Every January, the Sundance Film Festival occurs in Park City, Utah and the surrounding area. This festival is considered to be the preeminent independent film festival in the world. And it’s a great place for young filmmakers to go and see films that are not big budget studio-productions– and yet make it into the theatres and even win awards. Seven students from PLNU were able to go to the festival this year and see some high-caliber independent films and attend panels with the filmmakers who are showing their films at Sundance. They also took in an interview with Quentin Tarantino, who brought his 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs, back to the festival.
This was an incredible experience for young filmmakers to be a part of because it gave them the opportunity to listen to professionals in the industry, as well as viewing films that are similar to what they potentially will be working on in their future careers. One student even met the Oscar-nominated producer of Hacksaw Ridge, David Permut. “Panels were available to students to learn from,” said Sophomore Media Communications major Margaret Mann, “these panels showed us how the art that we make and the culture that we live in are parallel to each other.”
While the temperatures were consistently below 16° Fahrenheit, this did not temper the enthusiasm of the students at the festival. “I think what made it most enjoyable was that we were with people that really cared about film,” said Analise Nelson, another Sophomore Media Communications major, “they cared about all aspects of it and it’s just inspiring to be around.”
Students had the chance to view many different types and genres of films — ranging from short films to horror films to romantic comedies. “I thought that the genre diversity was interesting,” said Mann, “There wasn’t a way to pigeon hole yourself into what you were seeing or what people were making. So that was fun.”
Seeing this diversity of film also lead to several students talking with filmmakers about the industry and learning from these accomplished writers, directors, and producers. “Seeing a lot of different genres and hearing the stories from other people about how they got into the film industry was probably one of the best parts of the festival,” Nelson said. “It was also inspiring to see their passion and it inspires a young filmmaker to grow.”
While being able to talk with members of the film industry while attending Sundance, students were also treated to many films that had never been seen before which in of itself is a great opportunity. “I like the fact that we got to see films that no one else will see for a while and probably some that may never been seen again,” said Nelson.
Traveling to Sundance is an invaluable experience for any film fan, but for students trying to learn about the film industry in order to work in it in the future, it is an indispensable one.
For more information regarding the Media Communications department and what students and alumni are doing, feel free to contact Alan Hueth at AlanHueth@pointloma.edu or Scott Brown at email@example.com.