All the Highlights From the Cut’s Sundance Film Festival Panel

Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for The Cut

This past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the Cut hosted a panel discussion bringing our “How I Get It Done” column to life. Editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples spoke with three women in the entertainment industry — Exhibiting Forgiveness actress and Grammy Award–winning singer Andra Day, The Moogai actress Bella Heathcote, and Laura Chinn, writer and director of Suncoast — about how they each achieve work-life balance. The participants discussed everything from getting comfortable saying “no” in professional settings to listening for constructive criticism to tuning out the negative side of being in the spotlight. And, of course, the importance of celebrating the little wins along the way. (Chinn recommends marking your accomplishments with seafood towers). The intimate event was sponsored by Bumble and followed by a Q&A session and a reception. Below, each woman’s standout quote from the conversation.

Andra Day, Actress, Exhibiting Forgiveness

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On the importance of paying attention to authentic criticism — and leaving behind the rest: “It’s about paying attention to the source. You know when someone’s intentions are just to be scathing. Everybody’s selling a product. People writing these articles have a job. Sometimes it’s just about what gets the looks. Not everything is necessarily coming from an authentic place, and you know it when you hear it. Criticism makes you want to get better. But when someone’s tearing you down, it makes you not want to show up.”

About Day: The Grammy Award–winning R&B singer and songwriter made her onscreen debut as Billie Holiday in the 2021 biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday, for which she earned a Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Most recently, Day starred alongside André Holland in Titus Kaphar’s Exhibiting Forgiveness, which premiered at Sundance over the weekend.

Laura Chinn, Writer-director, Suncoast

Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for The Cut

On overcoming a self-deprecating mind-set and celebrating the small wins: “My husband and I started doing seafood towers. Whenever anything good happens, we go out and get a seafood tower, which is silly and ridiculous but inherently celebratory, because when are you getting a seafood tower in your life? But we recently became vegetarian.”

About Chinn: Chinn wrote and directed the 2024 coming-of-age film Suncoast, which premiered at Sundance. The film, Chinn’s directorial debut, is a semi-autobiographical story about a teenager whose brother is suffering from a debilitating illness.

Bella Heathcote, Actress, The Moogai

Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for The Cut

On keeping perspective and trusting your own instincts: “I wrote a film and sent it out to a lot of people I’ve worked with to read. There was one flashback sequence that happens, and I sent it to a director I’ve worked with who focuses primarily on horror. The notes she gave — she’s a great director, but I was like, She’s going to turn this into a horror film. So it’s also — where’s the feedback coming from? Does it relate to this piece of work? Try to trust yourself.”

About Heathcote: Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Heathcote made her film debut in the 2012 drama Not Fade Away. She has since acted in Fifty Shades Darker, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Relic, and more. She recently starred in Jon Bell’s horror film The Moogai, an allegorical take on the stolen generations, the forcible removal of mixed-race Aboriginal Australian children from their families in the 1900s.

The Best Advice From the Cut’s Sundance Film Festival Panel