Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus hosted a documentary film festival featuring several films created by SLCC students.
The festival showcased two 30-minute films, the first being “Love One Another: Polyamory in Utah — A documentary film exploring the realities of life beyond monogamy, beyond polygamy, and beyond the status quo.” The other longer film was “Jazz Nightly.”
To set the scene, audiences were greeted by the lively sounds of a jazz band when they entered the multipurpose room.
The room was full of socially-distanced spectators, applauding after each film. After the final film was screened, the student filmmakers lined up for a Q&A, where questions revolved primarily around what inspired each film, and how the directors conducted their interviews.
The panel of students also shared their various triumphs and challenges in creating their documentaries.
“One big thing I learned was how to interview people, and how to have this idea of what I wanted in my head, but also not tell people’s stories for them,” said Amy Peterson, a film production/technician major who directed the polyamory film.
“There are a lot of things that are up in the air. You’re juggling a lot. You’re juggling people and when to interview them and how to interview them,” said Sadie Lynn Ledbetter, a film major who directed “Jazz Nightly,” which explores Utah’s thriving hidden jazz scene.
Film and communications professor Tyler Smith, who teaches the Documentary Production course where the films were created, conducted the event in support of his students.
“By week four or five, students come prepared and all do a professional pitch; they are evaluated on how they present the information. We then decide on which [documentary pitch] is most doable, [choose] two of them, then assign a crew,” Smith added.
The course itself fulfills requirements in both film and communication majors.
“Other than [a prerequisite], really anybody can come take the class,” Smith said. “We really encourage anybody who is interested in making a documentary to come take it.”