The purpose of the Utah Film Awards is to seek out new opportunities to help low/mid budget filmmakers grow their audience and further their path to being full time filmmakers.
Back in 2011 Warren Workman was producing a short online program featuring Utah filmmakers creating outstanding short and feature films. His goal was to help promote their work to a larger audience. As the popularity of his show increased, so did the audiences for the filmmakers he would talk about on his program.
Later that year, Workman was approached by a filmmaker asking him to produce a film award show for the filmmakers featured on the program. As another event to help promote filmmakers, Workman was happy to produce the very first Filmed in Utah Award show back in 2012.
Without any funding the award show was held in the back of the Bombay House Indian restaurant in Provo UT. There were about 30 guests at the first awards program and 17 prizes were awarded.
The following year Workman was teaching in the film department at Salt Lake Community College. The department agreed to be a sponsor and allow access for the award show to be moved to the Grand Theater. Attendance swelled to over 300 attendees and the first FIU award statue was presented.
The show continued to grow every year in popularity with the local film community even as the show relocated to Provo, UT to the Covey Center for the Arts.
Workman wanted to help more filmmakers grow their audience but with the current rules, only films made in Utah were eligible.
So in 2015 the program committee decided to make a bold change. All films, irregardless of where they were produced, would be eligible to enter the awards competition. The name of the award show changed as well from the Filmed in Utah Awards to the Utah Film Awards.
Workman wanted to also increase the value of the competition for the filmmakers as well. So in the same year the Utah Film Awards partnered with over a dozen distribution companies to judge the submitted films. The distribution partners could then contact any of the filmmakers that submitted for a possible distribution deal.
In 2016, the distribution partners picked up over 100 films submitted to the Utah Film Awards.
Looking forward the Utah Film Awards is expanding their judging committees to include: More distribution companies for finished films, production companies looking to option scripts, casting directors to hire actors, producers/directors looking to hire crew, and advertising agencies looking to hire production companies for commercial work. This way the UFAs will continue to promote the work of extraordinary filmmakers to the world while also providing a path to further the filmmakers career.
2017 will bring the Utah Film Awards back to the Covey Center for the Arts. We will introduce more film market opportunities and expand our film screenings of nominated films during the week of the show.