Talent Discovery

Verge List: Sundance 2017

Our Creative Director, Jeff Vespa, is more comfortable behind the camera, which is why it’s always fun to turn the tables and put him in the hot seat, for a change. Not only does Jeff moonlight as Sundance’s official photographer, but he has now been shooting stars at the festival for over 20 years. Needless to say, Jeff knows a Sundance sensation when he sees one. We both hope that you enjoy our latest preview issue as well as our recently revamped website: Welcome to Verge 2.0!

— James Patrick Herman, Editorial Director

We both hope that you enjoy our latest preview issue as well as our recently revamped website: Welcome to Verge 2.0!

Lakeith Stanfield

Lakeith Stanfield

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Danielle Macdonald

Danielle Macdonald

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Michelle Morgan

Michelle Morgan

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Trevor Jackson

Trevor Jackson

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Haley Lu Richardson

Haley Lu Richardson

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Josh O'Connor

Josh O'Connor

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Harris Dickinson

Harris Dickinson

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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Margaret Qualley

Margaret Qualley

Verge List: Sundance 2017
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It’s our fifth anniversary. How are you planning to mark the occasion?

I have finally been able to realize my vision for Verge. I wanted to change the look and feel of the magazine — make it more fresh, modern and edgy. So we’ve done a lot of things to take Verge to the next level: We now have a new 4,000-square-foot studio space as well as a newly redesigned website. It’s interactive, content-forward and focuses on the photography. It’s also a responsive site, so it looks great on mobile. The parallax design and moving images emulate a truly cinematic experience.

Why has the Verge party become one of hottest tickets at Sundance?

Essentially, it’s a party for all the actors featured in the magazine, and it’s a fun way to celebrate these kids. Even though we invite directors, producers, agents, managers and other industry execs, this isn’t another jaded Hollywood party in Park City. Ours has a unique vibe: Many of the actors we’re honoring have never been to Sundance, so they are incredibly excited and their attitude proves to be infectious — there’s always lot of energy in the room.

What impact has Verge had since the debut of our first Sundance list in 2012?

From the day we started, I have received calls from industry insiders trying find out who has made the cut for our annual list — everybody wants to get a leg up, you know. No one else has ever published a magazine that previews the festival’s top talent in advance. Out of all the business of covering celebrity these days, Verge is the only one to do that. People have come to respect our annual Sundance list and it’s become an important barometer of the newest, coolest breakout stars — The It-Actors. It’s also a guide — a map to the stars of the future. We provide a 360-degree view of the talent between our photo shoots, interviews and videos. I’m often taking the first photographs of these kids — and showcasing them in an editorial light — because some of them don’t even have head shots on IMDB. But then Verge is essentially all about image-making.

Tell me about one of your favorite Verge shoots from the past 5 years.

John Boyega is probably the number-one person we spotlighted prior to blowing up on an international level. We are committed to shooting the best and brightest talent regardless of where they live. So we flew John from his home in London to LA. Working with John on set, it was obvious to me how much talent — and charisma — he possesses. He’s still a sweet and down-to-earth guy despite being the star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Currently, he is not only acting but also producing Pacific Rim 2, which is pretty extraordinary. To all of a sudden be doing something so major relatively early in his career? That is unprecedented. We so are proud to say that John Boyega was featured first in the pages of Verge, and we’re thrilled to introduce eight more gifted actors with this, our fifth anniversary issue.

Behind the Scenes

Verge List: Sundance 2017