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Local producer has multiple films premiering at Sundance

Food and Country
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
"Food and Country"

A Utah production company called Impact Partners has a handful of high-profile films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The company finances and produces social impact documentaries that have frequently premiered at Sundance.

“And there's no place that's more friendly and more warm and embracing to nonfiction than Sundance," Geralyn Dreyfous said, co-founder of Impact Partners.

FULL INTERVIEW: Utah film producer Geralyn Dreyfous

Her passion for social impact storytelling and presence at Sundance have led to multiple award-winning films.

“And I just can't even believe driving up here last night with all the lights in the snow. I mean, it reminded me of 20 years ago," she said.

Dreyfous said over half of Impact Partners films have premiered at Sundance.

“So we started 15 years ago and the idea was to bring likeminded investors together to help finance social impact documentaries," Dreyfous said. "It's sort of a consortium of not donors, because they actually invest equity in the films, but they're people that really see that media matters. And the media makes a difference in media as a strategy for education and for outreach.”

Last year, Dreyfous’ film “Navalny” won both the Sundance Festival Favorite Award and the Audience Award for the U.S. Documentary competition. Directed by Daniel Roher, that film depicts the events related to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the subsequent investigation. Dreyfous said the film has an encore screening at the end of the festival this year.

“And the entire team is coming back, including the Navalny family," Dreyfous said. "They're coming in from Germany and Lithuania and Stanford, and it's just, it's just going to be such a great celebration, except for Navalny himself exactly, but to stand firmly planted with what's happening in his life.”

Another high-profile film this year under the Impact Partners banner is “Food and Country” with legendary food journalist and best-selling author Ruth Reichl. Dreyfous said it’s a look at food security through the eyes of small farmers and businesses and restaurants.

“And really, what did we learn through COVID about our supply chain, and about our food security and about the real cost of making cheap food? So it's a film about COVID, strangely, but it's not about people being sick. It's about how it made people pivot and change their businesses like we all did," Dreyfous said.

Dreyfous said beyond financing films, Impact Partners has a fellowship program that mentors up-and-coming producers.

“Which is often, you know, underestimated, undervalued, not appreciated, as much as it should be, space. And so we have an alumni now of people who have graduated from our producing fellow. Shane Boris, who's here with a film called ‘King Coal’ was a producing fellow. Last year, he had ‘Fire of Love’ and ‘Navalny.’ You know, he's like, you know, so it's really about finding talent. And so we have a number of producing fellows that are now coming here with movies, which we're very proud of.”

Find information on how to watch documentaries at Sundance here.

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