Friday, June 10, 2011

The Role of Sundance

By Thomas S. Green

I found the atmosphere of Sundance to be both inviting and welcoming of questions and dialogue. Countless times after film screenings I would ask the people I sat with what their thoughts were and what the films they had seen meant to them. The majority of people were strangers I had never met. Without fail, everyone was willing to be open in their thoughts and opinions. This was a main characterization of my experience with the Sundance community. Numerous times on the bus trips between venues I started conversations about films. At other times I would passively listen as people talked sharing their experiences. What I noticed was that through conversation and exposure to alternative viewpoints, people’s perceptions could be softened if not changed.

On more than one occasion I talked with people at Windrider who had seen a film that they saw little value in, only to reconsider their initial position in light of the value that someone else had ascribed the film. One time while I was out to dinner with a friend we met a homosexual believer who saw Higher Ground. As we dialogued about it, the man said that he thought it was alright. After me and my companion shared why we enjoyed the film and what it meant to us he said shaking his head, “I guess it was really, a pretty good film now that I think about it.” After our conversation ended and we parted ways there was a sense that we were all three edified from it.


While I initially expected to be overwhelmed by a place I assumed would be hostile to my beliefs, I discovered a freedom to be open about my thoughts and opinions, especially in regards to my faith in Christ. In my summation this proves that the greater Sundance community is robust place open to discussion and the free flowing exchange of thoughts and ideas. Equally, the spiritual encounters I shared concerning the films I viewed and the people I engaged in discussion with demonstrate that Sundance is both a place where Christians can be challenged in some positive ways as well as partner in the shaping of peoples perceptions through sharing their own thoughts and beliefs.

Thomas S. Green is a recent graduate from the MFA Communications and the Arts program at Regent University. Thomas is passionate about filmmaking and exploring opportunities on how faith can be incorporated into the arts. He has moved back to his hometown, Cincinnati, where he is currently working on multiple film projects.

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