It didn’t take long for the film to reach its goal, in less than half a night. Over the next year, the festival attracted a strong cadre of filmmakers, including directors like Peter Schickel, Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson.
At the same time, the Cannes Film Festival was finding its way in other industries with smaller budgets. In 2015, it had an abundance of documentaries, the second largest category after drama. The first documentary, My Brilliant Friend, was made into a big hit. (It has been nominated for a Peabody Award, and won the Palme d’Or in 2009.)
In the decade since its inception, the Cineversity was a pioneer in showcasing the independent world.
“It was a good place to work,” said D.C.-based filmmaker Andrew Gold. “I had a lot of fun. But I also realized that it wasn’t a place for that kind of independent filmmaking anymore.”
That’s because the market for filmmakers is more competitive, said Matthew Noller, a professor of communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But the Cineversity never gave up.
“We were always looking for things that we could put on the market,” he said. “No one was going to want a big, expensive film.”
In 2014, after the festival’s demise, the Cineversity came back, but with some alterations. The festival’s website still says you buy a slot on the first Friday. But there was added emphasis by CineversITY founder Michael Fincher.
“We really feel like film should be an art form that gets shown in public, not just a part of this big public thing we’re into now,” he said.
The festival had a few big hits that year, including a documentary called It’s My Life, about an 18-year-old boy with ADHD who falls in love with his own story, and How the West Was Won, about the Korean War, which came closest to being a hit, despite a $1 million budget.
Even those misses were notable because they had big budgets and big names attached to them.
As recent festivals began to look for bigger, brighter things, the festival felt like a relic that had run its course. Fincher and his wife, Heather Eichner, have a 10-year-old daughter to take care of.
They decided that the Cine
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