Sundance Film Festival released its 2018 line up last week and we were thrilled to see that Utah is once again represented as a place for stellar content creation. The Utah Film Commission supported narrative film Damsel, which will make its world premiere at the Festival. Written and directed by Texas-based filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner and starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska, the production shot in Summit and Wasatch counties during the summer of 2016. Two documentaries: Quiet Heroes, by local filmmakers Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga and Amanda Stoddard, as well as Believer, featuring the popular Utah-born band, Imagine Dragons, will also screen during January's Festival. Believer was shot by Utah-based director and cinematographer, Andrew James, whose last project, Street Fighting Men, locally premiered through the Utah Film Center earlier this year. 

The fact that these films will represent Utah at the upcoming Festival is indicative of just how diverse the filmmaking community is here in Utah. These three films couldn't be more different in terms of content and format, but the fundamental filmmaking elements remain the same: passionate filmmakers and professional crew telling a unique, compelling story that can only be found here.

I often hear from producers that Utah crews seem to know how to do everything, which I know comes from working on a wide variety of projects in many different roles. Our film industry's strongest asset is its diversity. We have some amazingly talented people of all shapes, sizes and colors, and we will continue to find ways to bring these stories to life.

GOV. HERBERT VISITS YELLOWSTONE SET

Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of accompanying Governor Herbert, First Lady Herbert and Chief of Staff, Justin Harding, to the Utah Film Studios for a set tour of the upcoming TV series, Yellowstone. The first season has seen over 300 Utah locals employed since the production began shooting in August, and we were able to meet some of them at the studio – as well as the show’s lead actor, Kevin Costner. Yellowstone saw Oscar-nominated writer and director Taylor Sheridan return to Utah, having also filmed his last project, feature film Wind River in state. The show is a contemporary ‘new-west’ drama focused on the Dutton family, led by Costner. It is the first original series greenlit for the brand-new Paramount Network, replacing Spike TV in 2018.  

PITCHNIC WORLD PREMIERE

The Utah Film Commission sponsored Spy Hop’s PitchNic World Premiere on November 2nd. The event saw the world premiere of four short films, written, directed and produced by Utah teens. PitchNic is a yearlong intensive film class, immersing students in the filmmaking process. Since its conception in 2003, more than 100 teens have produced over 60 films that have screened around the world. It is an innovative way of inspiring and nurturing talented and passionate young filmmakers, equipping them with professional mentorship, funding and equipment, and highlighting local rising stars. PitchNic films have screened at over 30 festivals internationally, including Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival. You can read more about the 2017 PitchNic films here.

THIS IS UTAH PHOTO CONTEST

We kicked off the month of November with a nation-wide search for talent. A new initiative, aptly named ‘This is Utah’, was launched to find talented photographers to showcase the state’s beauty and diversity. With winning submissions set to exhibit at the Film Commission’s venue at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018, photographers were challenged to share location shots capable of inspiring filmmakers to bring their productions to Utah. From red rock and never-ending trails, to serene water and snow-capped mountains, the above snapshot of submissions gives a glimpse into the wonder of Utah’s many majestic locations. A Grand Prize Winner will be selected to receive VIP prizes, including a one-year subscription for Adobe’s Creative Cloud, a gift certificate for equipment rentals from Salt Lake City’s Pictureline, and official Sundance Film Festival credential and film tickets. The winner will be announced on December 28th.

Now Filming
Andi Mack, Series, Disney Channel
Yellowstone, Series, Paramount Network

Now Showing/Coming Soon
Andi Mack, Season 2, Disney Channel 
Enchanted Christmas, Hallmark Channel
Jade Pendant,
 Limited release
Switched for Christmas, Hallmark Channel

Digital Releases
6 Below Miracle on the Mountain, Bluray/DVD
Brigsby Bear, Bluray/DVD
ExtinctBYUtv - 1st season available online
WestworldBluray/DVD
Wind River Bluray/DVD
Wrapped Up In Christmas, Lifetime Channel

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