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Alumni Come Full Circle at Sundance Film Festival

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Alumni at Sundance

accents on english

Newsletter of the Department of English
at Arizona State University

Fall 2016-Winter 2017
Volume 20, Issue 1

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival was a reunion of sorts for a few Arizona State University alumni.

A contingent of ASU faculty and students attending and volunteering at the Park City, UT, festival this January 2017 marked the sixth year of the competitive internship program at ASU. The group had the opportunity to meet and learn from Holly Vandevoorde (BA 2013), Barri Chase (MAS 2015), and Adam Galen (BS 2014), previous interns who participated in the annual film showcase in their new professional roles.

ASU Sundance interns 2017 / Photo courtesy Kevin Sandler

Vandevoorde is an account executive for Ginsberg/Libby, a Los Angeles-based public relations firm. Vandevoorde had written about her 2013 student experience at the festival, which she called “the opportunity of a lifetime,” in a Department of English newsletter. At Sundance this year, she helped publicize the premiere of several films including Where is Kyra?, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. 

Chase is a producer, writer, and director who screened her first feature, The Watchman’s Canoe (2017), in Park City, independent of the festival. The film was shot on the Oregon coast in Coos Bay—where Chase makes her home—and follows a young girl's spiritual journey to discover her destiny.

Christopher Bradley, Barri Chase, and Kevin Sandler at Watchman's Canoe screening, Jan. 2017 / Photo courtesy Kevin Sandler

Galen is director of fiction content at Preferred Content, a film, television, and digital sales, finance, and advisory company. At Sundance, he and his team were sales agents for several films including 78/52, a documentary on the infamous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Galen had visited ASU last Oct. 17 to discuss his career selling independent films.

Two ASU students completed their second Sundance internships. Seniors Elliott Milner and Trejon Dunkley served as mentors to the new set of volunteers as well as volunteering full-time in theater operations, an experience that further solidified their career aspirations. For Milner, “Sundance reignited my creative spark, reminding me why film is necessary in today’s changing and complex world.” According to Dunkley, the festival enables interns to “connect with filmmakers from all across the globe from various aspects and perspectives, reminding you that you can achieve anything.”

Alumna Gretchen Burnton (BA 2015) was on the Sundance team in 2015. Her film promoting ASU’s Sundance trip helps sum up many interns’ experiences at the festival.

Watch it here: 


Kevin Sandler

Image 1: Sundance 2017 interns and faculty mentors pose outside festival headquarters. Photo courtesy Kevin Sandler.

Image 2: ASU Lecturer Christopher Bradley, filmmaker and ASU graduate Barri Chase, and ASU Associate Professor Kevin Sandler at the January 2017 screening of Chase's Watchman's Canoe. Photo courtesy Kevin Sandler.

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