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Enjoy the best of both worlds: Portal for Film & Festival News, exploring the best of the festivals community.  

An adventure to explore from imagination to reality,  the arts & talents to be discovered.

Started in 1995 connecting films to festivals, reporting and promoting festivals worldwide.

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John Cooper, Sundance Festival Director at Santa Barbara Fest Forums 2019







From the Greek god of music Apollo to the Hindustani music festivals of India and the earliest Trinidadian carnivals, festivals have played a role in all cultures. We surveyed our readers and discovered they believe these events changed the world. Hear them discuss what made them unforgettable…only at FestForums.

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John Cooper, Sundance Festival Director, Panelist





John Cooper has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and assumed the role of Festival Director in April of 2009 after serving as the Director of Programming since 2003. His early work in theater, ranging from performance to design, took him to New York City. By chance, he volunteered at the Institute's Summer Labs in 1989 and fell in love with the process and energy of Sundance. He returned to California to become part of the Festival programming team, which at that time consisted of two people. In the Festival's early years, Cooper created the short film program and quickly transitioned into programming documentaries and feature films. As Festival Director, he oversees creative direction of the Festival as well as its ventures in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. He previously led the development of the Institute's online presence, which garnered two Webby Awards. More recently, he worked to create IGNITE, a program to nurture a new generation of filmmakers and independent film enthusiasts ages 18 to 24. Cooper has been a guest curator and juror at major film festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 he was the Programming Director of Outfest and served on its Board of Directors until 2002.

Michael Mikel a.k.a. “Danger Ranger” Burning Man Project, Founding Board Member, Panelist






Michael Mikel, aka Danger Ranger, participated in Burning Man for the first time in 1988, and over the years became deeply involved with Burning Man’s evolution and progress. His interest in social engagement found expression as a founding member of the San Francisco Cacophony Society. In 1991, he brought the first art car to the Burning Man event. A year later, Michael edited the first Black Rock City newspaper and founded Black Rock City’s force of non-confrontational community mediators and facilitators of public safety, the Black Rock Rangers. Michael began his Silicon Valley career as an electro-mechanical systems engineer for Fairchild Semiconductor in the 1970s and developed the first robotic assembly line for Apple’s Fremont plant in 1986. Throughout the year, Michael lends his guidance and wisdom to navigate Burning Man into the future.



Robert Richards, Glastonbury Festival, Commercial Director, Panelist




Robert has worked for the Glastonbury Festivals for over 20 years, and is now it's commercial director.

He is also the Chair of Somerset Film a county wide charity based in Bridgwater at the Engine Room.

Previously to his work at the Festival Robert was a full time film maker. He produced the Julien Temple directed film "Glastonbury".

Michael Lang, Woodstock Co-Creator, Musical Concert Promoter, Producer, Artistic Manager, Panelist






Michael Lang, a music industry icon and entrepreneur, is best known for co-creating and producing the original 1969 Woodstock Festival. Michael began his career in music in 1968 as the co-creator and producer of the Miami Pop Festival, which drew 100,000 people over two days. Following Miami Pop, Michael developed the Woodstock festival, which attracted over 500,000 people for three days and is widely considered to be a pivotal moment in popular music and American cultural history. He is a founding partner in Woodstock Ventures.

Michael has managed and produced albums for dozens of musical acts including Billy Joel and Joe Cocker. He is the founder and CEO of Just Sunshine Records and MLO, a live event and film production company. He produced New York’s AmsterJam, Woodstock 1994 and 1999. Beyond music, Michael was an associate producer of Wes Anderson’s first film, “Bottle Rocket” which introduced Luke and Owen Wilson, and he is currently developing a movie version of classic novel “The Master and Margarita.” Michael’s 2010 critically acclaimed biography, The Road to Woodstock, is a New York Times Bestseller.



Steve Baltin, Forbes Contributor, Moderator




Steve Baltin is a Southern California-based journalist who currently writes for Forbes, Variety, Billboard and more. Over the years he has written for Rolling Stone, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune and more, as well as hosted the Hulu and Amazon show Riffing With, worked with iHeart and taught Music Journalism for a dozen years at Grammy Camp.






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About Fest Forums

Kirby Laurie

FestForums l Hilton Beach Front Santa Barbara, CA l November 14-16, 2018

Santa Barbara

United States

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