Name: Jennifer Burt
An independent film is a labor of love. With little — if any — fiscal backing, independent film producers rely on vision and passion to develop something lasting and worthy of the time, the energy, and the sacrifice necessary to turn a simple idea into a full-length production.
And in an industry that is very much about who you know, the independent film festival provides an opportunity for new talent to showcase their very best. The annual Thunderbird Film Festival at Southern Utah University, now in its 11th year, is just that — a showcase of the region’s very best in independent film.
And this year’s festival producers did not have to look far to find films most definitely worth watching. The 2011 festival, slated for Friday, April 8, will feature various productions from SUU faculty and students.
According to associate festival director, Lionel Grady, “this year’s filmmakers sacrificed a lot of themselves to make these movies.” Grady promises the end product will not disappoint.
The festival considers all entries, regardless of their backgrounds or experience and this year’s installment showcases a variety of filmmakers, from professionals to students.
Kicking things off on Friday, SUU English Professor Kyle Bishop will present his fan-favorite discourse on the cultural relevance of zombie cinema in “The Dawn of a New Kind of Dead: Romero’s Zombies and the Rise of Cultural Allegory.”
Additionally, Communication Professor and Award-winning filmmaker Jon Smith will premiere “Primitives Among Us,” a documentary about modern-day people who rely upon primitive survival skills in daily lives for everything from lighting fire with a simple stick to hand making pottery from scratch.
Following Smith’s and Bishop’s premiere productions, the Festival will also present “Martian Tribes,” a short film produced by a diverse assembly of SUU faculty, followed by a showcase of the best work produced this year by Thunderbird students.
More than just a unique opportunity for something different in southern Utah entertainment, Smith hopes this festival will provide a staging area for budding artists.
“We can’t just sit and watch the parade of filmmakers pass us by,” says Smith. “Even if all we can do is something small, we need to get up and get in the parade and share what we can do.”
The festival will be held in the Church Auditorium on Friday. Bishop’s zombie’s will open the Festival at 2 p.m., followed by Smith’s documentary debut at 4 p.m. “Martian Tribes” and the remaining shorts will begin at 7 p.m. that same evening.
Tickets that provide entrance to all the films within the Thunderbird Film Festival are $5
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