Film and television producer Mark Anker, whose film “Ponyboi,” made its premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, says independent filmmaking and film festivals are crucial to bringing diverse stories to the screen, particularly when Hollywood studios can’t be depended upon to do the work.

The status of film festivals has long been associated with helping filmmakers and audiences come together to experience and learn about new projects, as well as providing independent films with a boost of clout in their efforts to get sold to big-name studios. Their purpose, and how they’ve served the lifecycle of projects being produced,
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