Life After Winning Sundance with Diane Bell

I always talk about not counting on the “lottery ticket” mentality that so many filmmakers today count on. Winning Sundance is not a distribution plan. Well, I was involved in a project, written and directed by Diane Bell, that did just that. It won not one but two awards at Sundance. She didn’t count on winning, hell she didn’t think in her wildest dreams that she would even be accepted. Here’s the story.

In 2010, 16 feature films were selected out of 1,058 submissions to be screened in the US Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.  Diane Bell’s OBSELIDIA was one of them.  It was made for less than $140,000, it had no movie stars in it, and none of the cast or crew had connections to Sundance.  And yet it was picked out of the slush pile, and selected to premier on this world stage, alongside movies that had cost 100 times as much with big name movie stars and recognized directors.

OBSELIDIA, premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2010, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Award and the award for Excellence in Cinematography. It was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards 2011, including one for Best First Screenplay. It won acclaim at festivals around the world, including being named as Best of Fest at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at Ashland Independent Film Festival, and winning the Youth Jury Prize for Best Film at the Valladolid Festival, Spain.

Here’s what VARIETY magazine had to say about Obeslidia:

“…the only film [at Sundance] that deserves to be called a rebel”?

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The Cinderella Story

It is a Cinderella story for sure. I had the pleasure to color grade and on-line edit Obselidia and it was one of the greatest times I’ve ever had working on a film. Diane Bell’s story not typical.

She started her career in film as a screenwriter and moved to LA after optioning her first script to Wind Dancer Features.  She went on to be hired to rewrite a script for legendary director John McTiernan (DIE HARD, PREDATOR, etc), and then wrote an original script with him.  She has written a number of other commissioned and optioned screenplays.

Her screenplay, STEM, was selected for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab in January 2011, where it was awarded the Sloan Fellowship. She was selected for the inaugural Women in Film/Sundance Mentorship program in 2012.

Diane’s second feature as writer/director, BLEEDING HEART, a feminist thriller starring Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 2015 and was widely released in the US by Gravitas in Nov 2015.

She is currently in post-production on her third feature, OF DUST AND BONES.

With her husband and producing partner, Chris Byrne, she launched the Rebel Heart Film Workshop, teaching 2-day intensives on how to make a standout indie film. She is passionate about sharing her experiences making films to empower other filmmakers with real life knowledge.

If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be accepted and win awards at the Sundance Film Festival sit back and enjoy my conversation with Diane Bell.

Right click here to download the MP3



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