On the Ice: The Sundance Movie I Regret Walking Out Of


In middle school, I walked out of a film at the 2011 Sundance festival. My stepmother and I went to see On the Ice (2011), a film by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean that focuses on teenagers living in Barrow, Alaska (later renamed Utqiagvik in 2016). She invited me along because I lived in Alaska for most of the year, admittedly a bit further south than where the story takes place. Both of us entered the festival eager to see if On the Ice represented life in the “last frontier.” However, after about thirty minutes, the movie took a dark and violent turn. Read More >>

“Clean” is a modern homage to “Taxi Driver”.


At a first glance, the “Clean” trailer was everything you could want from an independent action film. Adrien Brody stars as a hitman-turned-garbageman who goes from stacking trash to stacking bodies after a run-in with the mafia puts a target on his back and innocent people in danger. Brody, who co-wrote the film, said in… Read more »

The Michael Myers Impact


Lauren Bjella analyzes the “Halloween” franchise and its impact starting as an independent film, with the 40th anniversary of “Halloween II” (1981).

Screen capture of cast table read

Sustaining Joy and Creativity within a Pandemic


We find ourselves in a global pandemic, quarantined in our homes, and collectively isolated from our loved ones. Members of the Black community are facing police violence and murder at an unwavering rate and the Trump Administration continues to avoid acknowledging these atrocities; yet, thousands of protesters have turned up in order to speak out… Read more »

Going for The Jugular: Actor/Writer/Director Camille Hollett-French


Ever doubt your sanity after selling your condo and moving halfway across the country? Meet Camille Hollett-French, writer, director, and actor of Her Story (In Three Parts): No. 3 In the Absence of Angels. Despite doubts and financial obstacles, her efforts were awarded when was selected to screen at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, the Park City film festival focused on emerging artists and low-budget independent films. In this piece, Courtney Gardner writes from a conversation with Hollett-French about the use of film to discuss sexuality and shame, and about what it means to go for the jugular.

The Wild Immersion: What is The Role of VR in Saving Wildlife?


Ready for an unforgettable ride? Fasten your VR headset as Courtney Gardner shares her first experience with VR in The Wild Immersion at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film’s director, Adrien Moisson, takes the journey too, sharing with Courtney his views about the potential for  VR technology to create new forms of compassion and empathy—in this case around the needs of large animals around the world.