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What is your Advice to Young Filmmakers?: ForYourArt asks Sundance's New Frontiers Directors

01/21/2011 04:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ForYourArt was inspired by Hans Ulrich Obrist's ongoing Interview Project -- where as an homage to Rainer Maria Rilke's book Letters to a Young Poet, he often asks iconic visionaries and thinkers for advice to young people in their given field. The Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier program is equally forward-looking, highlighting cinematic innovation that merges film, art and new media. To celebrate work that pushes the boundaries of the moving image, we asked some of this year's New Frontier participants: "What is your advice to young filmmakers?"

Lynn Hershman Leeson, !Women Art Revolution and RAW/WAR:

Artists generally live in the present, which can appear to be the future to a culture steeped in the past. Those living in the present can see what is very often invisible to others who lack extended vision. It is this vision that creates the contact lens to culture and has the potential to enable reshaping reality.

Our New Frontier installation RAW/WAR allows people to shine new light on the "lost" histories that were not considered important when they were made, but exist regardless as part of our heritage. Technology now allows for us to retrieve and share information globally and more, to connect to a collective progressive vision of possibilities for enlightened planetary survival, and to penetrate beneath the surface to excavate profound provocations that, if we are fortunate, will in turn help to reset
the moral shape of humanity.

I think all of us need to remember to protect our vision, believe in ourselves despite rejection and above all, keep our sense of humor.

Liam Birtles (Squidsoup), Glowing Pathfinder Bugs:

Always try to make work you believe in, this is much harder than is sounds. Collaborate and offer help to others and accept help when it is offered to you. Be gracious, polite and grateful, this is your vision -- why should someone help you? It's always worth asking you never know, the answer might be yes. Your conception will always need more money or time than you have. The people with money want to see that you can deliver repeated evidence of projects well planned, and projects finished and documented are vital to show this. A small project complete is better than a large project unrealised. No one else knows what their talking about (but never ever ever tell them that).

My advice is to make time to do something if you feel inspired.

Even if you're busy with work, life, whatever, it's fun to say "okay, I am going to set aside 3 days to make something with this idea. and commit fully for the 3 days" -- and do it -- a short film, a collage, a performance. It always helps when you have a goal, like a party or a special date (a birthday performance, a New Years video card) I feel like the energy to make something as a surprise, as a joke, as something to please is pretty powerful. The timeline and casualness of the goal can be freeing, allowing you to do something completely silly and funny and experimental you wouldn't normally do

Of course, even these silly little things will inform your future practice, and lead to discoveries, if not new techniques, stories, inspirations, desires, then at least skills.

I think by nature I am somewhat secretive and like to be sneaky -- a lot of the drive and inspiration to create my work comes from the surprises that I plant into them.

Paul Kaiser (OpenEnded Group and Bill T. Jones), After Ghostcatching

Don't mistake your practiced description of your work for what that work really is.

Takehisa Mashimo, Moony

Making something new is not any promise to success. However, there's a lot to be enjoyed in the process of challenging the old.

Be free of limitations. Enjoy all processes, old, new, and undefined.

Also check out Creative Capital's projects at Sundance.