Marking its 20th anniversary, the Utah Film Center’s Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival set for Oct. 12-15

EDITOR’S NOTE: This three-article package highlights the Utah Film Center’s Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. The second feature is a detailed description of the festival’s slate and the third feature highlights two film workshops that are part of the festival. When the Utah Film Center decided 20 … Read more

A detailed rundown of the slate of films for the 2023 Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival of the Utah Film Center

From the Utah Film Center, the 2023 offerings at the Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival represent five local filmmakers, 17 female directors, 10 directors identifying as a person of color, and 14 countries represented. A large majority of the films are receiving Utah premieres and at least one is being screened for the first time … Read more

Sundance 2023: Curious questions raised in the futuristic The Pod Generation are never fully settled but the film has plenty of heart to absorb the viewer’s attention

EDITOR’S NOTE:Thomas Dugrospez wrote the interview, with additional details by Les Roka Already an award winner coming into Sundance, this year, The Pod Generation is one of those rare movies where every answer the viewer might be given to a question motivates them to pose yet one more question and later even more questions. Written … Read more

Sundance 2023: A look at some of the festival’s elite class of short films and Animation Short Film Program

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sundance’s elite short film slate is highlighted. Les Roka’s reviews five short films from various offerings while Thomas Dugrosprez reviews this year’s Animation Short Program. The following five films from this year’s Sundance Short Film program stand out for their distinction and impact, as part of The Utah Review’s coverage of the 2023 … Read more

Sundance 2023: From the Iranian diaspora, a trio of outstanding films by women directors: The Persian Version, Shayda, Joonam

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reviews of The Persian Version and Joonam were written by Les Roka and Shayda was penned by Thomas Dugrosprez.  Three films by directors representing the Iranian diaspora premiered at Sundance and while each approached their subjects in different ways, the collective set offers a rich, comprehensive portrait of Iranian women as strong-willed independent … Read more

Sundance 2023: Food and Country’s bounty of information takes viewers on a cross-country exploration of new approaches for chefs, farmers

At one point in Food and Country, a documentary that truly puts agricultural economics and the impact on our nation’s food production system into a clear perspective, journalist and food writer Ruth Reichl sums up the precarious situation precisely. She mentions that it feels like a “terrible failure” because the problems were already being talked … Read more

Sundance 2023: Appealing family fare in Sundance Kids selections include Blueback, Aliens Abducted My Parents and I Feel Kinda Left Out

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thomas Dugrosprez wrote the reviews and Les Roka added interview and background notes to the feature. This year’s trio of Sundance Kids selections have something for virtually every young cinematic fan. In addition to the superb animation film The Amazing Maurice, which was reviewed earlier this week, there is the Utah filmed narrative … Read more

Sundance 2023: Radical electrifies emotional impact of innovative teacher’s true story in an Mexican elementary school

In the middle of the magnificently acted Radical, which received its premiere at Sundance, one narrative scene encapsulates all of the formidable barriers to meaningful education in a sixth-grade classroom at José Urbina López Primary School in the border town of Matamoros in Mexico. Alarmed by reports of the sixth grade teacher’s radical approach in … Read more

Sundance 2023: Going Varsity in Mariachi elegantly amplifies cultural psyche and pride in beloved Mexican musical heritage

Mariachi might be Mexico’s most familiar music to global tourists, In Mexico, though, it is a highly prized musical craft, with many stylistic influences that have been incorporated and which have greatly expanded its originating roots in the country’s ranches and rural communities. The musical art’s merit has been amplified in Texas, where more than … Read more

Sundance 2023: Amid fear and turbulence of dire threats to abortion, reproductive rights, Plan C documentary is testament of hope, resilience

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thomas Dugrosprez wrote the review and Les Roka added interview and background notes to the feature. As the U.S. faced the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, the role of health care and reproductive rights workers and activists became instantly criminalized, in a country where 1 out of 4 women … Read more