White Room Film Festival aims to show Wasatch talent
Every fall, the year’s ski movies parades through Park City on their march across the country. Often the films show segments featuring the Wasatch, and often those segments feature local athletes.
But there’s no single place to find the local ski-movie makers, no one event that features a group of locally made films. And that’s why FreeRide Magazine is hosting the Wasatch Winter Film Festival, or The White Room, as it is called.
"The reason is to showcase local talent, both in front of the camera and behind the camera," said Mike Sharp, the publisher of FreeRide.
In a town known for its skiing and the Sundance Film Festival, The White Room makes perfect sense, Sharp has noted.
The festival will run this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. at the Prospector Square Conference Center, featuring five-minute ski movie clips and 20-minute-long shorts filmed almost exclusively by local talent in the Wasatch Mountains.
A variety of ski and snowboard movie veterans will attend the screenings, including local athletes Gordy Peifer, Justin White, Josh Madsen and Julian Carr and filmmaker Noah Howell of Powderwhore Productions.
As of Wednesday, a few days before the film submission deadline, Sharp said he had 12 films total, with more expected. The filmmakers, he said, range from professional-level cinematographers to pure amateur pieces composed by local students.
The works will be divided into categories according to who makes them, what they feature and where they take place. There will be age divisions for middle school, high school and open submissions. The sport divisions will feature Alpine, snowboard, telemark and mixed designations. The divisions for setting are terrain park, resort and backcountry.
Sharp said the festival will start with screenings of some better-known and well regarded local films and will continue around 7 p.m. with the amateur films. Those will screen for the remainder of the night.
Sharp also said audience members would have a chance to grill both the filmmakers and skiers.
"Before every film we’ll get the athletes and the producers up to talk about their movies," he said.
Each one will be followed by a short question-and-answer session, he added. Guest emcees will run the show. Sharp said the festival would give away more than $10,000 in gear and lift tickets to the filmmakers and raffle-winners at the event.
He noted the film festival’s growth.
"We’re basically already at the level of the Cold Smoke Awards," he said, speaking about Bozeman, Montana’s two-year-old local ski film festival.
The demand behind the shows is easy to understand. With a group of willing filmmakers and an audience willing to watch Sharp said he thinks The White Room can succeed in its first year and grow in the future.
"It’s just cool to go and see a movie where you know the people on the screen," said Sharp. "To see your friend on the big screen in a well-produced film is just so cool."
Soon enough, local skiers will have that chance.
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City Hall in December posted strong sales-tax numbers, powering past projections and nearly equaling the figure from the same month in the previous year, as Park City continued to beat expectations amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.