By Olivia Call
Sundance Film Festival 2013 was far better than I ever expected. Being an aspiring filmmaker, attending this festival was the push I needed to begin my personal attempt to make a film. Although most of my time was spent watching films I did not mind. If I had a day where I was not watching a film I felt as if it was a wasted day. The films seen at the festival were amongst the strangest yet most artistic films I’ve ever seen, and it’s going to be very difficult going back to watching mainstream movies. I am happy that the festival occurs every year because it always gives opportunity for me to return again. Not only were the films unique, but the culture of Park City, Utah was as well. Being a born and raised Californian, I always was used to the sunshine, but it felt amazing to escape the Bay Area and experience an entirely different area. Not only was the snow untouched and fluffy, but by the end of the week I found myself getting used to 20 degree weather. It was a crazy experience to know that such a small city was hidden just 20 minutes away from Salt Lake City.
It was also the luckiest year at Sundance because of the film Fruitvale. Not only did our teacher Virginia McCarthy work on the film, but Fruitvale also won the Grand Jury and Audience Award. The night our class found out about the win was during a condo dinner and we were all so excited to witness such a unique and proud moment for not only our teacher, but for the bay area in general.
Being new to the festival, I had no idea what to expect when I attended my first movie. I knew there would be a question and answer session, but I didn’t expect for most of the cast members to be there. Out of the entire festival the Question and Answer session for Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes was my favorite. Not only was Francesca Gregorini a great director, but also a very relaxed and carried a “wannabe british” persona about her. That film was the only one I saw alone, and so I decided to take an opportunity to ask a question, which was rare, but it was a Monday morning so the theater was not extremely filled. Francesca was the most interesting director to me because she was a woman filmmaker who succeeded at getting a woman’s film presented in an institute ran by men. She had several different reasons for making the film, but always focused on advocating a woman’s right to make films no matter the subject. It was not just Francesca, but all the filmmakers that were making a film for more than pure entertainment were so interesting to see. Sebastian Silva, Director of Crystal Fairy and Magic Magic, was another simplistic director that caught my attention for reasons the same as Francesca. Sebastian’s cool and relaxed style to filmaking showed not only through his personality, but his films as well. I really enjoyed how the directors that were at the festival were as down-to-earth as the audience members were.
It is difficult to admit that most of the films at the festival will not make it any further than they have made it because of the Premiere films they were competing against. I am glad the festival changed my view on mainstream movies because know that I know so many smaller and more entertaining films are being made I will support them as much as I can. Sundance also changed my view on the film industry because although it is a competitive market, festivals like Sundance are created and it gives the small films a chance to get the attention they deserve. I went to the Sundance Film Festival with the biggest film Premiers on the top of my list, and ended up enjoying the smaller films a lot better than the larger ones. The experience was indescribable and I am going to miss everything about Sundance Film Festival and am very willing and eager to experience the wildness and cold all over again.