Experiencing film

WWU students visit the Sundance Film Festival to learn from the best in the business


Last month, four Walla Walla University students traveled to Park City, Utah, to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival. This experience helped participating students grow their filmmaking knowledge, connect with possible future colleagues, and see that their goal of becoming  filmmakers is closer than they think—especially in faith-based content creation. This event also presented the perfect opportunity for both students and professors to network with filmmaking industry leaders.

WWU offers this trip to any student enrolled in the Professional Festival/Conference Participation class. A typical event day starts at the Windrider Summit, organized by the Windrider Institute, which encourages conversations between Christian directors and attending students, and creates an immersive educational experience. The Windrider Institute, a faith-based official partner of Sundance, also brings in filmmakers of films screened at the festival so students can have a closer Q&A session then would be available to the public. In the afternoon, students choose which screenings to attend for the rest of the day. 

The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the United States. It screens features and short films, series, emerging media, and performances, and it cultivates valuable conversations among peers and professionals. 

This festival encourages close connections through peer-discussions of faith-based issues portrayed in film, and deep conversations on storytelling and spirituality. Reagan Peterson, freshman digital media and design major, got the chance to attend and benefit from each of the screenings and events, and he said, “My favorite part was how our group bonded closer after spending a whole week together.” 

This summit provides a space where students can see that a faith-based worldview won’t keep them from becoming impactful filmmakers. Matthew Webster, production manager for the Center of Media Ministry, headed the trip and said this experience showed students “how God works through art to impact audiences that sometimes aren't reached through typical means of communication.”

Posted March 13, 2024

Three panel speakers on stage at the Windrider Summit
Matthew Webster with four WWU students at the Windrider Summit