What's so great about Sundance is that they only accept such a small handful of films per year for dramatic competition, so you know when you're going to Sundance that you're going to see top-quality projects.
I saw 'Birth' at the Sundance Film Festival with a thousand other strangers, and I couldn't believe that was me in the film. I didn't recognize myself.
Sundance is the only hand that feeds for women directors.
I've been to Sundance eight times as a publicist and thought I was very prepared. I mean, who could've been more prepared for me? A publicist who's been there eight times. Getting there as a filmmaker was a completely surreal, different, unexpected experience.
There's a big difference between the independent film world and the Hollywood film world, and I don't know that I understood that until I got into certain rooms, and people's faces go blank when you talk about Sundance.
To win Best Director at Sundance was beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. It's still an incredible feeling to know I won. But as happy as I am about winning, I also know many other women of color have directed amazing films over the years that were equally deserving and didn't win.
'Diary of a Teenage Girl' was my first American movie. It was my first movie in an American accent. It's based on a graphic novel, which was written in 2002 by someone called Phoebe Gloeckner. It was turned into a play by Marielle Heller, who then wrote it as a screenplay for Sundance Labs.
I'm about to go to Sundance for my 3rd year, and Sundance has never felt like a real independent festival at all. On the other hand, it might to start feel that way.
When I went to Sundance back in 1998, indie film was all the rage, and Miramax was throwing down five or six million dollars for several films each year. Those were the salad days of indie film, and those days are over. I'm not out there worrying too much about it.
Sundance took me on my first film and from there sort of launched my career.