Navigating the Dance: Tarik Jackson, in his Own Words

After years of reading about the legends of the winter I finally decided to make the 12 hour drive from Los Angeles to the mountains of Utah to attend the 2013 Sundance film festival. Motivated by the priemere of Fruitvale myself, Lori Webster and Jamari Perry set out to witness Sundance for the first time and boy were we surprised.

We left Friday morning with no tickets, no passes and no experience at the festival.  If we were going to have a good time we had to learn quick. The first order of business at the dance is getting into screenings.  What they don’t tell you about Sundance before you get there is that all of theaters are spread throughout Park City, and there’s only one theatre located on Main street.  Main street is the center of the festival where most festival goers occupy throughout the day looking for fun activities to attend.  So if your not attending a screening at the Egyptian on Main Street you must take a bus to one of the many theaters that Park City offers.  If you are without a ticket or your a non pass holder of the film you wish to see you must show up two hours before the screening in order to get a spot in the wait list line.  The wait list is a system where you wait in line hoping there are extra seats in the screening, so that you can view the film.  If there are no extra seats you don’t get to see the film.   If you don’t get to see the film of your choice your day is basically done because by the time you travel to another theatre you will miss the wait list for the next film.

We were lucky to not only get into the premeire of Fruitvale, but also a screening of Newlyweeds directed by recent NYU grad Chaka King.  We were also able to see Stoker the new Chan-wook Park film (Old Boy) starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.

Fruitvale premiered to an audience of Sundance attendees who wept so loud during the pivotal scenes that you couldn’t hear what was on the screen.  The film was magnificent and Ryan Coogler has become the model of success that all SCA students aspire to when they arrive here.  Seeing recent grads like Ryan, Sev, Gerard, Mike and Claudia premiere a film at Sundance was truly inspirational and gives us all hope that we can make pivotal features once leaving SCA.

Though our time at Sundance was short, the impact of the trip is everlasting.  Being the biggest American festival I’m sure we’ll be back, but next time we’ll be more prepared to take on the festival!

– Tarik Jackson, SCA Production MFA ’13

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