Insights from short filmmakers at Sundance

Reading Time: 2 minutes The UVU Review attended the premiere of the Short Film Program 1 at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and interviewed some of the artists on their work.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Short Programs at the Sundance Film Festival have long been an opportunity for new and up-and-coming artists to break out. Many great films such as “Whiplash,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” and “Bottle Rocket” became possible because they were first presented there as shorts. Attending is an opportunity to catch something new and original, and to support artists in the making. 

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, there were eight Short Film Programs with 53 shorts in total, selected from over 12,000 submissions. The UVU Review was able to attend the first Short Program and ask the artists about their work and how they overcame the challenges they faced while filming. 

Alison Rich, the director and star of “Pathological,” a dark comedy about a pathological liar who one day wakes up to discover that her lies have become true, spoke on why she felt inspired to make this film and how it can resonate with a younger audience. “I think we live in a time more than ever where people feel this need to fluff themselves up and seem very impressive because of social media,” she said. “I think a younger generation probably feels that pressure more than my generation or an older one.” 

Aurelia Aasa spoke on the challenges of animation with “Miisufy,” which is about a digital pet. She described how with animation everything must be planned ahead of time, whereas with live action there is more freedom with improvisation.  

Yero Timi-Biu, director of “Essex Girls,” which is about a high school girl who becomes friends with the only other Black girl at her school, described her biggest challenge as capturing the specific time period that the short film takes place. She mentioned a scene in which the lead actress, Busayo Ige, realized she was wearing an Apple watch. If they hadn’t caught that in time it would have proved troublesome to reshoot the scene. 

“Pisko the Crab Child is in Love,” directed and written by Makoto Nagahisa, is a Japanese film about a girl who is half crab and falls in love with her teacher. Via a translator, he explained how his biggest challenge with this short was filming it in a single day through a home video camera.  

Alex Hedison, director of “ALOK,” a documentary that follows the nonbinary author, poet, comedian, and public speaker Alok Vaid-Menon, said, “The biggest challenge was trying to figure out the specific angle that I was going to tell the story [from] because there are so many sides of Alok.” Vaid-Menon described the challenges of being the subject of the film by saying, “As an artist myself I had to relinquish control to Alex…and that was a very beautiful experience for me to be the subject because I think so often I’m just making art about myself, so I kind of had to distance myself from it.” 

These artists are an inspiration to all future filmmakers who want to follow in their footsteps and tell their unique stories to the world. Don’t miss their work at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.