OH Takes Sundance Film Festival

One of OH’s biggest goals for 2019? Immerse ourselves into as many cultural events, conferences, and meetings of the minds as we can.

So, catch us a couple weeks ago at Sundance Film Festival making the first of these trips possible. A few of our daytime roommates took to the streets of Park City to become inspired, question their creativity, and take home glowing reviews of what some of the biggest movers and shakers in this industry are creating. Hannah Vandeventer, our Producer at Matter Films, took us through some of the highlights from the week.

Let’s go see some films.
When we first arrived on the snowy streets of Park City, Utah – I thought immediately about how lucky I am to be surrounded by this environment. It didn’t hit me until I got there, because of general work and life anxieties, but when we arrived I was immediately inspired. I was excited and motivated… motivated mostly to get our sh*t together and get into lines to see some films.

We were all first-timers at the festival, so when we went to the box office to get our credentials we treated it just like any other kind of festival. We were told you had to reserve tickets ahead of time, or get in the lottery through the app online. When you get there you realize that the planning and strategy behind this festival is CRAZY. The coordinating is beyond measure. It is so well organized, and even when you don’t always know what to do, there is always something you can see and it ends up being amazing. It’s Sundance! These films made it to Sundance. So everything is already operating on a such a high level. You know it’s going to be amazing.

This poor volunteer was standing there listening to us talk about our “must-sees” and she was basically like, “I don’t care. Here’s what’s available.” We filled our schedules with as many films as possible. We explored during our in-between moments, we walked around the town, we never went back home, because it was just a dream walking around and simply being there.

Favorite Films

There were two films that I enjoyed on totally separate spectrums. We got ourselves into Jawline at the very last minute. This wasn’t even a film that was on our list to consider seeing. It was an incredibly honest documentary that was so beautifully shot that we had to go and look up if it was actually a real documentary. The documentary was about a teenager from a small town that is a part of this insanely niche influencer circle that is not the social media influencer you typically think of. They are the young, pre-teen influencers and all he wants to do is make it and move to LA. It’s a beautiful and honest showcase of that world. It really stuck with us. We found the kids, followed them on Instagram. What we saw was so honest and true. We felt like we knew them.

The second favorite of mine was called Premature. It was a really raw story about a young girl falling in love. It sounds like a story that’s been told a million times before, but it was told in such a hauntingly true way. You felt the scenes and storyline of them falling in love. You could tell by the way they looked at each other what was happening. It took place over the span of just a summer and she falls hard for this older man, where she starts to be blinded by reality. It gets brutal when she gets pregnant, and it’s about how she deals with the whole experience. It was really gut-wrenching and really beautiful.

New Frontier: VR/AR Experience

We went to a AR/VR experience and that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. You watch a 21-minute documentary called “Traveling While Black” and it makes you sit in the actual scene of this documentary. You feel like you’re in it. VR and AR experiences like this are totally going to change the way that history classes are taught. People will be able to experience things first-hand. It was emotional and super involved and everywhere you looked told a different part of the story. It will change how movies and stories are told in general.

Gloomy Eyes

This was a sort-of Tim Burton inspired, woodland creature-type film. It was voiced by Colin Farrell and it had the room setup so that you felt like you were in this whole other world. It was VR-360º so you had to move your body in a perfect circle. They encouraged actual movement so that you had to crouch down and look under things. It was just as impactful to see the VR technology stuff, as it was the films. The amount of effort that goes into these total experiences shows you why you’re at Sundance.

The Sunlit Night

Some of the team also saw a film with Jenny Slate and Zach Galifianakis, called The Sunlit Night. They walked away saying that it was simply the “perfect film”. They said it might not have been as emotional as the others, but they said it tied everything up in this perfect little bow to be a truly perfect film.

Sundance Film Festival is a place that makes you hungry for more. It’s unlike any other, simply because the energy is infectious. We left with more knowledge, inspiration, and a clear sense of what it means to effectively tell stories. Our filmmaking will be stronger because of this experience, and I can’t wait to see what our team continues to create. ‘Til next year, Park City.