DOCUTAH features wide range of films, seminars

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Healing the blind, motorcycle speed racing, polygamy and a famous aviator are some of the many topics featured at Dixie State University’s own international documentary film festival this year. 

As part of DOCUTAH, students and the community will have access to 77 films and seminars starting Sept. 8 and ending on Sept. 12. The films will be shown in multiple auditoriums such as the Eccles Center for Performing Arts. Seminars about the films will also be held in the main stage theater in the Eccles. 

DOCUTAH is the international documentary film festival where we actually bring the world to the university,” said Kristin Hunt, seminars facilitator for DOCUTAH. “It serves to enlighten, inspire, and create a community of understanding.”

Hunt said DSU is the only university in the United States that allows this much access to artists where patrons can sit down and ask them questions about their films during the seminars.

“The seminars were formulated in order to bring artists and the public together so we can learn together,” Hunt said.

The seminars run from noon to 2:30 p.m. each day. All seminars and films are free for students. Students that attend a film or seminar can enter to win a scholarship.

Phil Tuckett, assistant communication professor and executive director for DOCUTAH, said out of the 77 films, 61 of them are going to be represented by a filmmaker or one of the featured performers in the film.

“If I didn’t know anything about DOCUTAH and I was deciding whether to go or not, I think the thing that would interest me in going is the 31 different countries represented and how many filmmakers are there,” Tuckett said.

Tuckett said the intent of DOCUTAH is to benefit students by providing diversified knowledge. 

“I would say that there’s not one student on campus [who] wouldn’t be able to find a film whose subject matter was of interest to them,” Tuckett said.

Hunt said documentaries presented at DOCUTAH are important for students to see because the films can add to their learning. She said one film that’s important for students to see is “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot” directed by Bill Brummel.

“The reason why it’s important is because this is a documentary and it’s focused on what teachers and students did in the Civil Rights Movement,” Hunt said.

For sports lovers, Hunt said “In Football We Trust” directed by Erika Cohn is an “inspiring and moving documentary about the story of the Polynesian pipeline to the NFL.”

Films “West 4th Street: Portrait of a Park” directed by Simeon Soffer, Ethan Sprague and Gerry Mckean, and “Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco” directed by Maria Walton are also about sports. 

“People [who] love sports and wonderful personal stories of triumph and striving will really enjoy meeting with these film makers,” Hunt said.

Hunt said for those interested in crime and justice will be interested in attending the seminar on Thursday. One of the films is called “Once Upon a Crime”.

“It’s the story involving crooked cops, the mafia godfather, murder, public poisoning, Elvis Presley, prison gang leaders, and a cocaine addicted newspaper editor,” Hunt said. “It’s just a crazy, wonderful film.”

Hunt said a lot of these films will go to HBO and PBS but “we in the community get to see them first.”

On Friday, Hunt said the seminar will open at noon with a presentation of colors and a moment of silence. The film “Tour of Honor” will then be shown that was produced by brothers, Kyle and Carlos Plummer.

“It’s a really emotional documentary about a group of 21 World War II, Korean and Vietnam vets [who] have flown back to Washington D.C. to see their memorials,” Hunt said.

Kyle Plummer, a freshman communication major from Cambria, California, said he wanted to study filmmaking when he was 3 years old because he saw “Star Wars” and he knew he wanted to do something like that.

“Documentaries are a great way to do something with a little to no budget and still tell a great story,” Plummer said.

Students and the community will have these documentaries to enjoy and many more this week at DOCUTAH. 

“When students attend DOCUTAH, they’re getting more than just the standard education,” Tuckett said. “They’re getting the enhanced enlightening of the whole world of knowledge that can be found in documentary films.”

For a complete list and schedule of all the films and seminars presented at DOCUTAH, visit docutah.com.