While most people are familiar with the Sundance Film Festival, some may not know that Utah hosts different film festivals every month.
The Zion Indie Film Fest has been around for 22 years under a different name. Up until this year, the festival was called the LDS film festival.
The film festival switched ownership two years ago with the new owners honoring the old name for one last year. This year is the kickoff of the new branding which is meant to expand the audience while maintaining the core values of the festival.
“This film festival is about celebrating and connecting filmmakers and storytellers in an environment that will be welcoming but will still keep that family friendly idea,” Board of Directors member Rebecca Cressman said.
This year, the festival doubled in submissions and is showcasing over 85 films from 15 states, including a documentary produced by BYU students called “The Black 14.” With the increased interest and submissions, the owners plan to take the festival from four days to six in the coming years.
The festival continued until Saturday, Mar. 18, providing a gathering place for filmmakers and families just as was intended in the new festival name.
“Zion is not just a geographical area,” Marshall Moore said, “Zion is wherever you are and wherever you are gathered.”
The festival kickoff began with a feature film from Angel Studios, the same studio who distributes The Chosen series. The film, titled “His Only Son,” tells the Old Testament story of Abraham and his son Isaac. The film has not yet hit theaters, as it is set to premiere at the end of March in 1,800 theaters around the world.
For festival directors, this festival was meant to bring people together to connect emotionally and spiritually through film.
“The world is a lot lonelier when we are not coming together and sharing each other’s stories,” Cressman said.