An Interview with Mike Plante
By Angella
Mike Plante is a film programmer and documentary filmmaker. He is a Senior Programmer for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival, where he has worked since 2001. He directed the feature documentary Be Like An Ant (2011) and many short films including The Masque (2012) and The Polaroid Job (2016). He also started Cinemad film magazine in 1998 in print, which is now a blog and podcast.   Enjoy a conversation between Argo’s Head Programmer, Amanda Salazar, and Mike Plante, as they discuss what makes a short film good, why short films are important, why a film might get chosen to play at Sundance and more!  

Key Takeaways:

  • Be authentic to your story.
  • Make sure your choices make sense, especially if they are unconventional.
  • Your film should work on its own terms: it needs to fulfil its objective.
  • If your film implies a genre, it needs to live out the expectations of that genre; for instance, if it’s a sci-fi film, the world you create has to be believable. If it’s a comedy, the film should be funny etc.
  • Do not try to make something just because it’s popular.
  • Do not make things more difficult than they need to be.
  • Money does not make a good film, make sure you are spending money for a good reason!
  • Getting a rejection does not mean your film is bad. Programmers see a lot of good films that they might not be able to fit into the program.


You can watch hand-selected short films from the Sundance Film Festival in our FESTIVALS Channel here.


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