January 23, 2020

Rough Cut Roundup: January

Rough Cut Roundup is a monthly Q&A series featuring the Department of Film & Media Arts community. 

Two major Utah film festivals start this weekend. What are you excited to see?


Sonia Albert-Sobrino, Assistant Professor

Knowing that the Slamdance Film Festival truly champions Independent cinema gets me excited! Anything on their program seeks to challenge traditional modes of filmmaking and that’s what I go there for. Slamdance lives in the future, programming not the films that have been shown everywhere already, but the ones that MUST be championed. I’m looking forward to see the Narrative Shorts program, particularly “El Infierno y Tal” de Enrique Buleo, a strange piece that as far as I am aware of encapsulates many of the things that I love in a film: surrealism, Spanish picaresca, dark comedy and postmodernism.  

Miriam Albert-Sobrino, Assistant Professor

I’m pretty excited to see the films that the Slamdance Team has programmed for the Anarchy Category. I served as a judge for that program a few years ago and I found it one of the freshest categories I've seen in a film festival. It’s such a “challenging” collection of films that, even those of us who think have seen it all, get gladly surprised. These years favorites to me are Knight and Feng’s “Sweep Away Hungry Ghosts” that will have its North American Premiere in Slamdance and Carlota Martínez-Pereda’s “Cerdita” from Spain! 


Chris Lippard, Professor

I am down from how it used to be when saw 20 films each year to many fewer. Last year the highlight was Runnin' in the Ray VR space, so I guess I am looking forward to the VR stuff most this year. Only trouble is I think I always get sick after putting on the headsets!   

Film wise I have not had time to study the schedule but there is a film called Sandlines I have been told about that I will try to catch. Shot near Mosul with a cast of local kids, it maybe can tell us something new abut war and conflict--perhaps even the little spaces of Utopian hope that do still exist everywhere. 

Sarah Sinwell, Associate Professor

The film I am most excited to see this year at Sundance is Bad Hair. A nostalgic and satirical psychological thriller starring Laverne Cox and Lena Waithe, the film could be a new cult classic! 

Emelie Mahdavian, Producer-in-Residence

Dick Johnson is Dead. KJ's films are always excellent and the editor Is a colleague and brilliant editor. Should be a fantastic documentary. 

Merritt Mecham, Program Assistant

I am incredibly excited about the return of Josephine Decker, Dee Rees, and Miranda July— a trifecta of fantastic women directors, all of whom have intriguing films in this year’s programs. 

Steve Pecchia-Bekkum, Assistant Professor (Lecturer)

I am interested in the special event Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on 'The Exorcist’, since it about one of my favorite films.  


And don’t miss Minari, written and directed by F&MAD MFA alum Lee Isaac Chung. The film follows David, a 7-year-old Korean American boy in the 1980’s who is faced with new surroundings when his family moves to rural Arkansas.

Last modified on January 23, 2020