Bob Knauf
Polycom Employee

The Sundance Film Festival each year finds the best independent films along with incredibly talented directors and producers and brings them into the sleepy little ski town of Park City, UT.  The town of just over 7,000 expands 3-4 times that size during the Festival. 


In the middle of all the excitement and celebrity are Polycom solutions, enhancing the experience for all the movie goers. 


As a relative newbie to the Sundance Film Festival, with 2017 being my third year “to fest”, I have been lucky to experience the festival as an audience member and from behind-the-scene or I guess, screen in this case. 


2017 sets a new milestone for Polycom at Sundance.  This year, Polycom will be using multiple solutions to enhance the movie-goers experience by connecting directors, documentary subjects and others directly to the theater from locations around the world.  In some cases, when a participant is not able to make it to the Festival for various reasons such as, living in a war-torn country, under house arrest, too ill or even stuck on an island, Polycom offers the opportunity for these people to join the Q&A sessions that take place after each film. 


Josh Fox Remote

Remote subject LIVE from a South Pacific island joining the audience in Q&A in 2016.


Polycom will be using our integration with Microsoft Office 365 to allow participants to easily connect to various theaters in Park City.  Skype for Business and Polycom Group Series allows the remote participants a simple way to connect, literally with the click of a button.  The result is incredible audio and HD video shown on the big screen which greatly enhances the experience for the audience.


This year we are excited about all of our remotes, but Cries from Syria will test our Polycom solutions to the fullest when we bring in the subject of the doucumentary LIVE from Aleppo, Syria to interact with the audience in the theater during the Q&A session.


Keep tabs on Polycom’s and my involvement through our social channels at http://www.polycom.com/solutions/solutions-by-industry/entertainment/sundance-2017.html.  


Polycom’s own independent filmmaker and Sundance director, Jeffrey Radice, has some advice for independent filmmakers.




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Yesterday was the official kickoff of Sundance 2016. Once a year, 50,000 people pour into this tiny ski town to celebrate independent films. Each year, 200 independent films are selected from all over the world to be featured at the festival. The creativity and buzz can be seen everywhere, the vibrant sights and sounds standing out against a white snowy wonderland.


Whether you’re a filmmaker, storyteller, creative, or movie lover, the Sundance experience is a unique one that really captures the magic of film. But behind the big screen, there’s a lot going on to pull off this major production than you'd ever realize.


Video Behind the Big Screen

The Sundance Film Institute is building a new experience for attendees at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with the help of Polycom, using the Group Series, RealPresence Desktop and RealPresence Debut as a communication portal to bring world-famous directors and filmmakers in remote locations to live events and audience discussions. 


Polycom collaboration solutions are opening new ways for the audience to interact with actors, directors and film makers by allowing for live interviews from remote locations at the festival screenings. An official provider for the Sundance Institute, Polycom’s voice, video and content collaboration impacts many facets of the creative process throughout the film festival and enabling participation for remote attendees. Polycom provides premise-based video services so network control is never compromised, as well as cloud-based video collaboration service with streaming capabilities to broadcast events to a worldwide audience.


Sundance Institute is using Polycom solutions to help to minimize scheduling and travel conflicts while also minimizing production times. The use of video is also preventing projects from going over budget since editing can now be done live and collaboratively, even from disparate locations. Frequent collaboration and real time-access allows for a more cost-effective delivery of the final content.


Perfecting the Art of Storytelling

Part of the magic of Sundance is that it brings the audience closer to the creative process. After movie screenings are finished, audiences have the chance to engage live with directors, producers and actors and ask questions about the film. But often times, people who are involved with the film can’t make it to the festival, due to other filming schedules, location, or even bad weather. For that, they use Polycom.


For the second year in a row, Sundance is using Polycom video technology to magnify the voices of storytellers. And when you’ are presenting to an audience full of creatives and artists, you have to have the best in the industry. “In the past we’ve had a lot of requests to bring in people remotely and sometimes we’ve had some pretty poor results. With Polycom we’ve seen that come together, where we have an easy solution, but it’s also enterprise grade and it works,” said Justin Simmons, Sundance Institute Associate Director of Technology Services.


Want to learn more about Polycom and Sundance? Follow us over the next two weeks as we go live on the scene at Sundance Festival 2016! Sneak peek here.  

Bob Knauf
Polycom Employee

Technology can do great things, and certainly for folks at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend who saw the new HBO Documentary Larry Kramer In Love & Anger, technology did just that.  Polycom solutions enabled Larry to join the audience in Park City for an interactive conversation about the film, his life and the future for his apartment in New York.


After a very moving film that left the audience not really knowing the current state of Mr. Kramer, the audience was visibly moved when after the final credits rolled; Larry appeared larger than life on the screen.   This was made possible through the 

use of Polycom RealPresence Desktop software and Group Series system.



The network connection was nothing special, just a home internet connection at Larry’s home and a Comcast cable modem in Park City.   With a call speed of just 512 kbps, Larry appeared in HD on the big screen.


As I was leaving the theater I overheard some people talking about the whole experience as “amazing”, “left me speechless”, “powerful”. 


I will be seeing Larry a few more times here at Sundance as well as other guests who are joining remotely to give movie-goers an experience they will never forget.

Bob Knauf
Polycom Employee

The lights are dimmed, your heart starts beating a little faster, popcorn in hand, it’s time for a movie.  Thousands of of times per day, this same scenario is played out all over the world.  What did it take for that movie to be created?  How many thousands of hours of writing, acting, editing, begging, pleading, go into getting that story on the big screen?


The Sundance Institute recognizes that being a great story teller is not enough to get your movie made and distributed.  This organization along with the Sundance Film Festival celebrates and helps bring amazing stories to the big screen. 


 Sundance-2015.jpgPolycom is proud to be a partner of the Sundance Institute where they help give life to storyteller's ideas. 


Using Polycom solutions, storytellers can think globally when shooting on location, editing or even creating the music score for a film.  No longer are filmmakers limited geographically by the resources they have. 


Robert Redford, founder of Sundance says Storytellers broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.”   This sure sounds a lot like how a certain company I know works as well.


During this year's Sundance Film Festival, Polycom will bring in numerous directors to discuss their films with the audiences in Park City.  Using solutions like Polycom CloudAXIS and RealPresence Group Series, audiences and directors will have natural interaction even though they are thousands of miles apart.


If you are at Sundance, please make time to see how Polycom is working behind the scenes.  It is amazing technology that connects us.


Feel free to reach out at bob.knauf@polycom.com if you would like to see first hand what we are doing at Sundance.  You can also find me wandering the streets of Park City for the next couple of weeks.

The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

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