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Penn State Students Return From Sundance Film Festival

Six Penn State film students embarked on a trip to the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January. The students that went, all members of the Penn State Student Film Organization, were Tiffany Breon, Maria Gagas, Caleb Yoder, Adam Letavish, Kevin Clancy, and Cora Hankey, who organized the trip.

Sundance Film Festival is a 10-day film event that takes place annually in Utah. Sundance has contributed to the success of famous films like “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Boyhood,” and Penn State’s own “Happy Valley” which won the award for best documentary feature at Sundance in 2014.

At Sundance, the six had the opportunity to network and meet successful people in the film industry who could potentially help them with their careers later on. They even met some actors such as John Krasinski, Lena Dunham, as well as other filmmakers, producers, directors, and film students from all over the world.

At the festival the students received the chance to develop creative ideas by evaluating other filmmakers’ work. For all we know, in the future one, or all, of them will become the creators of the next big hit Sundance film.

“As a filmmaker, getting one of my own films into Sundance sometime in the future is my ultimate goal,” Hankey, who planned the trip, said. “After speaking with many first-time directors at Sundance, I’ve learned the key for any young filmmaker is to keep networking with other artists and never stop working.” The students were grateful for the amazing opportunity and all echoed they are extremely thankful to UPAC and those who donated to their Gofundme.

Next up for the aspiring film aficionados is the Blue & White Film Festival at the end of April. “Submitting student films to smaller festivals like this gives us the opportunity to work our way up to bigger festivals like Sundance,” Hankey said.

One day they may be watching their own movie at Sundance.

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About the Author

Erin Servey

Erin Servey writes and copy-edits for Onward State. She's a Junior Schreyer Honors Scholar and Paterno Fellow at Penn State, studying English and psychology, with a French minor. Editing, poetry, and photography are her passions. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ErinEServey).


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