Written by Spencer Aiello // Photo provided by Alita O’Leary
A group of Harding students and faculty returned to campus last Saturday from a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where they viewed films not yet released to the public and talked with the crews from the films.
The Sundance Film Festival occurs every January in Park City. Many universities come from around the United States to attend the festival, allowing students to see some of the processes and challenges firsthand of what goes into filmmaking. Harding students also had the opportunity last week to participate in the Windrider Summit, which offered educational sessions and discussions related to the Sundance films from a theological perspective, according to the organization’s website.
Harding students were able to return to the festival this year after not being able to since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the in-person availability to students.
Film program director and associate communication professor Charles Bane said being able to go on this trip again with Harding students and film majors was important.
“It was incredibly important,” Bane said. “The past two years were virtual, and though there were some opportunities for Q&A, most of them had been pre-recorded. There were no real options for connecting with other participants.”
Bane said the trip allows film majors and other majors to reach out and make connections to other students who are in different programs.
“For filmmakers, it’s important because they get to meet students in other programs and see what they are producing,” Bane said. “It also allows a glimpse into the trends in the industry.”
Senior media production major Sam Stebbins also went on the Sundance trip and said he felt it helped grow his perspectives.
“I think the Sundance trip is important because it has the potential to broaden one’s understanding of the world and expose any ignorance we may have about certain issues,” Stebbins said. “I certainly felt God pricking my heart during some of the films I watched.”
Stebbins said being able to go on this trip as a senior was important to him.
“As a senior, going on the Sundance trip was a really great way to kick off the end of my time at Harding in an exciting and unique way,” Stebbins said.
Freshman film major Alita O’Leary went on the Sundance trip as well and said that going on this trip inspired her.
“[I was able] to be surrounded and inspired by so many people who are in the same shoes as me, Christian — as well as non-Christian — filmmakers with low budgets and big ideas,” O’Leary said.