A Recap of May’s Artist Foundry Filmmaker Events

May was a dynamic month for Utah Film Center’s Artist Foundry program, marked by two standout events that showcased the incredible talent within Utah’s filmmaking community. The Utah Filmmaker Showcase: BIPOC Films screening at Edison House highlighted voices of local BIPOC filmmakers, showcasing a range of genres, stories, and perspectives. The first annual Artist Foundry Pitch Competition at UMOCA brought together filmmakers to present their projects to a panel of local industry experts, competing for the chance to win best film pitch. Both events celebrated the vibrant creativity in our local film community while underscoring the importance of supporting these artists.

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We celebrated BIPOC voices at Utah Film Center’s Artist Foundry Utah Filmmaker Showcase with an incredible lineup of films made by talented Black, Indigenous, and POC filmmakers from Utah. After the screenings an insightful Q&A session moderated by filmmaker and Co-Host of Roots, Race & Culture on PBS Danor Gerald took place.

The films featured were:

This Was The Place by Nathan Manuel

Dusk by Kohl Bybee

I Have No Tears, and I Must Cry by Luis Fernando Puente

Jaani by Dua Azhar

Clearing by J. Manzo

#WokeButDrowsy by Lonzo Liggins

We also presented our first annual Artist Foundry Pitch Competition, where selected filmmakers were invited to pitch to a panel of industry experts and receive feedback in front of a live audience. Our impressive judging panel included esteemed local filmmakers, producers, and distributors Nicole Docta, Sohrab Mirmont, Jenny Mackenzie, and James Huntsman. Huge shoutout to all of the talented filmmakers who pitched to these impressive judges. The competition winners were:

1st Place: Austin Wood, Tower Theater

A tribute to indie film! Bring on the 90s indie video nostalgia, VHS tapes and all.

2nd Place: Josie Hurtley, Grounded

A young trans woman and her father crash-land their spaceship on a desolate planet… initiating growth and connection.

3rd Place: J.R. Hardman, Reenactress

This is not your dad’s Civil War documentary. Are you ready for a different kind of history lesson?

We congratulate the winners and are thrilled to have been able to showcase some of the amazing talent and films in our Utah film community. If you’re a filmmaker, we hope to see you at our next Foundry event!


The Artist Foundry is a professional co-working space focused on providing space, community, and resources for Utah filmmakers and content creators. A program of Utah Film Center, the Artist Foundry offers production resources, mentoring, exhibition opportunities, and funding structures. Learn more and become a member to enjoy these perks at ArtistFoundry.org

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