The DOCUTAH film festival is free entertainment for those looking to find a good time—but there’s more.
DOCUTAH includes seminars and panels featuring filmmakers who will present and discuss various topics for the public’s education benefit.
These seminars are held Sept. 5 through Sept. 8 from 1-4 p.m. at the Sears Art Gallery located in the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center.
Kristin Hunt, facilitator of DOCUTAH seminars and a communication department adjunct instructor, will mediate the seminars along with Dixie State College professors.
“I’ll just facilitate it; it’s very loose and really open,” Hunt said. “We will have a great discussion. These filmmakers have a lot to say.”
Most DOCUTAH documentary makers do more than just film.
“These film makers are researchers, they’re writers, they’re producers, they are technologically really knowledgeable,” Hunt said. “All of them are terribly interesting human beings. We just bring all of that out in seminars.”
Christina Schultz, vice president of institutional advancement and DOCUTAH executive director, said the seminars will benefit students both educationally and scholastically.
“Some faculty members from English to business to communication are going to give extra credit projects to their students,” she said. “All students can benefit. There is everything from history to politics, you name it. It’s all here.”
DSC is even providing a one-credit course that students can register for at the registration office until the first seminar begins. The course is titled “The Human Communication Dimensions of Documentary Films,” and the CRN number is 45789.
“All you have to do is come to a few seminar sessions and see some films,” Hunt said. “Come enjoy yourselves and get credit for it.”
According to the course description from the class syllabus, “This course is designed to create participatory, active learning through participation in seminars with documentary filmmakers and discussion after film viewings.”
Hunt is the listed teacher for the course.
“I’m primarily interested in knowing the impact the festival has on the student, and I want to know the ways documentary films touch our lives,” she said. “In what ways do these films touch our lives and advance the art of being human?”
The course has three requirements: first, attend at least two seminars; second, view multiple films; and third, write a two-page double-spaced critique due Sept. 28.
So what is the purpose of the seminars?
“Seminar means sowing seeds,” Hunt said. “That is basically what we do in seminars. We want people to get a deeper understanding…of interest, knowledge and learning. We just have fun talking to these filmmakers for three hours.”
The popularity of DOCUTAH has grown since it began three years ago.
“We anticipate to have larger audiences than we have ever had,” Schultz said. “The first year we were just starting out, then the second year the audiences were getting larger, but this year I think there is going to be a real difference in the size of our audiences.”
DOCUTAH now has more than 250 volunteers who work for months to make the festival happen. Most of them are residents of St. George.
“It’s all about the community,” Schultz said. “It’s about us getting out into the community and bringing these films out there for the public to see them.”
The festival includes more than 100 films this year: 67 professional films and 41 student films. Filmmakers are from all over the world, and the film topics are diverse.
DOCUTAH begins on Sept. 5 with a documentary about music. A dance is scheduled right after the film.
“This is very, very student-centered,” Schultz said. “We hope to get thousands of students out there dancing.”
DSC has never held the opening gala on campus.
“This year we decided we really want to bring it home,” Schultz said. “We want it centered on the campus and have the community come here; we want to make it convenient for our students.”
DOCUTAH ends with the concert film “Andrew Bird: Fever Year” on Sept. 9.
“There is one main thing students should know,” Schultz said. “It’s free, free, free!”