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The 2020 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 23 - Feb.2, in Park City, Utah

Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


Conversations at the Sundance Film Festival The Joy of Making Movies and Meeting People

By James Nelson

Independent Reporter


PARK CITY, UTAH – I bumped into a lady at the Sundance Film Festival (SFF) and learned about the meaning of the word truffle, the strength of a good movie, and the value of a wonderful conversation all before my bus arrived. Say hello to Jamie Wolf of Foothill Productions.

“The surroundings before it got so incredibly crowded were conducive to hanging out with peers. It’s not quite as conducive anymore but still I think that is one of the things. It’s usually kind of a lonely job to be working on a film. So, to be talking with people in your peer group is very welcomed by a lot of people.” Wolf said in an interview at the SFF.

Wolf is an executive producer on many films and is behind two documentary films at this years’ festival. ‘Us Kids’ about the Parkland shooting and youngsters fighting back against gun violence. ‘The Truffle Hunters’ is another film Wolf brought forward that unravels an unusual tale about a food delicacy, greed and a handful of wise old men and their best friends trying to save a taste of the past.

“Truffle Hunters is like a visual poem. It’s about old Italian men and their dogs who go truffle hunting in Piedmonte, a part of Italy. It’s a practice which is pretty much dying out because the forests are being cut down for vineyards and the climate is getting dryer. So, they are endangered to a certain extent. Truffles are an ancient prized commodity and a newly capitalized on prized commodity. There’s a truffle fair where people sell their truffles in refrigerated glass cases like jewelry.” Wolf said.

Jamie Wolf of Foothill Productions


Wolf describes how the filmmakers initially got interested in the subject matter and the conversations that made it come together.

The Truffle Hunters is made by a directing duo who started working together when they found themselves living next to one another in the same building. The Truffle Hunters has now taken them 3-4 years. They found themselves vacationing in the same area of Italy, Piedmonte. They met these guys who had these wonderful stories. They had to be there and the hard thing for them was it was a very rural area, very suspicious of outsiders, they ended up  with this  wonderful woman who kind of grew up there and she knew how to get everybody to talk.” Wolf said.

The Truffle Hunters is directed by Michael and Gregory Kershaw.

By the way the dictionary defines truffle as “the dark or light edible subterranean fruiting body of several European ascomycetous fungi”. It’s an intriguing bit of food found only in certain parts of the world. Let’s just say ‘The Truffle Hunters’ is a rare and delicious movie.

 Wolf was a political journalist for several years and says she has always been a movie buff. Her husband was a screen writer and she is good friends with Academy Award winning producer Geralyn White Dreyfous, who produced ‘Born into Brothels’ which was brought back to the SFF 2020 for an encore showing. She is also a member of the documentary  consortium, Impact Partners, which brings socially minded works to Sundance. Wolf knows movies, the people who bring them to fruition and the vast landscape that surrounds the movie industry.

She believes so passionately in the value of a good film that she once sent a letter to President Bill Clinton with a list of movies she urged him to see.

 “I had a correspondence with Bill Clinton in which I sent him a list of 25 movies that he wouldn’t see in the White House. In the White House you only got to see Hollywood films.” Wolf said, adding President Clinton did answer her letter regarding her recommended list of independent films.

The glitzy ten-day wintertime gathering in the Wasatch Mountains remains one of the top festivals in the world and there’s no letting up. It’s known worldwide as a cinema extravaganza. The smell of popcorn, movie star sightings, the tearing of tickets as theater doors open and the silver screen filling with another adventure in storytelling is an experience to treasure.

“The opportunity to really kind of see so many films in one tight space that you could really lose yourself for a couple of days when you are just thinking about films and that’s a nice thing.” Wolf replied about Sundance before excusing herself to head into the theater to see another movie.

The filmmakers continue to find compelling stories that surprise us and send us on rollercoaster rides filled with laughter and tears. Each year organizers remind festival goers to dress warm, ride the free shuttle buses, know the theater schedules, keep hydrated and enjoy the visit. We think that is all great advice and only have one addendum item to the SFF journey.

 Don’t forget the conversation.

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About Sundance

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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