Independent filmmaker and Slamdance Film Festival co-founder Peter Baxter shared his expertise with Salt Lake Community College film and communication students Oct. 30 at the South City Campus.
Speaking in the Center for Arts and Media television studio, Baxter discussed the harsh realities of the film industry, the pitfalls of independent films and ways to lower production costs.
“It was great to hear Peter give our students specific how-tos; how to get their films into festivals, how and what publicity materials to have ready, how to be ready to network,” says Nick Burns, associate dean of Communication and Performing Arts at SLCC.
Baxter also stressed the importance of good communication skills, which Burns appreciates.
“Once their work is playing at a festival like Slamdance, they must be available for public speaking. Writing and shooting a movie is only the beginning,” Burns adds.
When his short film didn’t make the cut at the Sundance Film Festival 20 years ago, Baxter and other independent filmmakers were inspired to launch the indie Slamdance Film Festival.
Student engagement was high during the half-day workshop.
“Our students had wonderful and salient questions for Peter,” Burns says. “I liked hearing their smarts in what they wanted to ask.”
SLCC communication student and show producer Michael Sanchez defined Baxter’s presentation as a large dose of reality.
“It was a brutal introduction into the industry, talking about how you fail most of the time,” Sanchez says. “Then it works out eventually, hopefully.”
Sanchez continues to say he found the lecture to be insightful and “really valuable.”
“I learned a lot on how the smaller regional festivals help get your name out there,” Sanchez adds.
After taking a CAM tour, Baxter had much to say about the state-of-the-art facilities.
“I’ve been really impressed coming here this morning. It’s an incredible facility and I think students are really fortunate to have all of this wonderful equipment and technology at hand. It’s been really great meeting the staff.
“I’m really glad that Slamdance has got involved with the community college here.”
Baxter also urged students to get involved and volunteer with Slamdance, which has expanded from its original venue on Main St. in Park City to Salt Lake City.
“I hope our students step up to Peter’s offer to volunteer at Slamdance. It’s a solid way for our filmmakers to see [what happens] at a film festival,” Burns says.
The Slamdance Film Festival runs consecutively during Utah’s annual Sundance Film Festival, which is typically held during the third week in January.
For Slamdance ticket information, entry deadlines or volunteer opportunities, visit slamdance.com.