Students Learn Lessons from Sundance Festival

Sunday, March 1, 2009

TV Channel 3, Point Loma Nazarene University
Department of Communication and Theatre

Contact: Sherene Ebrahimi, Marketing & Promotions Manager
Cell Phone: 760-580-5953
Advisor: Alan Hueth (619) 849-2358
Written by: Monica Rojas
Date: March 1, 2009

Two PLNU students had an extraordinary experience as they traveled to Utah to participate in the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival. Jake Schafer and Justin Hagan are the first two students to ever participate in the Communication and Theater Department’s newest course, COM 490: Special Topics--Sundance Film Festival, taught by Dr. Alan Hueth.

The Sundance Film Festival is the biggest event of the year for independent films. Every year, thousands of submissions compete in seven different categories, four of which are judged by a jury. The films are then narrowed down to 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films and 80 short films. Point Loma had a special interest in the competition this year, having one alumni competing in the festival.

As part of the course, Hagan and Schafer screened 19 films at the festival, than wrote ten short film analysis papers and one major term paper.

The PLNU Sundance program was assisted by the Windrider Forum, a non-profit educational organization that assists in providing free housing and supplemental film screenings and educational sessions. The PLNU group joined faculty and students from three other Christian universities: Biola, Taylor, and Fuller Theological Seminary.

Students were also able to participate in a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers after each film. According to Hueth, the first trip was a huge success. “It was an extremely valuable experience,” says Hueth. “And I hope that students will want to attend the festival next year.”

The course is scheduled to be offered every spring semester. Information on registering for the class will be available at the next advising chapel. Students not involved in the department can get information by contacting Dr. Hueth at, or his office phone at 619-849-2358. A program meeting, planning, and registration session is being planned for the next year’s program, and will occur sometime in October 2009.