Hooray! They let me write a blog. Now I can give you all a glimpse behind the ArtPrize curtain (a gorgeous curtain it is, too) and how things are going as we ramp up to ArtPrize 2013!

First things first: Who Am I And Why Am I Here?

I’d be happy to tackle the more complex existential nature of this question in a future post, but for now let me just say that my name is Christian Gaines, and I moved to Grand Rapids from Los Angeles earlier this year because I fell in love with GR and with ArtPrize. My background is mostly in putting on film festivals and in helping filmmakers use technology to connect with film festivals. I’ve attended dozens (hundreds?) of film festival since 1989 (as you can see from this ridiculous picture of some film festival accreditation badges I’ve amassed over years).  Some random fun film festival facts about me: I have attended the Cannes Film Festival 23 times. I ran the very first website the Sundance Film Festival ever launched (in 1995), and I have attended a festival inside the Arctic Circle.

During that time, I’ve come to realize one thing about myself: I really am happiest when I’m able to build a community where artists can be appreciated, celebrated, recognized and adored for the work that they do, and for the courage it takes to become an artist in the first place. At their very best, this is what a good film festival should do for filmmakers. At our very best, this is what ArtPrize should do for artists. I’d like to work on that, and I hope you’ll help me in the months and years ahead.

There are other more practical similarities between a film festival and a unique event like ArtPrize (things like sponsorship, marketing, production, membership, volunteers, awards, juries and audiences). Of course, there are many, many differences, too. But that’s quite enough for one blog post.

Coming up next: Some thoughts on art and technology.

By Christian Gaines on