Utah Tech University film professor’s series accepted into prestigious festivals

Utah Tech University Assistant Professor of Digital Film Patrick Smith’s series “Groundbreaking,” which shares a mystical story set in the magnificent Irish landscapes, has been accepted into CANNESERIES and SeriesFest.

“Groundbreaking” will make its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival’s international series event in Cannes, France, April 14-19 and then go on to premiere in North America at SeriesFest in Denver, Colorado, May 5-10.

“I am thrilled, overwhelmed and immensely grateful that our series ‘Groundbreaking’ will be getting its world premiere at CANNESERIES,” Smith said. “We truly could not have hoped for a better venue to share this project with the world.”

A mockumentary in the style of “The Office,” Smith’s series “Groundbreaking” shares the story of disheartened archeologist Gale embarking on what she secretly knows will be her final dig. Accompanied by her colorful crew, Gale arrives in the religious town of St. Quinn, Ireland, and encounters a hostile community, rancorous contractor eager to slow their work and series of inexplicable events that indicate something bizarre is at work on this mysterious island.

Smith’s series was privately financed and produced by his production company Kiyo Films, which received more than 70 applicants for internships to help film the project in Ireland. Ultimately, the producers selected 16 students, all from Utah Tech, and six UT faculty members to serve in various roles on the production team.

Utah Tech digital film major Hunter Abarca was one of the students accepted to intern on the set. Abarca worked closely with the director of photography in the camera department.

“I’m grateful that our little rag-tag group of student hopefuls were able to help with and learn from this grand adventure across the ocean. I went through a series of firsthand knowledge opportunities,” Abarca said. “The news of the premiere is a welcome surprise, but not altogether unexpected. We know it’s in good hands.”

Opportunities to work on professional projects like “Groundbreaking” are central to the active learning approach applied within Utah Tech’s Digital Film Program. The program, which offers a bachelor’s degree in digital film, provides students with advanced production training in cinema combined with the opportunity to work on commercial projects and documentary productions in a real-world environment.  In addition to learning operational aspects of digital film, such as lighting, camera and sound production requirements, students receive hands-on training in pre- and post-production techniques.  The program also includes academic coursework in film theory, history and criticism, screenwriting, editing and documentary production.

For more information about Utah Tech’s digital film program, visit film.utahtech.edu.