My Week at Sundance

WORDS BY NIKKI BULLOCK / @NIKKINOUSE


This may come as a surprise to you, but living in Utah isn’t always that eventful. Sure, we have a cool music scene, stunning mountains, and the best snow on earth. Although sometimes, even with this hype, it can be a little dull. This is especially so during the month of January. The snow isn’t fresh anymore, Christmas has come and gone, and you can tell that everyone’s ready for spring to come knocking. However, in this gloomy overcast of a month, there’s a beam of light that cuts through the clouds: Sundance Film Festival. 

Every year for two weeks, Park City, Utah, of all places, is put on the map. Flooded with celebrities, film fanatics and tourists alike join for an enjoyable event. Living in Utah, you either hate the festival or love it. Being the aspiring filmmaker I am, I adore it. What are the odds one of the biggest film festivals in the world is held right in my back yard?

For the two weeks of the festival, I have a routine. I wake up at four forty-five every morning in hopes of day-of tickets. As a student, the packages offered are far beyond my price range. I sit huddled outside of box offices under layers of blankets, coats, and hats surrounded by my fellow film lovers; all of us in hope of getting our desired tickets. Most walk away empty handed, but this year was my year. Out of the eight films I had hoped to see, I attended six (which I will be reviewing in a later post).

All of my cinematic training had led up to this year. I must confess that during these weeks, I often put my life’s responsibilities on hold, playing hooky frequently. But if film is what I hope to pursue one day, where will I learn more? My statistics class or one of the largest film festivals? To me it seems justifiable.
I spend my days thirty minutes up the canyon exploring the transformed world of Park City, Utah. The small ski town bustles with life, the streets are full of cars, and there are restaurants packed to the brim. For a moment, I forget I’m in my home state. I see street art done by the artist Banksy, I meet numerous actors like Nicholas Hoult, Logan Lerman, and Elle Fanning, who only a week ago, the closet I would’ve ever gotten to them is the magazine covers they coat. 


Suddenly, I find myself in the heart of the film industry and I can’t get enough of it. There’s an undeniable surge of creativity in the air, artists, filmmakers, photographers, writers and creators suddenly have the opportunity to share and create their work through the Sundance Film Festival. It’s almost as if not only the festival transforms the city it takes place in, but all of those who attend. The flame of passion ignited in every face I pass, whether it’s the passion to make films, the passion to end global warming, or even just the passion to be happy, I see something inspired within everyone around me. 


Sure, I attend to see quality films, but I mostly attend to see inspiration, which is exactly what every person reflects. This energy of motivation and creativity that the festival creates is greater than any film we could see. Every year, I’m despondent to see the festival come to an end, but the feeling it has left me with will stay with me, pushing me to create, to try to make a difference, or to simply leave an impact. It’s the thought that if this small town can bloom into something so beautiful and so influential, maybe one day I can too.


                                         

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