Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Sam Morrill

Director of Curation, Vimeo

Sam Morrill joined Vimeo in 2009 where he currently serves as its Director of Curation, leading Vimeo’s five-person Curation Team. From customer support, content acquisitions, to curating Vimeo’s lauded Staff Picks channel, Sam has experienced Vimeo’s growth and evolution from a variety of different angles. In 2016, he led the launch of Vimeo Staff Pick Premieres, a weekly program in which the most celebrated short films from the festival circuit premiere online exclusively on Vimeo. When he’s not watching videos, you can find Sam traveling, watching baseball or searching for the last golf ball he hit into the woods. Sam resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?  

This week Rian Johnson, the director of ‘The Last Jedi’, uploaded a raw video of John Williams conducting his orchestra while recording the Star Wars theme for the new movie (https://vimeo.com/252417024). On Vimeo Staff Picks it’s super rare that we feature raw, unedited clips, but there’s something so magical about seeing John Williams bring such an iconic score to life. Maybe this is painfully obvious to most people, but I find it incredible how beautiful the music sounds even when captured through what I’m assuming was Johnson’s iPhone. It’s just crazy to me to think of that score as diegetic sound, which is what it was in the context of this video. I also love the fact that Johnson uploaded it directly to his personal Vimeo account.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

I’m a pretty political person, so I like the fact that we’re returning to an era of overtly political filmmaking. Not that I always agree with what filmmakers are saying, but I appreciate that people are putting themselves out there and exposing themselves to the criticism inherent in making a political statement so publicly. Whereas for years it felt like artists shied away from getting political for fear of alienating the audience. Those concerns seem to have largely gone by the wayside.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? 

I’m ambidextrous and my grandfather was a carny from the Bronx.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I’m most proud of the work that we’ve done at Vimeo over the course of the 8+ years that I’ve been with the company. In particular, I’m proud of the growth of the reputation of Vimeo Staff Picks. What began as this fun side project for us at Vimeo has morphed into a really exciting program that has launched the careers of many up-and-coming filmmakers throughout the industry. I feel like we’ve played an integral part in legitimizing online distribution (of shorts in particular) within the industry and the festival scene. Because of platforms like Vimeo Staff Picks, releasing your work online is no longer seen as subordinate to traditional methods of distribution. In fact, many filmmakers now aspire to release their work online.