Almost every year, a small group of students from Eckerd College takes a trip to the Sundance Film Festival to learn the ins and outs of American independent film. This year our group includes a philosophy professor (me) and 15 students — with very different tastes in film — whose majors range from theater and communications to marine science, business and philosophy. We’ll give you the gossip on what’s happening in Park City during the festival, we’ll keep you up to date on the latest news, and we’ll post reviews of the best and worst things we get the chance to see.
Here’s a bit about us:
Nathan Andersen teaches philosophy and film at Eckerd College. He also runs the International Cinema Series and is the co-director of the annual“Visions of Nature, Voices of Nature,” Environmental Film Festival. This is his sixth year taking students to Sundance. A few highlights from his past trips: hanging out (briefly) with Forrest Whittaker, Darren Aronofsky, David Gordon Green and Guy Maddin … attempting (unsuccessfully) to get into the J.Lo – Ben Affleck (remember them?) party at Harry ‘Os … successfully getting into the Liz Phair/Ben Folds Five concert at Harry ‘Os … catching a midnight showing of Slamdance’s Paranormal Activity with almost the entire class and freaking out together as we walked up the long staircase to our condo. His favorite films of all time includeAndrei Rublev, Adaptation, Close-up, ABC for Africa, Rashomon, Persona, Stalker, The Host, The Eel, F for Fake, L’Argent, Sherman’s March, Stroszek, The Thin Blue Line, Funky Forest: The First Contact, Adam’s Apples, The Life Aquatic, In the Mood for Love … his students (who have heard it far too many times) laugh every time he tells them (once again) that “the film I’m going to show you now is one of the greatest films ever made.”
Hannah Feigin is a sophomore theater major, hailing from Long Island, NY. She grew up with theater in her life – as her parents are stage managers. She’s a photographer and an animal lover and her true aspiration in life is to own her own pet store. She has always loved movies and enjoyed unconventional films, recently taking to what she calls “Gorror films” that combine gore and horror. By taking this class and going to Sundance she hopes to open her eyes to the less glamorous side of movie making and to understand the world of independent film.
Kate Oglesby is freshman at Eckerd, still unsure what she wants to do with her life. One thing, though, is clear. She’s crazy for the silver screen. Her first film memory, from the age of seven, is of attending films at at a small city museum, that relied on donations to showcase the work of local artists and obscure films from around the world. She has kept that love for unusual and small films alive by being a regular at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art’s cinema program, and by maintaining a full Netflix queue. This year, she is at last making the pilgrimage to the indie movie Mecca and checking off one thing off her bucket list.
Lizzie Moyer Is a sophomore from the San Francisco Bay Area, majoring in international relations with a minor in French. She became hooked on film with the Original Star Wars movies, but since then has become more interested in films driven by story rather than special effects, like Garden State, Juno, and Trainspotting. Her favorite directors are Julie Taymor and Danny Boyle. She has always wanted to go to Sundance and meet the people who make the kind of indie films she’s grown to love (so that maybe one day she could do the same).
Aly Campbell is a senior majoring in Communication who plays polo and constantly mishears the television. She loves cupcakes, traveling, old movies, and animals. Her favorite movies include Some Like It Hot, North By Northwest, the Evil Dead trilogy, and Reservoir Dogs (mostly because she is secretly in love with Steve Buscemi).
David Font is studying Creative Writing and Psychology at Eckerd College, but his true passion in life is film. His favorite film of all time is Road to Perdition. He’s very excited spread the word about all that’s unusual and intriguing at the festival this year.
Travis Tyler was born and raised on the suburban streets of Miami, Florida. When he’s not busy killing “newbs” in Call of Duty with his roommate, he’s probably playing ice hockey, shooting hoops, discovering new music, or running around shirtless in his amazing dorm, Alpha Gershwin. Travis is a sucker for Wes Andersonand Quentin Tarantino films. His first ever adventure to the Sundance Film Festival shall test his intelligence, creativity, and endurance (seeing as how he doesn’t own a single pair of snow boots).
Alex Miskin is from Westchester New York, a theatre major who loves all genres of film. His favorite film of all time is The Big Lebowski. He’s the co-host of the Alex and Nathan Radio Show along with Nathan Rupp, and they’ll be broadcasting their podcast from Sundance, covering the highlights of their experience and discussing every film they see.
Chris Werre is a Marine geology major pursuing art and philosophy minors. He was born and raised in Pensacola Florida. With little knowledge of film he is trying to expand his knowledge of film by taking this course. Chris occupies his time by pursuing and advancing his knowledge and skills in the art of glassblowing. Some of his favorite films are Blazing Saddles, City of God, Gomzo, Where the Buffalo Roam, and pretty much any comedies.
Cassia Finkelstein has a collection of folktales in her personal library that rivals most chain bookstores. Her interest in storytelling brought her to appreciate film as more than just a means of passive entertainment. She calls a variety of films her favorite, including Fargo, Chinatown, Babel, and Catch Me if You Can. She has wanted to go to Sundance since she read about the course when she came to Eckerd. She hopes to learn more about what it means to be an independent filmmaker and a bit about the business of making movies.
Lindsay Comins is a junior studying communication at Eckerd College – her particular interest is in the media so she is excited to follow the media coverage at Sundance. She watches movies of all genres (other than horror) in her spare time, and is most excited for the documentary lineup at Sundance this year, especially films that hit upon controversial global issues. When she’s not locked up in her house watching movies and Jersey Shore, she enjoys the beach, fishing, and boating. Her favorite actors are Denzel Washington, James Franco, Samuel L. Jackson, and Will Ferrell and her favorite films range from Anchorman and Pineapple Express, to Goodfellas and anything with Robert De Niro. She likes films that have happy endings and that tie up all the loose ends, unless of course there is a sequel. Her primary goal while in Utah, aside from seeing many celebrities and directors, is to get a better understanding of what working in the film industry would be like and hopefully gain insight into something I may want to make into a career.
Nathan Rupp, a sophomore philosophy major, was born in Pennsylvania. Currently living in St. Petersburg F.L. for some reason since he hates the sun and warm weather. Nathan is an aspiring radio journalist and is currently the Program Manager for WECX. He is a closet romantic who enjoys neither long walks on the beach nor the company of others. He will be covering Sundance as a guest and will be covering Slamdance as a media correspondent. You can hear his radio show at 6:00pm Wednesday on 99.9 WECX or on his podcasts, which are available for free download on itunes or on his website http://web.me.com/nathanblack1/podcast.xml.
Frank Arcuri Jr. is a Junior at Eckerd College currently enrolled as a Business major. From Long Island, New York he enjoys most sports, a good book, traveling, and leisure time with friends. With a minor in Theatre he also enjoys cinema, and his favorite movies include The Shawshank Redemption and The Blues Brothers, but does not discriminate against any genre.
Kasey Clark is a sophomore and sociology major from Houston, Texas. She enjoys horseback riding, traveling, writing, art, listening to live music, and reading the New Yorker in the bath tub. Her favorite director is fellow Houstonian Wes Anderson, although she also greatly admires Terry Gilliam, Sophie Coppola and Nick Broomfield. Currently, favorite movie is Harold and Maude, but she’s prepared to make room for a new season of Sundance films to capture her heart.
Will Gentile is from Silver Spring, MD, a sophomore majoring in Creative Writing and Psychology. He’s going to Sundance for the opportunity to see films he might never see otherwise, and for the chance to meet the filmmakers and actors involved in them. His favorite movies are Goodfellas and Lost in Translation. He hopes one day to be involved in the film industry as a screenwriter and also would like to attend the AFI Conservatory upon graduating from Eckerd.
James Tobey is a nineteen year-old sophomore at Eckerd College from Austin, Texas. He is passionate about live concerts, watching films, reading philosophy books (sometimes others) and writing. He’s always been curious about the challenges of ‘making it’ in independent film, so thinks attending Sundance will be an incredible thrill.
To see the profiles of our Sundancers from 2009, click here.
Questions? Contact Nathan Andersen