Monteque Pope- Le Beau
It has been a month since The Sundance Film Festival and I would like to say one more thing about it. 2014 marked the 30th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival and I was one of the privilege people to be in attendance. 2014 is also the year I turn 40. As I was going about enjoying the Sundance Film Festival. I came by a man and asked him how was he enjoying the fest? Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? His replied was simply “It is not about the movies, it’s not about the fest, it is about the experience, having fun and meeting new people.” I thought for moment that this was something my mother would’ve said and I had to agree with it. As I sat down to listen to one of the Freefail Panels: The Beauty of Failure, I found my mind wondering to long ago and far away, to almost the beginning when Sundance started.
When Sundance started I was nine years old I came from an artistic storytelling family. My mother and my grandfather had a profound influence on me; so I go up questioning everything and being an independent thinker. Plus a very creative little artist! One day my mother came and told me about this unique place in Utah which was being created for artists and filmmakers. As she talked my mind was filled with wonderful images of this place and immediately I wanted to go. I didn’t get to go that year, but when I was 12 she took me. It was a wonderful experience and after that there was not a Sundance Film Festival that we missed. Skiing and the Sundance Film Festival was always the best or should I say in my case snowboarding and the Sundance Film Festival was always epic.
As Sundance and I grew up; we had our ups and downs, hard times and good times, great defeats and great victories. We have faced our fears and achieved our dreams. We have lost love ones along the way, yet we have defied the odds and are still here. We continue to learn, explore, and push the boundaries of society’s imaginations. While continuing to persevere and grow into that which we were meant to be. In my case into an artist and storyteller, in the case of Sundance, a place where artists and filmmakers can dare to dream. Where they can take risk and not be afraid to fail. It is a place where ideas come to life and it sparks the imagination of those yet to come. This is the reason why I fell in love with Sundance and today Sundance is all this and so much more with creating a larger sense of community around the world. Still at it’s core is the place where dreams come true and stories come to life. This year was no different with great artistic works as:
Dear White People 104 min
Director: Justin Simien
Screenwriter: Justin Simien
With the polarization of races which has occurred at universities over the past years, Dear White People is a comedic study of the cultural mind set between blacks and whites at a university. It show nothing is ever what it seems and nothing is ever just black and white.
Fishing Without Nets 109 min
Director: Cutter Hodierne
Screenwriter: Cutter Hodierne
What make people do what they do, when they know it is wrong? Fishing Without Nets is a stark contrast to what we think we know about Somali pirates. When Abdi is forced in to piracy to support his family and to put food on the table, Abdi find himself entering a world where his humanity and loyalty is tested. Which will utterly define the person he will be.
Hellion 98 min
Director: Kat Candler
Screenwriter: Kat Candler
Is there such a thing as a bad seed or is it merely a misunderstood child acting out in defiance of a situation he feels he has no control over. Jacob is an out of control thirteen year old boy full of anger, who’s mother has passed away and his father is almost nonexistent due to his grief. When the actions of Jacob causes his young brother Wes to be taken from their home; for the first time Jacob must stand accountable for his actions and what they have cost.
Calvary 100 min
Director: John Michael McDonogh
Screenwriter: John Michael McDonogh
Father James is a priest full integrity and honor. He is a good man, yet he is just a man. Who has learned during confession he only has a week to live and at the end of the week he will be killed. Why? Because he is a good priest and the person who will kill him was victimized as a child by a bad priest. With only a week to get his house in order and make his peace, Father James turns is attention to that which is most important to him…… his family. A daughter who has tried to end her life, a town and community of broken people and lost souls. Before he can meet his fate he must make sure his family will be okay.
Life Itself 112 min
Director: Steve James
Life Itself is a touching and heart wrenching love story. A love story about a talented genius and one of the major influences of modern film. Who was also one of the first to champion independent film. This is a journey thought the many faces, facets and complexities of Roger Ebert. This documentary gives an intimate view of his life and loves, but most importantly it is a story of the man.
These great works of art are testament to Sundance being a place of life changing experiences and its ability to be truly for those of us who exist outside the mainstream; those who go against the currents of society. These works speaks to how it is a place which nurtures creativity and encourages people to grow and find themselves. As I thought of the changes that I have experience in my own life; growing up along side Sundance and the Sundance Film Festival, I had to smile as I thought to myself “Yes, I am a creation of my family and Sundance; and I am proud of it!”
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