Real Ideas Studio
My friend Matt Went is here at Sundance, although not with our Eckerd College program. He is part of a program called Real Ideas Studios. This program puts a group of aspiring student filmmakers together for the ten days of the festival, and each group produces a final film in one week to be screened at Slamdance on the last day of the fest. There were eight groups, and after the screening I think its safe to say they all put a tremendous amount of effort into their films. Each film was a documentary about various topics in or around Park City, and all were intriguing. Having spent quite a few days in Park City now, I recognized many aspects in their films, or had experienced some of the things their documentaries were about.
The Real Idea Studios program is open to any filmmaker, or aspiring filmmaker, to compete for best documentary. The program seeks to redefine “real world experience” as a global collaborative and cultural immersion within mentoring creative arts programs. They also have an emerging filmmaker program at Cannes Film Festival. Contact Info: email@example.com
There were eight films in total. Dirty Dan was the film that Matt did cinematography on and was based on a legendary man to Park City nicknamed Dirty Dan. The documentary interviewed locals and people who had witnessed Dirty Dan in action while on a quest to find the man himself. The description of Dirty Dan various from interview to interview, but finally the group believes they’ve found the real Dirty Dan. The interview is climactic and leaves the audience uncertain about not only Dirty Dan but life itself.
Eight was about Proposition Eight, recently passed in Utah, robbing GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transsexual) citizens of marriage benefits and rights. The documentary delved into the effects of this proposition on Sundance, seeing as it is a queer-friendly festival. However the head of Cinemark, one of the theaters that participates in Sundance, donated funds to the anti-gay movement to get Proposition Eight. As such, both gays and other sorts who want to bastardize the children of happily married gay couples have found reasons to raise a stink about Sundance.
Steal Ideas Studio was a documentary about that group’s documentary making process. They document the other groups’ filmmaking as well as attempt to divulge their secrets. Eventually they “get in trouble” with the heads of the program, and are forced to produce an original documentary in 24 hours. The documentary is about the process of the documentary, and was hilarious.
3.2 was about the reduced alcohol levels of all alcohol in Utah. The film explored many of the ridiculous rules enforced when it comes to alcohol in Utah, most of which are caused by lawmakers. There can only be 3.2% alcohol by weight in beverages served in Utah. The documentary, however, didn’t really explain this thoroughly. I was left wondering, “Does that apply to all alcohol? Wine? Whiskey? What prompted this? Why does everyone blame the Mormons?” etc.
Live on Purpose was about a girl who lost her leg to cancer when she was nine years old. Her leg was amputated above the knee. She was introduced to ski-therapy, but choses snowboarding instead. She is quite revolutionary in this decision, and hopes her choice to break new ground for people with disabilities will inspire others. One of the most emotional of the documentaries shown at the screening, this particular film was extremely well done.
My Town was a documentary about a stray local dog named Maxamillion Snutz. The movie’s premise is that there is a stray dog (who apparently also has an owner) who owns Park City. He makes the rounds, pawing at the liquor store door until getting let in, demanding treats from everyone. Some comical interviews really add to the film, including one man’s rap about Max.
Sandwich was about a restaurant that is only open to locals during the festival. The woman who owns the local restaurant claims all her food is homemade, and as such, she can’t satisfy the demand of L.A., New York, film critics, Hollywood stars, etc. Because of this she has shut down the place to just locals, even hiring a bouncer for the door to enforce it. Locals report that the fare is excellent, and we are all missing out.
Chicago Mike is about a man who participates in the festival access program at Sundance, playing music and helping others to get gigs during the festival. Chicago Mike, a long haired, acoustic guitarist, plays bars, clubs, as well as riding sometimes in the music taxi and giving live performances while people are driven to their destination. Mike claims he doesn’t get paid for his work, but his motives are still entirely selfish. His favorite this is when people get together, make music, and let go.