A few weeks ago I went to the Sundance Film Festival. While I like movies, I mostly was looking at the trip as a much needed mini vacation where I would hang out with friends near a roaring fire in between walks in snowy, picturesque Park City Utah.

I got exacty what I wanted in the lounging-by-the-fireplace department. More importantly, I got this sweet reminder of the potential that stories have to move us. Yes, I’m playing with words here- talking about transportation in the emotional rather than physical sense- if that annoys you because it seems like a cheap pun, give me a moment to defend my choice of words.

Have you ever had that experience where the lights come up at the end of a movie and you realize that you completely forgot about everything that was weighing on you so heavily when you sat down ninety minutes before? Have you ever read the last ten pages of an amazing novel one day at a time so that it wouldn’t be over quite so soon? If you have, then you know what I mean when I say that stories can actually take us to other places- places that are unknown or familiar, frightening or comforting.

These small trips that we take without leaving our seats have the power to reignite our sense of wonder, to provide new context for things we’ve been struggling to understand, or even to show us things about ourselves that we didn’t know.

Do all stories affect us this way? No. This is part of the thrill- whether you bet on a dark horse or your trusty steed, the whole idea is to go along for the ride.

And so, with our renewed enthusiasm for storytelling on the silver screen, we areopening our doors to show the Oscars this year. We acknowledge that the Academy is far from perfect as an institution, that Hollywood is a den of iniquity, and yet we still see the positive potential of shared stories, open dialogue, and more wonder through movies.