|After one of our events held at the Utah Film Commission Headquarters in Park City, filmmakers (L to R) Kerem Sanga (First Girl I Loved), Mario Campos (Christine), Clay Tweel (Gleason), Andrew Neel (Goat), Jeff Feuerzeig (Author: the JT LeRoy Story), and Steven Kijak (We are X), have fun in the Utah Postcard set.|
OK, it's hard to keep posting consistently, so it was a bad idea to try to keep a digital journal type thing for Sundance this year. But now that the dust has settled I can report on the other films I got to see and some of the other experiences.
As far as films go, in addition to what I already reported, I got to see Nuts (Penny Lane), Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker), The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer), Author: The JT LeRoy Story (Jeff Feuerzeig), and First Girl I Loved (Kerem Sanga) They were all fabulous. I learned a lot as a filmmaker from each film I saw, and will make better films myself for having seen them.
Each year I host several Meet-the-Filmmakers events for my students at Utah Valley University. These events are a highlight of the festival for me. We get to sit down with these awesome filmmakers and pick their brains and hear their advice for young filmmakers. This year was the second year we did it, and it's definitely becoming a thing. Last year I had four friends who had films in the festival, so I just called each of them and invited them to participate. This year I didn't know anyone, so I had to reach out through publicists, agents, and Facebook. In spite of the cold calls, we had a great response. We had nineteen different filmmakers participate this year - including all the filmmakers of the films that I got to see.
It was especially cool to have Mr. Parker there. Less than forty-eight hours before he had just sold his film for the highest amount of any film sale in Sundance (and all of film festival) history, but he very willingly and humbly came to sit with our students and answer their questions. I think all of the filmmakers who participated have already had some kind of sale, and several of them had super buzzed about films.
If I were to sum up what we learned from these filmmakers I would say: just make stuff. That's what we hear time and time again. Don't wait for permission or approval. Just go out and make stuff. It doesn't even have to be good. You can make stuff that you never show anyone - stuff that is horrible. It's the work and the learning that happens through work that matters. As you make things, you hone your craft and eventually you will make better and better things. This is a universal truth that I hear in one form or another from every filmmaker I interview.
|After another of our Meet-the-Filmmaker sessions Utah Valley University Film Students pose with (L to R) Andrew Hyland (The 4th), Nate Parker (Birth of a Nation), Aaron Brookner (Uncle Howard), and Rokhserah Ghaemmaghami (Sonita).|
|Writer/director Rebecca Daly (Mammal), producer Mel Eslyn (The Intervention), producer Kim Leadford (Joshy, Yoga Hosers, Too Legit) talk to film students from UVU.|
Writer/Director/Actor Jennifer Prediger (left) talks with students from Utah Valley University's film program.