Dispatches from the Sundance Film Festival

Eighteen seniors, five juniors and two sophomores, all majoring in film, video and interactive media in the School of Communications, are spending Jan. 23-29 at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Please click here to read more.

Friday, Jan. 27

Seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt topped off a great week at Sundance
By Tom Galo ’12 

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and actress Parker Posey discuss independent filmmaking at the hitRECord.com presentation. (Photo by Tom Galo '12.)

Some members of the Quinnipiac Film Society were able to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s presentation of his website, hitRECord.com.

More than 1,200 people packed into Eccles Theatre in Park City to see the popular celebrity.

Throughout the night, he showed us shorts that he and his team made.

Gordon-Levitt also discussed his website and why everyone should be utilizing hitRECord.com. He even brought members of the audience up on stage to help with some skits he was filming for the website.

Toward the end, he brought out a guitar and sang for the audience, with one of the songs being “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.

It was by far one of the best nights at the Sundance Film Festival.

Thursday, Jan. 26

Films are strikingly personal to the filmmakers who create them
By Margaret Schimpf ’12

Quinnipiac students were given the opportunity to spend a week meeting film professionals and watching their movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Margaret Schimpf '12.)

One aspect of the festival that I found interesting and that stood out to me was how personal these films are to the filmmakers who created them.

On Wednesday, I attended the screening of “The First Time,” which is a teen romantic comedy about finding your first love.

Once the film ended, the director, Jon Kasdan, had a Q&A with the audience.

In most of his responses, he talked about how the film was so closely related to his personal experiences in high school and how he struggled through the same emotions as his characters.

Hearing this from a young director really put things into perspective for an aspiring filmmaker such as myself.

So far, this has been my favorite film at Sundance.

I hope that this film is picked up by a distributor so I can share it with my friends in the Quinnipiac community!

Wednesday, Jan. 25

Lauren Miller, writer of "For A Good Time, Call" met with the Quinnipiac Film Society at the Filmmaker's Lounge in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Tom Gallo '12.)

Passion can help propel professionals to success
By Tom Galo ’12

Today, Quinnipiac film professor Martin Lang introduced the Quinnipiac Film Society to Lauren Miller, writer of “For A Good Time, Call” and wife of actor and writer Seth Rogan.

Following a panel discussion she participated in, she sat down with us and discussed how she reached her level of success. Miller also discussed how achieving success in the film industry is tough, but very possible if you have the passion. It was a very informal and interesting discussion.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Professionals encourage us to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way
By Steven DeTeso ’12

Today was the Quinnipiac Film Society’s first full day in Park City, Utah and thankfully we had clear skies as opposed to yesterday when it snowed. This morning, a group of about 10 of us traveled into Park City early to meet with our professor, Marty Lang, who had set-up some meet and greets with professionals in the industry who he had worked with.

At 11 this morning, we met at a very interesting pizzeria named DeVanza’s. We first got to meet and speak with a very nice woman named Virginia McCarthy. Virginia works as a script supervisor and, as she was telling us, is about to start filming for a documentary that she’s been working on for the last 10 years.

She shared her experience with us of how she got into the business and just exactly what her job entails on set and off. I knew the jist of what a script supervisor was and does but she elaborated that she works directly with the director and editor and is pretty much the editor’s voice on set.

Quinnipiac Film Society students are attending this year's Sundance Film Festival with three university professors. (Photo by Steven DeTeso '12.)She is responsible for continuity and also times the length of each take and tracks the number of set-ups (each time the camera is moved or lens is changed) for the day. After she left to see another film, Brent Morris, who works as a line producer, met with us.

Brent has a film in competition at the festival called “Goats” that I would like to see but have to request a wait-list ticket later in the week.

Brent told us how he got started and shared tips on how to get ahead in the industry. He told us that line producing dealt more with financing and making sure things run smoothly on set and staying in budget.

After he left, we met Phil Dunphy, a Quinnipiac graduate who has been working in the business for two years. He was great because he let us know exactly what he did after graduation and had some great tips on getting work. He told us when we’re just starting off to say “yes” to every opportunity we have and to keep in contact with people, even if its just an email every couple of months. He met with someone at Sundance who he originally met two years ago and has now worked with since.

These meetings were great because not only did I gain more insight from professionals in the field but I also gained potential contacts for the future. One of the things I learned from these three professionals was that in order to succeed you need to be hard-working and persistent. Persistence was stressed by each one of them. They all said that we will succeed. We just have to keep our ears open, be friendly and keep working hard toward our goal, whatever it may be.

After these meetings, a few friends and I went to explore more of Park City and take in all the experience the festival had to offer.

We were walking up Main Street in Park City when I spotted Mark Duplass walking toward us. Mark plays one of the main characters on “The League,” a sitcom about fantasy football.

He’s here at Sundance because he’s one of the main characters in “Safety Not Guaranteed” which is premiering here this year. He is also the screenwriter for “Black Rock,” which is also premiering here. He was a really nice guy and didn’t seem to mind stopping to talk with us. We basically told him we were big fans of his and he thanked us for the support. He was very approachable and a very nice, down to earth guy.

Students hit the ground running
By Tom Galo ’12 

Today is the first full day for the Quinnipiac Film Society at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The weather is cold, but the films are great. Many members of our organization have already viewed films and have even met some celebrities.

A few members saw “Safety Not Guaranteed” starring Mark Duplass (in attached picture). Some members also have seen “Black Rock,” a film that Quinnipiac Professor Martin Lang and Quinnipiac alumni Phil Dunphy both worked on.

A couple of QFS members met Luke Matheny, who won the Oscar for his short film “God of Love.” This is just the beginning of what is going to be an amazing week.


Categories: School of Communications

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