The 2013 Sundance Film Festival gets underway next Thursday in Utah, and festivalgoers have Todd Oldham to thank for taking this year’s merchandise in a fresh new direction. The designer not only developed a line of ‘Todd Oldham for the Sundance Film Festival’ gear, including bags and wallets made from recycled festival banners, but also acted as curator for Sundance Film Festival Editions. For the new initiative, he invited Sundance alums such as Morgan Spurlock, Amy Sedaris, and Parker Posey to design a product–a button, a t-shirt, a tote. “It wasn’t hard to get them on board,” said Oldham in an interview with the Sundance Institute. “I did curate, but the art was really in asking the right person for the right task. And they are so talented–Mike White is a great graphic designer as well as filmmaker, Stacey Peralta is an artist, so I knew I had good, wildly creative people.” John Waters whipped up a subversive t-shirt (pictured).
In addition to whimsical apparel and recycled accessories, Oldham also brought his editorial expertise to the festival with a new book, Sundance Film Festival A to Z. He invited 26 illustrious illustrators–including Caitlin Heimerl, Chris Silas Neal, Michele Romero, and Yuko Shimizu–to have their way with one letter, with each letter representing festival films and artists (yup, “R” is for Redford). “We got very sophisticated, learned efforts. Some don’t tell the story at first glance. It’s super fun to try and decipher what the artist saw,” noted Oldham. “Illustrators have vivid imaginations and are usually forced into linear systems with tasked briefs. But we just let people do whatever they wanted and they were delighted to be unedited!” And if you detect a hint of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse in the cover art, that’s because it’s the work of Wayne White.