Movie premieres, live music, one-of-a-kind dining experiences, celebrities, and absolutely freezing temperatures are what make the Sundance Film Festival such an amazing and unique experience. This year’s film festival in Park City, UT starts off the year with renewed exuberance now that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have come to an end. While the big stars and large-budget tentpole films tend to dominate the market, and there are still plenty of those at Sundance, the real magic and charm comes from the fresh faces on the scene, arriving with passion about the independent films that they put so much heart and soul into making.
Oddly enough, one of my favorite premiere experiences did come from a Disney production, and it received two standing ovations. Out of My Mind was an excellent coming-of-age film by director Amber Sealey that centered around a young girl struggling with cerebral palsy while navigating sixth grade life. During the mingling surrounding the screening, I had the pleasure of chatting with the brilliantly talented Judith Light (tick, tick… BOOM!, The Menu), who has been lighting up film and television screens for four decades. Judith was a delight, and I highly recommend giving this film a watch when you can. Judith Light at Sundance 2024 with Nina Ameri: Apart from the screenings, the festival is packed with so many events on any given day that it is literally impossible to see them all. From the Shutterstock event tent, which had some of the best charcuterie and coffee I’ve ever had, to the Chefdance Experience, where an expertly crafted four-course dinner excited the palate, to the Film Fatale’s female driven filmmaker panel, there was never a moment that left you wanting. It was at the Chase Sapphire Private Lounge that I was able to chat up several of the rising filmmakers, including Jacques Thelemaque, who is the founder of the Filmmaker Alliance. We also attended the AEB event at the Impact Lounge:
which hosted a panel on social impact films. They focused on some amazing filmmakers and the work they are doing to bring attention to marginalized peoples and communities in their work. Having socially conscious events like this at large festivals is a great way to bring focus to important issues. I would enjoy seeing more of this.
Overall, the cold and snow were a nice change of pace to the usual Southern California weather that I am used to. The amenities of the festival were as fantastic as ever, and it is easy to see why so many flock to Park City for this event every year. I cannot wait for Sundance 2025.
Sundance 2024 BY Nina Ameri From: January 22, 2024