Magazine Feature / People

Professor’s work chosen for Sundance Film Festival

Tony Gault’s latest short film, Count Backwards from Five, was accepted into the 2008 Sundance Film Festival’s Short Film Program, which runs Jan. 17–27 in Park City, Utah.

“It was totally unexpected,” says Gault, associate professor of mass communications and journalism studies. “A programmer from Sundance suggested that I send in my latest work, and before I knew it, it was accepted into Sundance.”

Gault’s movie was one of 83 short films accepted from 5,107 submissions. His work will have six screenings during the festival, which will show movies in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. 

Count Backwards from Five is a story about Gault’s brother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. Peter Gault died last year at the age of 50. 

“Peter went through a harrowing experience,” says Gault. “It’s one of the most horrible forms of cancer.” 

In the film, Gault uses footage of his brother years before. Much of it is shot underwater, as his work explores the boundaries between life and death and consciousness and whatever is beyond. 

Gault says the film’s success is a tribute to his brother.

“It’s very nice for me because I feel like he [Peter] is showing his presence from wherever he is,” Gault says.

Gault’s work is one of six short films in the experimental category. 

“This year we received a record number of submissions, including some of the most dynamic work we’ve seen in years,” says Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival senior programmer.

“We are really proud to present the entire shorts program, which represents a higher level of filmmaking craft than ever before. The work is extremely broad and ranges from outrageous animation to fascinating short documentaries, to original and wild comedies to outstanding dramas.”

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