OGDEN — Sundance schmundance.
Two years ago the internationally acclaimed Sundance Film Festival abruptly announced it was dropping its satellite screenings in Ogden. The move didn’t sit well with many in the community, who had become accustomed to the annual smorgasbord of independent cinema at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in downtown Ogden.
Last year, a few people decided to do something about it.
And thus was born the Ogden Film Festival, which returns for a second year on Friday, June 1.
“When Sundance decided to pull out the screenings in Ogden, we felt there was a little bit of a void,” said Kasey LaRose, festival director and co-founder. “We wanted to give locals an opportunity to embrace independent film.”
So last year, LaRose and others put together the first Ogden Film Festival. That inaugural festival exceeded organizers’ expectations, drawing about 500 people to the 800-seat auditorium. LaRose says he expects many more festival-goers this year and warns fans to get tickets in advance before they sell out.
The festival will be held on Friday, June 1, at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd. Doors open at 5 p.m., with an introduction at 6:15 p.m. and films beginning 15 minutes after that. Tickets are $10, available at the theater box office or online at ogdenfilmfestival.org.
The one-night festival will include three segments, all included in the admission price — a short-films section, a feature film, and an after-dark screening for ages 17 and older.
This year’s feature film will be “Up to Snuff,” an 80-minute documentary on American composer W.G. Snuffy Walden, who wrote music for such TV shows as “The West Wing,” “Friday Night Lights,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Once and Again.”
Short films featured during the evening will include “Forgiving Pipeline” (5 minutes), about a photographer shooting the surf break that killed her father; “Tomorrow’s Shores” (6 minutes), a vignette reflecting on a future where most of the world’s wildlife has gone extinct from an environmental catastrophe; “To Close a Monastery” (5 minutes), about the Trappist monks in the Ogden Valley; “Brothers” (6 minutes), in which three siblings find refuge and redemption through their love of fly fishing; “Star Wars: Dresca” (7 minutes), about an injured Imperial pilot rescued by rebels; and “Maggie” (19 minutes), the tale of a stepmother with an overly imaginative little girl.
The after-dark screenings, aimed at a PG-13 or R-rated audience, will be “Stone Cold” (13 minutes), about two rival caving club members discovering a deadly secret in a new cave; “Last Lament” (4 minutes), a stop-motion animation about a vampire who returns home after being staked; “Innocence” (9 minutes), about a teenager sexually assaulted at a college party and the child who tries to save her from committing suicide; “The Dark Skin of the Soul (10 minutes), about a man who returns home in search of his daughter; “Enter the Fringe” (10 minutes), with a group of post-apocalyptic scavengers tracking down a medical-facility escapee; “Peace and Quiet” (8 minutes), about two security guards fighting for control on their first night shift together; “The Wolf” (7 minutes), a western involving ranchers being bought out by a newcomer to the West; and “Killer Karma” (8 minutes), about a bully who bullies a kid who can cause karma like no other.
The festival will include question-and-answer sessions with directors after each segment.
LaRose said he’s been impressed with the caliber of films that are submitted to the young film festival.
“We’ve got films submitted from all over the world,” he said. “This year we’ve got films from Spain and Hungary, Brazil and Canada. And, of course, the majority of films come from the U.S.”
LaRose said the intent was to make this year’s event a two-day festival, but organizers couldn’t get two consecutive days at the theater. He said they’ll “definitely” expand to at least a two-day event in 2019.
“It’s getting bigger,” he said.
The event is being presented in partnership with the Ogden Arts Festival and Peery’s Egyptian Theater. Sponsors include CIRCA3, Weber State University, and Studio 76 on the WSU campus.
“We just want to invite people out, and we know they’ll have good time,” LaRose said. “There really is something for everybody at this festival.”