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The Sundance Question: What Roles did Chaos and Order Play in Your Films?

Park City's main street with a snow-covered mountain looming in the background, the Egyptian Theater in clear view.Photo: Kelsey Doyle, courtesy Sundance Institute.

Each year Filmmaker asks all the incoming feature directors at Sundance one question. (To see past years’ questions and responses, click here.) This year, our question involves an issue that might be appropriate given the dramas of the previous year: chaos and order.

This year’s question:

As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films?

“We Used Chaos to Clarify Our Senses and Capture True Harmony and Beauty”: Gabo Arora | Zikr: A Sufi Revival

“As the World Around Me Fell Apart this Year… I Shifted My Focus Beyond Our Earth to the Darkest Edges of the Universe”: Eliza McNitt | SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime

“There’s an Old Saying that Restrictions are Needed to be Truly Creative. That’s Always Sounded like Stockholm Syndrome”: Director Panos Cosmatos | Mandy

“How Do You Give Meaning and Structure to Decades of a Person’s Life?”: Director David Wain | A Futile and Stupid Gesture

“It’s Incredibly Rare to Just Drop in on Two Woman of Color Talking About Their Lives”: Director Kaitlin Fontana | Franchesca

“An Endeavor of Structuring Chaos”: Director Cameron Yates | Chef Flynn

“If You’re Not Loving it, Then What’s the Point?”: Director Michael Walker | Paint

“Chaos Has its Own Reward”: Directors David and Nathan Zellner | Damsel

“Unpredictable, Loud, Hot, and Dangerous”: Director Michael Dweck | The Last Race

“Our Computers Were Crashing Roughly Six Times a Day”: Director Aneesh Chaganty | Search

“How Are American Men Being Made?”: Director Bing Liu | Minding the Gap

“It’s the Moment of Spontaneity that We Remember”: Director Ethan Hawke | BLAZE

“The More I Pressured Him, the Worse He Performed”: Director Isabella Eklöf | Holiday

“The Film Needs a Scene of the Justice Lifting Weights”: Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen | RBG

“You Have to Give Up Control to Find the Story”: Director Alexandra Shiva | This Is Home

“You Cannot Control Everything in Film”: Director Jim Hosking | An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn

“How Are We Not Going Insane?”: Director Sandi Tan | Shirkers

“I Literally Shot the Whole Movie with Dolls on a Miniature Set”: Director Nicolas Pesce | Piercing

“More Used to Filming Drug Busts than Nerd Conventions”: Directors Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster | Science Fair

“Cats are Totally Un-Directable, Even with Food” Christina Choe | NANCY

“One of the Most Chaotic and Stunning Moments of My Life”: Director Jeremiah Zagar | We the Animals

“The Rest of the Shoot Was Just as Unpredictable”: Director Alexandria Bombach | On Her Shoulders

“The More I Embrace Chaos, the Better”: Director Narcissister | Narcissister Organ Player

“Chaos Was Our Mantra”: Director Daryl Wein | White Rabbit

“My Own Feeling of Unease in Living with and on the Internet”: Director Bo Burnham | Eighth Grade

“We Went Where the Story Took Us”: Director Derek Doneen | Kailash

“The Film of a Drunken Monkey”: Director Nico Casavecchia | BattleScar

“Making a Film Is Always a Chaotic Experience”: Director Craig William Macneill | Lizzie

“It Must’ve Driven My Family Insane”: Reinaldo Marcus Green | Monsters and Men

“How the Hell Do We Make this Watchable for 78 Minutes?” Director Maxim Pozdorovkin | Our New President

“Cats are Totally Un-directable, Even with Food” Director Christina Choe | Nancy

“The Perfect Time for Us to Be Making this Show”: Creators Josh Feldman and Shoshannah Stern | This Close

“The Essence of Cinema Vérité Productions Is Chaos”: Director Matt Tyrnauer | Studio 54

A Powerful Charge of Life in Front of the Lens”: Director Michael Pearce | Beast

“I Have No Idea How My Little Sony AS7 Camera Survived”: Director Cody Lucich | Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock

“A Queer Punk at Heart”: Director Silas Howard | A Kid Like Jake

“The World’s Most Dangerous Myth – that we Need Meat to Be Strong”: Director Louie Psihoyos | The Game Changers

“A Tsunami of #metoo Accusations Ensued”: Directors Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman | Seeing Allred

“Documentary Is All about Trying to Divine Order from Chaos”: Director Tim Wardle | Three Identical Strangers

“The Chaos Grew into Something So Beautiful”: Director Crystal Moselle | The Skate Kitchen

“We Would Have Welcomed Some Chaos As Relief”: Director Tolga Karaçelik | Butterflies

 “A Film that Tries to Understand Why Peace Failed”: Director Mor Loushy | The Oslo Diaries

“In Argentina We’re Always Under Some Kind of Crisis”: Director Valeria Bertuccelli | Queen of Fear

“We Lost Hours from Our Shoot Day and Gained Years of Wisdom”: Director Josephine Decker | Madeline’s Madeline

“Stories Make Order and Help Us Understand the Awful Noise”: Director Robert Greene | Bisbee ’17

“This Beautiful and Wild Community that Exists in Film”: Director Jordana Spiro | Night Comes On

“At a Certain Point You Have to Give in to that Insanity”: Director Kaitlin Fontana | Franchesca

“She Has Endured So Many Tough Situations”: Director Heather Lenz | Kusama – Infinity

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