ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University Docutah International Documentary Film Festival will provide some relief from the isolation of the pandemic by offering streamed documentaries from its High Desert Chronicles Series. The Docutah Festival is unique in that students from the Dixie State University Film Program, in coordination with faculty and professional filmmaker staff, create a feature-length documentary each year to open the festival.
“While DOCUTAH screens films from all over the world, its team also has a passion for our own part of the planet and the amazing people and stories that emerge from the challenges and benefits of living in and near the wilderness. The emptiness and starkness of the desert landscape brings out a different kind of creativity and drive in its inhabitants,” Phil Tuckett, professor of digital film and executive director of Docutah, said in a press release.
April 10 – May 9 – “Tuacahn: Miracle in Padre Canyon”
From ancient Anasazi hunting grounds to a world-renowned outdoor amphitheater, this film tells the history of the Tuacahn Center of the Performing Arts woven through the development of its musical production of “Shrek.”
“Because DOCUTAH is part of DSU, it brings the students into direct contact with film professionals and provides real world experience of making films – shooting, editing, producing, meeting deadlines – while still in school,” Tuckett said. “The High Desert Chronicles meet the same professional standards as any other film accepted into the Festival.”
Docutah will present one film every four weeks and will announce the dates and links as each is available.
May 9 – June 7 – “Town for All Seasons: The Story of Leeds”
This is the story of the unique Utah town of Leeds, which celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2019. Although small in size, the town of Leeds and its surroundings hold a unique place in the history of the settlement of the American West. Leeds has survived, in spite of hardship, and is now surrounded by eight ghost towns that all disappeared.
June 8 – July 5 – “Dreams of the Black Echo – The Story of The Vietnam War Told by Veterans from Both Sides”
Dreams of the Black Echo is a unique co-production with Duy Tan University in Vietnam and DSU film students, faculty and staff. The film has been updated with additional footage and interviews, which enhance an already gripping look at this controversial war and the healing process which happens when soldiers can communicate after the conflict.
The dates and links for the following films will be announced soon.
“Moonshot Through the Double Helix”
A revolution in cancer research is taking place, and the world is starting to take notice. Utah’s Intermoutain Healthcare and famed genomic researcher Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, who came to IHC from Stanford University, have initiated a novel approach to the treatment of cancer by instituting personalized cancer medicine using cutting-edge genetic sequencing technologies. This film tells the story of how this came to be the “Moonshot for the 21st Century.”
“The Devil and the Angel”
The violin has been referred to as the “devil’s instrument.” Throughout history, violin players and makers were rumored to have sold their souls to the devil in order to master their craft. Despite this reputation, Master Luthier Kevin Lee sets out to prove otherwise.
“My Father’s Highway”
“My Father’s Highway” is the epic story of how an impossible road was built on an improbable route through the Virgin River Gorge and the people who overcame every obstacle, even death, to make sure it happened. The finished road takes a traveler on a 500-million-year geological journey, on a four-lane super highway that has become the economic lifeline of the Desert Southwest.
Docutah’s COVID-19 Response
Going forward, Docutah will follow advice from federal, state and local government to decide about the monthly screenings from May onward. At this time, monthly screenings are on track for May and Docutah fully expects to present the 2020 Festival in November at its new home – the Megaplex Main Street Theaters, Nov. 2-7. Submissions are open until June 12, and filmmakers can submit through Film Freeway.
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