Jan 22, 2021 In Celebration of Independent Films
By Greg Hatch
The Sundance Film Festival—which will be screened entirely online in 2021, beginning January 28—has been a celebrated institution in Utah for over 40 years. And it’s been an immersive, annual pilgrimage for me since I moved to Salt Lake City nearly 20 years ago.
I’ve had the opportunity to be one of the first to see hundreds of award-winning and highly acclaimed films. You may have heard of a few that went on to wider release:
Born into Brothels, Quinceañera, Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire (later released as Precious), Gasland, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Life, Animated, Quiet Heroes, God’s Own Country, The Biggest Little Farm.
These and many other Sundance films have had a meaningful impact on me, and I’ve encouraged friends and family to see them, wherever possible. And, as the Film & Media Arts Librarian, I’ve worked with library colleagues to make it easier for members of the University of Utah community to see independent and studio block-buster films at no cost to them.
We purchase hundreds of DVDs and Blu-rays each year, many of them independent and international films that received premieres at film festivals around the world.
We subscribe to streaming film databases*:
- Digitalia Film Collection: A diverse selection of international narrative and documentary films.
- Film Platform: A collection curated by film experts and academics that showcases documentaries of social, political and cultural importance.
- Films on Demand: A massive collection of tv and theatrical films focused on education, ranging from the music, theatre, and art history to political science, psychology, and medicine.
- Independent World Cinema: Over 400 independently produced narrative and documentary films, ranging in length from 2 minutes to 4 hours! And all of them are available for public screenings!
You can find all these films by searching the Marriott Library catalog and limiting results to Audio Visual materials. Or, you can browse the new Marriott Library Media Browser. It’s still in beta form, so expect a few glitches here and there. But it does a good job of showing the wide variety of films (and video games!) that are available to UofU affiliates. And, if there’s a film we don’t yet own, you can suggest a purchase!
It’s important to know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, all physical materials—including films—available for check out can also be mailed to a home address. In addition, if you do not have a DVD player, you can borrow a peripheral disc drive from the Knowledge Commons.
* Note: Most databases are limited to those with current UofU IDs. View current policies here for specific details about borrowing physical materials.
Greg Hatch | Head of Creativity & Innovation Services
Creativity & Innovation Services