WKU Students Experience Sundance Film Festival

Jan 26, 2014

The WKU contingent that attended this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Credit WKU @ Sundance Blog

The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is known not only for showcasing independent films, and bringing together movie-types like actors, directors and filmmakers – but also for its generous amounts of snowfall and chilly temperatures.

For 23 WKU students including Jayme Powell, the Sundance experience was one that can’t be replicated in south-central Kentucky.

That is, with the possible exception of the weather.

“When we got back last night, it was colder in Kentucky,” said Powell on Saturday afternoon.  “But it was cold in Park City. We were bundled up a lot.”

Powell , an aspiring film producer says she saw 22 films at Sundance.  Many of her days started as early as 8:30 or 9 o’clock in the morning and often ended hours later with a midnight showing.  She also spent much of her time attending panel discussions with filmmakers and producers.

“It’s this unique experience where you have all these film-goers who love cinema and who are just completely obsessed with the filmmaking process and then you have aspiring filmmakers and everyone together in this one city,” said Powell. “ Just getting to watch a movie and knowing that afterward I can talk to the director -- right there and the director is sitting in front of me and any questions that I have, I can ask them.”

Several WKU students who attended Sundance shared their experiences on this blog

Powell calls attending Sundance a “necessary experience”.

“I had the opportunity to talk to producers and ask question.  Seeing the distribution process happening before my eyes was really an eye-opening thing,” said Powell.  “It was kind of like you have this surreal moment where you think ‘Oh, this is happening and it’s happening here at Sundance.' I feel like if you’re not there, you’re missing out on it.”

Among the films she saw, Powell counts “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”, “Cooties” and “I Origins” as those that stood out to her.  She says the show times often conflicted, keeping her from seeing every film she wanted to see.  Powell says several of her classmates buzzed about a move called “Whiplash”, which wound up winning Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.

The Sundance experience made such a favorable impression on her, she’s already circled the 2015 festival on the calendar.

“I’m already planning on going back next year,” said Powell.