Nothing seems to amplify the magic of the movie-going experience quite like losing feeling in your toes.
Or at least that’s how it seemed last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.
Every January, anyone remotely associated with or interested in the film industry shifts their attention to Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival takes place. Over the course of ten days, casual cinephiles, studio executives, ski bums and celebrities descend upon Main Street in a flurry, enjoying the excitement that each day brings. While the first portion of the festival is largely ruled by press parties and Hollywood glitz, the latter half of the festival takes on a much more casual vibe that feels like a celebration of film in its purest form—and that’s where the Funkhaus film festival journey begins.
Movies have the power to make us feel, to see the world in another way, experience a tale not often told, and present an opportunity to become better versions of ourselves. After spending four days shifting through the ebbs and flows of Sundance, that notion has never been more clear. From dramatic features such as “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Lizzie” to the more comedic escapades captured in “Never Goin’ Back” and “Eighth Grade,” the Sundance lineup was varied, compelling, and dedicated to showcasing stories that go beyond the expected.
Emerging as a Funkhaus film fan favorite was “Never Goin’ Back,” which captured the tale of two teenage best friends who haphazardly navigate their lives in a small Texas town. Featuring Maia Mitchell and Cami Morrone, “Never Goin’ Back” brought out some of the best elements of film that Sundance celebrates: relentless creativity and unabashed storytelling.
Augustine’s Frizzell’s “Never Goin’ Back” brought a lighthearted comedic rush to the weekend.
Outside of the films, much of the magic that makes up Sundance lies in the in-betweens. Jumping around the ski town from one distinct world to the next is an experience that is simply uncanny. It doesn’t matter if you waitlisted a film, have festival passes, or snagged a single ticket—inside those theaters, many of which are reconfigured to hold such definition, we are all the same. Noses running and fingers a bit too cold, the moments surrounding a Sundance screening are intoxicating: everyone united and ready to explore and engage, experience and exchange—bringing out what makes film the powerful medium that it is.
And just like that, the festival comes to a close. The credits have rolled, awards been distributed, and feeling has finally returned to fingers and toes. Now back in the 75 degree weather that is LA winter, it’s easy to daydream about the bouts of snow and hours of storytelling that marked the two weeks of Sundance. Until next year!