We were very proud around these parts back during the Sundance Film Festival as In Contention friend (and former contributor) Chad Hartigan won an award in the NEXT section over some stiff competition for his film "This is Martin Bonner." The film was picked up for distribution last week by Monterey Media, but while you'll have a chance to catch his work as a result of that deal, you might also have another opportunity at the Sundance Institute's Next Weekend Film Festival, should it be a part of the programming (and indeed, it ought to).

The four-day fest will take place in Los Angeles and will feature screenings, panels, parties and filmmaker workshops. It is an extension of the NEXT section at Sundance fest, which showcases stylistically adventurous films that take a bold approach to storytelling. More and more, Sundance-goers look to the NEXT line-up for the true spirit of the festival, and this year's crop outweighed the competition crop in the eyes of many.

“The NEXT section at our Festival in Utah, built under the leadership of Festival Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth, showcases films that marry form and content in a way that pushes boundaries and offers fresh perspective s on storytelling," said Sundance Insitute Executive Director Keri Putnam via press release. "We look forward to celebrating the energy of this work and these artists and to sharing it with a larger community in collaboration with like - minded cultural institutions.”

Some other films that have premiered in the NEXT section include "Bellflower," "Compliance," "Sleepwalk with Me" and "Sound of my Voice."

"The best part of independent filmmaking is the freedom to tell your stories your own way, to take risks and not be beholden to convention of any kind," said Sundance President & Founder Robert Redford. "At the core of NEXT WEEKEND are artists that are taking risks and pushing boundaries . As such, it’s fitting that Sundance Cinemas will be the home for this festival and these films."

NEXT WEEKEND takes place August 8-11, 2013 at, as Mr. Redford notes, the Sundance Cinemas in the heart of West Hollywood. The newly renovated complex that used to house the Laemmle Sunset 5 cinemas seemed to be crying out for something like this to take up residence. For more information, visit www.sundance.org/events/next-weekend.

And once more for good measure: Congratulations, Chad!

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.