Step Into The World Of Film

February 8, 2018

The morning air is chilled within the snowy mountains of Park City, Utah. The ground is freshly paved with snow from the previous night, filling the driveways with globs of snow. It’s 7:30 am and you’re on your way to see a Sundance movie. You walk to the nearest bus station in the deep snow waiting and anticipating the excitement of seeing a brand new film. You get on the bus with your knees drenched from the snow. You try to find a spot closest to the heater to warm up,You get off the bus and walk to the theater. Your eyes are filled with giant blue posters that cover the entire city. The lettering on the posters says Sundance! You walk into the theater filled with people holding tickets in line for their film. You get to your line filled with others waiting for the excitement of witnessing a Sundance film. You walk into the screening of the movie and take in that you’re at one of the biggest film festivals in the world. For some that might sound like hell, but for those who live and breath film, this is home.


Sundance is a once a year event held at Park City and Salt Lake City in Utah and is one of the biggest film festivals in the world showing movies that will be played later in the year. Most films that come into the festival make it into the Oscars. Sundance is also a competition for all the films being shown. When you walk into a screening at Sundance, you are given a piece of paper about the film, director, actors and a vote. The vote is what you give back to the volunteers and workers of Sundance rating the movie up to 4 stars. At the end of the festival, they held an award night of the winners of Sundance. Sundance is a 2-week event filled with screenings and events like meeting big time actors and directors.

This was my first Sundance festival and wanted it to be very special. I left on the morning of the 20th of January, 2018. The road was filled with snow and ice and the air crept with fog. It was like an opening scene of a horror film. Lucky after 3 hours of the drive, the road got better and started to bring me hope. Before I left on my journey, I looked up to see if I could buy any tickets for the festival, but sadly everything was sold out. (A quick tip for anyone who ever wants to go to Sundance, don’t buy any tickets until you get to the festival.) I downloaded an app on my phone of the festival and noticed that there was a pop-up about waitlisting on any film at Sundance. I picked the films I wanted to see and I got to see everything I waitlisted for. Most people who go to Sundance for the first time only get to see about 2 films, but I got to see 6 films. When I finally got to Park City, I noticed that there were thousands and thousands of people here for Sundance.


The first night that I was there, I really wanted to see a film called “American Animals.” It’s  about the true story of 4 college student’s stealing Charles Darwin famous books and his priceless paintings. The film is directed by Bart Layton and stars, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Barry Keoghan and  Jared Abrahamson. I really wanted to see the film but the waiting list was huge, but put my name anyway. When you waitlist for a film at Sundance you must be in line 30 minutes early to keep your spot. When I got to the screening waitlist line, my hopes for seeing this film were slim. 20 minutes later they start letting waitlist people to come into the screening. I was 32 out of 200 on the waitlist, but the screening was being filled by the handful. They let the first 10 in, then the next 10. Then my heart started to pump and my blood started running because I was so close to go in. Then I hear the next 5 people to come in. My heart dropped on the excitement. I gave the lady 20$ and walked into my first premier in my life. When the film started, my mind was transported into the world of the film. After the film ended, the director and cast came down from the crowd for a Q.A. I had an amazing talk with the director for about 5 minutes and it was one of the best conversations I have ever had. What made it special was that we both had the same story. We both had deep passion’s within film and why it’s so important to express the beauty from it. That’s why film is such an important piece of art, the art of storytelling brings us together .    


Then my whole Sundance experience went supersonic. I saw 5 more films at Sundance in 48 hours. I saw “American Animals”, “The Sentence”, “Jump inside my mind: Robin Williams”, “Monsters and Men”,” Arizona” and “Summer of 84”. All of these films spoke differently to me and showed me different lessons about life, love, honor, sacrifice, hatred and redemption.


My favorite of all of the films I saw at Sundance was Summer of 84. “After suspecting that their police officer neighbor is a serial killer, a group of teenage friends spends their summer spying on him and gathering evidence, but as they get closer to discovering the truth, things get dangerous. IMDb.” This film was amazing! I love movies and T.V shows portrayed in the 80’s and loved everything about the film. It was like The Goonies meets Friday the 13th. At the very end of the night, I talked to the director and we discussed about how film has changed our lives. At the very end of the conversation, he hugged me, and said: “You’re going to be a great director someday.”


Those words changed my life forever and it gives me the fire to keep writing and creating stories. I hope that everyone who either loves film or just wants to go to one of the biggest festivals in the world goes to Sundance. Why wouldn’t you want to walk around, meet incredible people and see amazing stories? After all, stories are want makes us human. “Sometimes a dream almost whispers… it never shouts. Very hard to hear. So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear. ”– Steven Spielberg  


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