2012 Sundance Film Festival
Fourth Year at Sundance Draws Record Event Attendance
January 25, 2012
Columbia College Chicago had a big presence in Park City and a full slate of activities during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, January 20-23. In the fourth year at Park City, the college hosted alumni, friends of Columbia, industry professionals, and festival goers at several weekend events at the Waldorf Astoria Park City.
"We had record crowds at all of our events, and many of the attendees were heavy hitters in the industry. We also celebrated works from several alumni being featured at Sundance," said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Eric V.A. Winston, noting that the cost of the Columbia College events were completely underwritten by sponsors. The 2012 sponsors were Connie's Pizza, Monster Energy Beverages, Chicago Link Productions, Knauz Autopark, and an anonymous donor.
The college's Sundance presence was built on a relationship started from a suggestion four years ago by former trustee Lori Ehlenbach and her husband, John.
This year, an open house opened the weekend on Friday night. At a Saturday luncheon, our new dean of the School of Media Arts, Robin Bargar, and Film and Video Chair Bruce Sheridan presented a discussion on "New Media/New Cinema," including insight and directions from the first-year dean and a glimpse into the new MFA degree in Creative Producing, which had an overwhelming response in applicants for its first-year class that started last fall. A highlight of the activities was a well-attended presentation on Sunday with a one-on-one conversation with President of HBO Films Len Amato (BA '75) conducted by Sheridan. A Monday morning breakfast featured Carrie Beck from the Sundance Institute's New Frontier Story Lab.
In addition, several Columbia alumni were at the festival, including rapper/actor Common, and producers D.V. DeVincentis, Zak Zeman, and Paul Garnes:
- Horror film "V/H/S," from executive producer Zak Zeman (BA '08) who lives in Los Angeles, was announced as the first Sundance horror film to be acquired this year. Magnolia Pictures reportedly acquired the film, which received favorable reviews, for a price that was reportedly "north of $1 million."
- D.V. DeVincentis ('89) wrote and produced "Lay the Favorite" starring Bruce Willis, which was included in Hollywood Reporter's list of "10 Films with Buzz: The Fest's Best Bets." DeVincentis lives in Los Angeles and was a producer for "High Fidelity" and had small acting parts in "Grosse Point Blank" and "Blade."
- Common ('96), who lives and works in Los Angeles, was a featured actor in "LUV," as well as a producer. The Sundance review of the film notes a "well-chosen cast" and a "magnetic lead performance from rapper Common."
- Paul Garnes (BA '96), who studied film & video at Columbia and now resides in Atlanta, produced "Middle of Nowhere," a film about a couple separated by prison walls. The Sundance review in the Hollywood Reporter says it "strikes the right balance between realist family drama and earnestness."
*Photos by Samantha Kanzler-kanzlerfoto.com