Sundance 2013: A Northwestern First

SundanceGraphic_E2_WebStoryProfessor Ann Sorenson and six film students will be making a first ever Northwestern appearance at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January. For one week Laticia Mattson ’15, David DeLeon ’14, Anna Carey ’13,  Krista Koester ’14, Chris Behnen ’13 and Mike Niedermeyer ’12 will be screening upcoming films and joining five other university groups every morning to participate in the Windrider Forum, a gathering of Christian filmmakers and students focused on faith-based discussion and learning.

Sorenson hopes the Sundance experience “widens [the students’] world in a way that will bless them,” wherever they may be in their film careers.

Mattson, excited to see potential blockbusters and mingle with filmmakers or celebrities, has had an experience like Sundance on her bucket list for awhile.

“Ever since I was a kid I loved writing scripts and making videos with my family and friends,” she said, “I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and entertaining others through filmmaking.”

The story of film at NWC

Upcoming filmmakers like Mattson are a growing breed at Northwestern, led by Sorenson’s contagious film fervor.  Prior to teaching at Northwestern, Sorenson directed theatre at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis where her love for stories lived on stage, no where near the big screen. One day she went to a “horrible movie” with a single beautiful shot in it and upon leaving, she had a passing thought: you’re going to make a movie someday.

At first, she said it was laughable, but that next summer Sorenson enrolled in an intensive film class at UCLA and came back with a wild idea.  Instead of a spring theatre production at Minnehaha, Sorenson and her students made a movie.

“I was totally over my head,” she remembered, “Naivete was bliss, but it got me out of my comfort zone.”

After that initial project, Sorenson earned her M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and returned to Minneapolis, starting a new career in film.

“I love stories so much and I love the visual element of film.  It’s an everything art, a combination of all the art forms.”

After their time in Utah, Northwestern’s film department will be preparing for their annual Five16 Film Festival on April 15, where students screen their best flicks to a packed out audience in Maranatha Hall.


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