This website is, sadly, defunct. But! Ethan’s new website is here for you to use.

Unstoppable Robot Ninja

The site navigation:

“I already know how to drink.”

It’s been a busy week, but it’s finally up. Sure, we’re tired—but when you’re this proud of the end result, it’s very worth it.

I love movies. I’ve edited that last sentence about sixteen times, because I can’t quite express just how much a good movie means to me: to say I’m a “cinephile” (too assholic) or a “fanboy” (too Comic Book Guy) doesn’t quite do it justice. So when Greg told me that Airbag was going to be designing the 2008 Sundance Film Festival website, I may have burst the man’s eardrum by yelling into the phone.

However, I may have rendered him permanently deaf when he told me that Ryan Sims would be doing the design work. I’ve wanted to work with Ryan since before he retreated to that mountaintop in Tibet to master the splash page, so this was something of a dream project for me. Greg provided the creative direction, and Ryan produced some work that was a joy to turn into static templates.

Also, his PSDs are friggin’ immaculate. And no, that’s not innuendo—I’ve never seen PSDs organized that well. (That is also not innuendo.)

While we’re high-fiving ourselves in Airbag HQ, we’d be remiss if we didn’t thank the Academy: namely, the client team at Sundance (and in particular, our incredible contact, David Kavanaugh), who did a Herculean job of launching this site in two short days. And throughout the project, they’ve been an awesome client: good humored, generous with excellent feedback, and always asking stellar questions. Holla.

So in short, this was the most fun I’ve had in awhile. I even peppered the code with a couple choice references to a few of my favorite movies: see if you can spot them, and make the connection. It’s, like, you know, interactive cinema. Or something.

(Is this the part where I thank my mom and/or God? Dammit, I need a new team of writers.)

A quick note: the pages won’t currently validate because—well, let’s just say that your humble author sucks at doing a find-and-replace at six in the morning. As a result, the DOCTYPE declaration at the top of each template is busted. So blame yours truly for that clever little snafu: the client’s been notified of my custom little DTD, so hopefully that’ll be ironed out forthwith.

The lesson to be learned here is that if it’s not broke, don’t let Ethan near it.

This is a blog entry posted on day 11065 in the Journal.

24 comments posted.


  1. Keith LaFerriere says:

    This is a fantastic site. NICE job by all. As I mentioned this morning, the site FEELS like Sundance, which I have to say, is particularly hard when the goal is to combine the next iteration of poignant cinema with the independent genius of submitted works.

  2. Brian Warren says:

    Well done gentlemen! I likey.

  3. Dan Cederholm says:

    Suntastic! (it’s all I can muster on this fine Monday)

    Congrats to the SuperTeam™

    PS: Those dropdowns may just be the only dropdowns I’ve ever liked.

  4. Sameer Vasta says:

    Went to the festival last year, and the design of the site definitely reflects the mood of Sundance. Color me impressed.

  5. Patrick Haney says:

    Looking good! And I’m with Dan on this one, those dropdown menus look good. Generally I’m a dropdown hatah’ too.

    For the record, you don’t need a new team of writers. Other people need to hire you to be on their team of writers. Continually cracking me up, Mr. Marcotte. Keep up the good work.

  6. Rob Weychert says:

    The site looks really great, but couldn’t it have been made out of platinum? I mean, do you ever get tired of falling just short of the mark? Sheesh.

  7. Garrett DImon says:

    Absolutely amazing. This is one of those sites I feel like I could pour over for hours soaking in the details.

    And I completely agree with Dan about the drop downs. I normally can’t stand them, but these are gorgeous.

    Did you know the pages aren’t validating? ;) Seriously though. Nice work all around, and Sims just got even cooler in my book. Designers who organize their PSDs are pretty much the coolest people in the world.

  8. Keith says:

    Love the site! You guys did an amazing job, and wow, what a cool project to work on! I’m soooo jealous!!! :)

    ANYway, congrats!!

  9. Bronwyn says:

    Is it pointless to tell a bunch of geniuses what geniuses they are? Probably. But I’m gonna do it anyway. Geniuses.

  10. Joshua Brewer says:

    I really, really like the flow and style you guys have created. Syncs up nicely with the Sundance vibe. Excellent use of .pngs, btw.

    One thing I noticed: if you are hovering over the side nav when the SIFR happens the bg arrow gets wonky…

  11. Jack Auses says:

    Um, yeah. That’s just about the most gorgeous thing I’ve seen in a while. Fanstastic work.

  12. Jesse says:

    Solid awesome.

    I’m not too proud to admit that I am impressed and more than a little jealous.

  13. Jared says:

    Ooooh, me likes. Great colors, easy navigation, and general awesomeness.

  14. Shane Guymon says:

    Well done, I first got the news from “longboard” on Airbagindustries. The site is beautiful, and I’m a HUUGE movie fan to say the least as well. So I was thinking very highly of ya’ll for landing such a project, and very jealouse as well. All of ya’ll did a stellar job.

  15. Paul Mayne says:

    Top notch work guys. Very well organized and designed and built.

  16. Travis Schmeisser says:

    Great simple use of layering. I have to holla about the dropdowns as well – double true!

  17. Tom Watson says:

    Yup. To join the chorus of kudos the site looks fantastic. Excellent work fellas.

  18. Luke Dorny (luxuryluke) says:

    So very cool, Eath!
    The backgrounds and transparencies are truly impressive. Echo everyone else’s comments!

    How about Fanphile or Cineboy? Those taken?

  19. Matthew Pennell says:

    Awesome work, Ethan and Ryan (and, yet again, another smart-as-all-hell post title, Ethan). Guess you need to figure out your #2 dream job now then…

  20. Michael says:

    Fantastic design and incredible execution. Great technique used for incredible effects. I will enjoy digging into this one some more.

  21. Nick Adams says:

    Excellent work. This site was a nice punch in my jaded face. Free of trendy design devices and cliches, with spot-on execution to boot. Plus, film-references-in-the markup? Gooood.

    Solid all around. Pass the praise along to your comrades.

  22. louis w says:

    great work! really love the new site.
    what kind of backend is running it? did you guys do that too?

  23. The Robot says:

    Thanks very much for the comments, all. Really, we’re very damned touched. As I’ve said before, anything aesthetically pleasing is entirely Greg and Ryan’s (and, I suppose, David’s) fault; I’m just the angle brackets and curly braces guy.

    Louis W, Airbag actually didn’t handle the implementation. I’m pretty sure the client decided on Movable Type for their CMS, but we weren’t involved with that end of things.

    Thanks again, everyone. You make an Airbag blush. Or deploy. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.

  24. Catherine says:

    That’s stunning work! Congratulations!

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