Joseph Puente, second from left, during the Q&A at Section One Expo 2014
Film: Salt Lake City
Made in Utah
Section One Expo 2014 highlights the work of Utah filmmakers
While visual arts scenes tend to be local, film is an international industry. With the Section One Expo, local filmmaker Joseph Puente is trying to change that. Along with others in the local film industry, he has worked on many films by independent and Hollywood companies filming in Utah, giving the state a strong reputation as a place to come make films. He’d also like to give it a strong reputation as a place where good films are born and bred.
Puente aims to bring something new to the scene with this festival. “The Section One Expo was created to introduce the public to quality cinematic art produced by local film industry professionals. In particular films produced by or in association with Section One Entertainment, the production division of the non-profit Utah Filmmakers Association,” he says. The UFA has been active for the past 12 years, working throughout Utah communities to promote knowledge of the art and industry of filmmaking by hosting events including screenings and lectures. They are particularly interested in involving young people through after school programs, involvement in 4-H, and filmmaking workshops in both public and private high schools. The UFA has more recently began to focus on producing films through their acquisition of Section One Entertainment and the formation of a non-profit production company. This means that any financial returns are prioritized for investment in future productions and compensation of professional filmmakers who dedicate their time and talent to these independent productions.
“One of the primary goals of the Utah Filmmakers Association is to raise the bar for what defines a “Utah Filmmaker.” It does this first by example in its production practices and second by providing local filmmakers with some of the tools and resources needed to create works of cinematic art in accordance with film industry standards.”
On October 6, a score of enthusiasts were on hand at Salt Lake's Main Library to watch the dozen or so short films, as well as trailers and music videos, in Section One’s inaugural expo. The night's first block of shorts stayed on the lighter side, with mostly charming and goofy vignettes. The Collection is a beautifully shot chronicle that follows a young boy who refuses to speak as he collects and assembles various electronic components and cardboard boxes into what turns out to be a time machine. The limited dialogue keeps the focus on the intricate camera work, which was by far the most impressive out of the first block of works. MLM favored much more traditional shots, and instead focused on more boisterous dialogue to tell perhaps the night’s most outlandish tale: a small group of people assemble in the backyard of a couple, to hear the man’s presentation for a multi-level marketing endeavor selling meat, which he eventually reveals is made from people.
The second block of shorts took a turn into more serious territory. These films addressed – with varying levels of success – issues such as espionage, religious iconography, and the effects of PTSD on veterans of war in the Middle East and their families. This block also contained the only documentary short in the expo. Entitled to Life tackled the very prominent issue of health care as it related a few stories of individuals whose lives have been dramatically impacted by serious health issues and the difficult, or nearly impossible process of receiving health care. While the film relayed an important message, it suffered from choppy and inconsistent sound editing, which detracted from the impact it could have had.
The best film of the night was one which Puente himself wrote and starred in. The film takes place on the stark, oppressive expanses of the Bonneville Salt Flats, providing the perfect backdrop for the film’s narrative. A lone man and woman sit within circles of empty pill bottles, separated by an indeterminate amount of space. They each leave their circle to follow a breadcrumb trail of pills as they are confronted by disembodied voices firing criticism after criticism upon them. The trails eventually bring them together and the film ends with the idea that they have found solace and companionship in one another.
Even if the film wasn’t to your liking, you couldn’t help but cheer for the film’s coda, Puente’s on-screen proposal to his girlfriend. Section One might not have had the crowd’s Puente might have hoped for, but you have to start somewhere. Puente is committed to developing the burgeoning film community in Utah (he has even begun writing on film for 15 Bytes) and with Section One we hope he'll be able to continue showcasing our local talent (though we wonder if in the near future Puente will have the time—she said yes).
Up and Upcoming: To The North
Exhibition Listings in Northern Utah
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art UP: New Acquisitions 2013 features nine works of art recently donated to the museum by the late Joe Austin. AND: Enchanted Modernities: Mysticism, Landscape and the American West explores the role of the American West as a site for rebirth and enchantment, specifically through artists and composers who explored the visionary interpretations of the landscape in visual or musical form inspired by Theosophical ideas. AND: Black Mountain College: Shaping Craft + Design brings together a selection of works by Black Mountain College (BMC) faculty and students to explore the role and influence of the college on the fields of studio craft and design from the middle of the 20th century through today.|1| AND: Relational Forms: Robert Bliss & Anna Campbell Bliss highlights select furniture pieces designed by Robert Bliss and artwork by Anna Campbell Bliss. This exhibition is on display inside the museum's lobby gallery. The Bliss' moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1963 and have been influential in the art and design communities of the United States. Robert's furniture reflects modern designs emphasizing practicality without compromising aesthetics while Anna's prints make connections between mathematics, computer science, and art. This is only the second time the work of this couple has been shown together.|2|
JGO GALLERY UP: Mandalas: New Work by Curtis Olson. In his new series of textural wall pieces, Curtis Olson iterates an ancient, simple form to create works of multi-hued vibrancy and symbolic complexity. Using the basic form of a circle within a square, Olson thinly slices each circle into an unexpected spectrum of saturated hues. Olson says that among other concepts, the series was inspired by Native American medicine wheels and dance shields, 1970s sunset t-shirts and album covers, modernist color field paintings, and Buddhist thought. “By combining unique color combinations and a universally powerful symbol of a circle within a square,” Olson says, “I aspired to create objects that actively participate in peoples’ everyday lives.”
Kimball Art Center UP: RELEVANT, an exhibit celebrating the fourth year of the Kimball Art Center's artist-in-residence program that pairs talented and dedicated undergraduate and graduate level art students from across the country with nationally recognized professional artists. The exhibit features student and mentor artist-in-residence works from 2010 through 2013.
Whitespace Contemporary UP: Driven to Abstraction, an exhibition of painting and sculpture, will feature nationally-exhibited artists. Each of the represented artists addresses a different form of abstraction: geometric, intuitional, minimal, gestural, or some combination. For some, the form is the ultimate concern, for others, color holds sway. In all cases, the artist is interested in provoking feeling moreso than understanding.
Eccles Community Art Center UP: David W. Jackson is multi-talented as well as proficient in a variety of art mediums. Currently, his energies are focused on watercolor, oil and bronze. He is well known for his accurate depiction of wildlife and the western landscape. His rich colors and impressionistic style enhances his opportunity to display work in private collections and exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He has crafted bronze sculptures for Weber State University, Fremont High School, Skyview High School, Roy High School and private individuals and businesses.
Shaw Gallery at WSU UP: Department of Visual Art & Design Biennial Faculty Exhibition features work by the award-winning faculty at Weber State University including “An Unbearable Longing,” Liese Zahab'si examination of the construction of time and history, through the use of the open source collection of Lady Bird Johnson’s home videos; “Nest and Pile”, Susan Makov's paintings addressing ecosystem responsibility; and “Drive Thru,” Jason Manley's sculptural thought constellation inspired by the electric commercial signs, billboards, and corporate logos which are part of the western skyline.
Bountiful/Davis Art Center UPCOMING:
LeConte Stewart Festival has been presented on a somewhat regular basis over the years. This year the festival 'Utah Landscapes' features some of Utah's finest landscape artists and a solo exhibit of Simon Winegar's barn paintings called Bones of America. The exhibit also features select works of LeConte Stewart on loan from various institutions.