Sundance Film Festival continues to showcase independent and international films

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Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival kicks off this week on Jan. 16 and continues through Jan. 26 in Park City. The internationally renowned event, featuring independent and international films, brings hundreds of filmmakers and celebrities to Utah each year.

This year marks the fourth year that Eric Boyce, a BYU–Idaho graduate, will be working at the event.

“It’s very unique. It attracts so many people from Hollywood,” said Boyce, who received a degree in construction management in 2010. “The actors, producers and heads of companies are there.”

In 1981, Robert Redford met with friends and colleagues “in the mountains of Utah to create an environment designed to foster independence, discovery and new voices in American film,” according to sundance.org.

Officially named the Sundance Film Festival in 1991, the festival continues Redford’s vision today, creating a setting in which filmmakers can share their work and ideas “free from commercial and political pressures.”

With its close proximity to the festival, BYU is often represented at Sundance by members of the film community such as Brad Barmer, a BYU theatre and media arts associate professor, and Greg Whiteley, an Emmy Award-winning independent film producer with One Potato Productions, who released the film “Mitt” this year.

Boyce, a driver for Miderra Transportation, recognizes the film festival is another opportunity to learn and see another side of the entertainment industry.

“The film festival is a really good way to expose yourself and students,” Boyce said. “It’s fun to see the money side. There’s a lot that goes into it artistically, but ultimately, it’s to make money.”

For some, attending the film festival may not be the most exciting if film isn’t a personal interest.

“It’s really cold. Everything is really expensive,” said Jordan Grimmer, a communications major. “Tickets are limited. They go pretty fast.”

While many companies are present at the film festival to gain publicity and increase revenue, much of the festival is supported by donations, which can be made online at sundance.org/support-us/. Year-round events are organized throughout the country to support the goals of Sundance.

Ultimately, it’s the total experience that makes festival attendance worthwhile.

“It’s something that you should do at least once,” Grimmer said. “See the sights. See the people.”

Tickets can be ordered and picked up from multiple locations listed on the official website as well as online. There are different options ranging from Festival Passes to Utah Locals.

The free shuttle service between venues in Park City is the best way to travel from event to event according to sundance.org. Parking at the festival is complimentary and is given to attendees who arrive early.

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