Exploring cinema and craft is top priority at Sundance Film Festival

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Calvin Knight
Robert Redford leads a forum discussion at the Sundance Film Festival Day One press conference in 2014. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Some catch the most hyped films at Sundance this year, and others will take advantage of the plethora of educational and networking events offered at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

Educational events include “The Art of Film Weekend” forum series, which George Lucas and festival founder Robert Redford kick off in a collaborative forum. Film critic Leonard Maltin will be in attendance, moderating this opening event featuring Lucas and Redford, who will discuss their creative process and careers.

Other industry players will be featured in forums throughout the weekend of Jan. 29–31.

“Exploring cinema, body and soul, ‘Art of Film Weekend’ will take aspiring filmmakers and film-loving audiences behind the scenes to see the creative, collaborative spirit of artists at every stage of the independent filmmaking process that is so core to our Festival,” John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, said in a press release.

The forum series will delve deeply into the creative process of cinema and cover all the elements of film — from writing, directing and acting to cinematography, editing and different types of design — according to a Sundance Institute press release.

The Redford and Lucas opening event, “Power Of Story: Visions of Independence,” will take place  Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City.

Frank Masi, SMPSP
Robert Redford in a scene from “A Walk in the Woods,” a film premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film was based on Bill Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Los Angeles casting director Amanda Jacoby believes attending these types of educational events is essential to growing as an artist in the film industry.

“Educational events involving film exposes other filmmakers to experts in their craft,” Jacoby said. “They provide a safe environment to explore and ask specific questions to the creatives behind respected content.”

BYU film alumna Melissa Marquez likewise believes the festival, as well as the educational events it offers, expands her knowledge of the filmmaking process.

“I honestly appreciate the opportunities Sundance brings to me as an aspiring filmmaker,” Marquez said. “It has helped my career to talk to these filmmakers because they give me advice on collaboration, work ethic and about not forgetting our passion for the art form. I know their experiences, both good and bad, help me prepare for the projects I will have in the future.”

“Art of Film Weekend” will be streamed live on sundance.org for those who cannot attend.

The Sundance Institute offers other educational programs for filmmakers. “(It) provides resources to independent artists on a year-round basis through its 24 annual residency labs and more than $2.5 million in grants. The Institute also holds public workshops throughout the year that provide expert advice and critical insights into the craft and process of filmmaking,” Sundance Institute said in a press release.

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