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Truman Says

Tastemaker: the Sundance Film Festival's John Cooper

Photo: Spencer Heyfron

Out's November issue showcases our annual Tastemakers portfolio which highlights the hippest arbiters of style currently leading the charge at the forefront of the nation's ongoing cultural revolution.

From fashion phenoms to chic restaurateurs to dance company directors, these men's impeccable taste and sensibility make our lives simpler, prettier, happier, and richer. We're featuring a new Tastemaker from the portfolio each day. Today's trendsetter is John Cooper, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival:

Before industry insiders, jurors, and the public get a chance to sift through the remarkable selection of films at the Sundance Film Festival, all are meticulously vetted by its director of programming, John Cooper, and his staff. "We are all about discovery. We attack the mountain of submissions like miners," he says. For the 2008 festival this task involved narrowing a field of 3,624 feature-length submissions to just 121 feature films and 32 documentaries.

Cooper, who is celebrating the end of his second decade with the festival, is proud of what the annual event has become. Despite criticism that it's become too celebrity-oriented or commercial, it is still an unparalleled showcase for independent filmmaking and one of the world's premier marketplaces for new American and international work. Every year Cooper takes care to champion gay artists, and as a result this year saw 40 LGBT-related entries, including Savage Grace, Birds of America, and the documentary about underground gay culture in Iran, Be Like Others.


> Ducati's David Gross

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