short entertainment."

There are no advertising tie-ins planned for the films.

Depending on the success of the venture, more films may be commissioned in the future, Redford said.

"This is a start," he said. "This is in part experimental. We don't want to go too fast, we wanted to test this. This is just one step of many more to come for Sundance's involvement with new technology."