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Dying at Sundance

This winter, a group of Emory alumni joined the storied ranks of filmmakers from around the world to debut their short film, "sometimes, i think about dying."

By Sarah I. Kelley 16Ox 18C

Pictured left to right: Isaac Fosl-Van Wyke 09C, Craig Newman 08C, Jim Sarbh 09C, Caitlin Reeves 08C, Andrew Simon 06C, Stefanie Abel Horowitz 08C, and Emma Yarbrough 09C

For the past 34 years, storytellers, artists, and audiences gather in Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. What began as a small festival to bring the film industry to Utah, conceived by the actor Robert Redford and named after one of his most iconic characters, is now the largest, most prestigious, and most exclusive independent film festival in the United States.

This winter, a group of Emory alumni joined the storied ranks of filmmakers from around the world to debut their short film, sometimes, i think about dying.

Directed, produced, and co-written by Stefanie Abel Horowitz 08C, sometimes, i think about dying is about an office worker, Fran (played by Katy Wright-Mead), who thinks about dying. When she meets Robert (played by Jim Sarbh 09C), a coworker in her office who wants to take her on a date, Fran is unsure of how this relationship will proceed as she entertains thoughts of her death.

Alongside Horowitz and Sarbh, fellow Emory alumni Craig Newman 08C, Caitlin Reeves 08C, Andrew Simon 06C, Isaac Fosl-Van Wyke 09C, and Emma Yarbrough 09C worked on the film in Bass Harbor, Maine during a five-day shoot.

“It was really cool to make art together again,” says Horowitz about the experience collaborating with her former classmates. And the group came from their lives around the world to participate in the experience. Jim Sarbh currently works in India as a Bollywood actor, and Horowitz is based out of Los Angeles. As she prepared to direct the short, Horowitz referred back to her experience at Emory as key in helping her grow as a director. While at Emory, Horowitz spent time reviewing her theater directing choices with Emory Theater Professor Michael Evenden.

 

 

sometimes, i think about dying has its roots in a 2013 play, Killers, directed by Horowitz and written by Kevin Armento. Immediately after college Horowitz found herself in the New York theater world. But after six years at a theater company, Horowitz realized her artistic aesthetic leaned towards cinema. While directing plays, she wanted to create intimate, close-up moments, which were better suited for screen than stage, so she moved to Los Angeles and kicked off a career in filmmaking. When Katy Wright-Mead, who also played Fran in the play, reached out to Horowitz hoping to turn Killers into a short film, sometimes, i think about dying was born.

Naturally when Horowitz began recruiting people to work on the film with her, she turned to her college friends. And it sparked a chain reaction. One friend would find out about the project and join it. Word would spread, until eventually Horowitz and six Emory grads reunited in Maine to shoot the film.

sometimes, i think about dying will premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival as a part of the festival’s shorts program. It will be among 73 short films screened at the festival this year, selected from almost 9,500 entries submitted from around the world.

About the author: sometimes, i think about dying has been shortlisted for an Academy Award. Read more

Sarah I. Kelley 16Ox 18C is a writer in the communications department of Emory’s Office of Alumni Engagement. When Kelley is not writing, she enjoys taking naps, eating snacks, and running her cat’s Instagram page.


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