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Many people don’t think of Utah as being one of the global centers for art and culture, but they are seriously missing out. In January, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival will once again remind the world: When it comes to independent film, Park City is just as important Cannes and Berlin.
Tickets for Utah residents go on pre-sale Monday, October 16, with a serious locals-only discount. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker,sound engineer, or artist—or if you just love movies—it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. There’s only one problem: there are so many movies, and none of us have enough time or money to see them all. So how on earth can you pick just a few?
You’ve probably been told to never judge a book by it’s cover, but can you really judge a movie by its title? Unlike a book cover, which isn’t designed by the author, the titles of independent films are normally the product of long and careful thought by the filmmakers. A bad title won’t necessarily mean a bad film, but a good title tells you something important about the style and substance of the film.
Getting tickets for the most popular and most famous films featuring household names or the next big star can sometimes just come down to luck. But there are lots of other movies out there you might enjoy just as much. Look for movies that feature artists you admire. They don’t just need to be directors or actors. If you aspire to be an sound engineer, find out who mixed the sound on some independent films you liked, and see if they worked on anything that’s playing this year. The same goes for cinematographers, set and costume designers, or even graphic artists who make the credit sequences and promotional posters.
We all have certain things we like, and certain things we don’t like, which is what makes us who we are, but we should be careful not to fall into a rut. If standard Rom-Coms are cinematic brussels sprouts to you, don’t worry—there’s nothing standard about any of the films at Sundance, so you might well find one that wins you over. Try watching a movie in a genre that you wouldn’t normally watch. Think you’re too grown up to enjoy the movies from the kid’s section? Think again, because you might be surprised to find a lot of finely made, emotionally complex films you never would have watched otherwise.
Documentaries are having a heyday right now, in no small part thanks to the platform they’ve been given at Sundance. Even if you don’t normally watch documentaries, now might be the perfect time to start. And documentaries aren’t just feature-length films these days. This year, there will be an entire section devoted “episodic content,” as more and more filmmakers are turning to the episode format to tell longer, more complex stories.
Still, the most important thing is to have fun. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t try to hard to look cool. If you think a movie looks fun, go see it! If you’re a student of filmmaking, you can learn from watching any movie. There’s no such thing as a dumb movie: just movies for different audiences. As long as you walked away from the theater loving movies, then you made the right choice.
Mark your calendars, make get a date, and set the reminder on your phone for October 16 (yes, that’s next Monday!) to buy your Sundance Film Festival tickets. And if you’re interested in a career in television and filmmaking, check out BEAU’s programs in digital film, animation, or professional audio engineering.