Our first day at Sundance was spent primarily at the wonderfully hospitable Mountain Vineyard. The staff and congregation at this church have thrown themselves into what the Windrider Forum is doing here in Park City.
In its fourth year, the Windrider Forum @ Sundance is attended by film students and Faculty from Biola, Fuller and Taylor. They are here to see how festival filmmakers interpret culture through the lenses of their 35mm, 16mm and digital video cameras. Windrider hosts Q&A sessions with a number of these filmmakers every day – and these filmmakers are often shocked at the hospitality of the Mountain Vineyard and the insightful questions of the students. Often a little freaked out at coming into a church, they normally leave pleased that they participated.
Last night we saw the short student films of two winners from the Angelus Film Festival. Lowell Frank & Destin Daniel Cretton’s Deacon’s Monday shot on 16mm was a tender-hearted, yet satirical look at the confrontation of sin through the eyes of a lawn-mower riding gardener – a young man who struggles with the understanding that he “is not a good person.” (Frank and Cretton are filmmakers who are also Christians.) It’s a good short film that repeatedly filled the venue with laughter.
Harry Kellerman’s The Little Gorilla won the Priddy Brothers’ Award at Angelus and is a delightful short film. Shot with a Panasonic DVX100, but looking like film, it’s the story of a little boy conquering his fear of climbing – with an imposing old-style monkey bar set and the Empire State Building as the antagonists. (New York City is one of the key characters in the story.) Kellerman got a brilliant performance from his lead character – and a very good performance from the lead’s older brother – his brother both in the film and in reality. Harry normally shot for only a few hours a day because of the age of his talent – and the film was shot over many months.
Imbi and I look forward to grabbing an interview with Harry later in the week.
Today begins with Craig Detweiler leading a class for the assembled students with his guest filmmaker Michelle Steffes and her short film, Driftwood.