Sundance 2014 - Recap
1/27/2014 11:28:00 PM
Having just gotten in from walking in the city here in Philly, after being in Utah for six days for Sundance, I can say – it’s way colder here than it is there. The biggest difference is the wind. There is NO wind in Park City, Utah where the festival was held. 30 degrees in the sunshine with no wind and dry air makes the weather so much more bearable.
I would highly recommend attending this festival. Park City is a small, manageable town that has anything you’d need. There were about ten theaters in Park City with a few others in Ogden and Salt Lake City (about 45 minutes away). You could see a movie as early as 8:30 in the morning, and as late as 12 midnight.
We took shuttle buses to the theaters. You could walk, but the buses were free and plentiful. The longest I ever waited was ten minutes, and there was a heater at every stop to make the wait a little better. Sometimes there would be 6 or so of us huddling around the heater waiting for a bus, talking about films or what celebs we spotted.
I spotted Robert Redford, the man that started it all. I was in the right place at the right time. He was walking toward me in a hallway at the Festival Headquarters in the Park City Marriott. He was with a bunch of people, and as I got close, I said “Hey Robert Redford, how ‘bout a selfie?” And he paused, smiled, and said, “I don’t do selfies” and continued walking.
But I did get a selfie with William H Macy. He was walking by me in a theater before the screening of Mark Ruffalo’s “Infinite Polar Bear.” I asked him to take it with me and he obliged, while remaining silent. He was there because he directed a film called “Rudderless.”
There was such a sense of community amongst the filmgoers. After all, we had come from near and far, with nothing to do but see brand new films before anyone else, eat great food in restaurants, dance and party at night, and maybe even get some skiing in.
I met people from Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, New York, California, Oregon, Florida, Illinois – between finding out where a person was from and what movies he/she had seen, there was no shortage of conversation. And everyone was super nice!
There is a bit of a learning curve on how it all works. But if you plan on going, you’ll catch on because there are lots of tips on the internet.
The amazing thing for me about this festival was how every screening seemed to be sold out. I’ve been to Philadelphia’s Film Festival and Toronto’s and I rarely was in a theater that was sold out at either of those. But Sundance, I guess it’s so popular and well known that people flock to it.
I interviewed two directors. One for the local appeal: Alex Ross Perry, who grew up in Bryn Mawr. It was his debut at Sundance for his third feature called “Listen Up Philip.” The other interview was for the rock ‘n roll appeal: James D. Cooper who directed “Lambert and Stamp,” a documentary about the two Brits that discovered and managed The Who for their first ten years.
Both of these films and directors will be featured in future blogs.
“Whiplash,” a feature about a jazz drummer won the Grand Jury award, the most prestigious at Sundance.
I saw about 8 films. My favorites were: “The One I Love,” a relationship story starring Elisabeth Moss, “God’s Pocket” based on Pete Dexter’s book (he was a sports writer for the Daily News here), and “Land Ho!” that starred two geriatric men who took a vacation to Iceland. It was a total feel-good movie.
Distributors bought all four of those films just mentioned so they will be opening in a theater near you sometime this year.
Any rock songs in the films I saw? It was great to hear Steve Winwood singing “Can’t Find My Way Home” with Blind Faith during a scene in “God’s Pocket.” And I couldn’t get “In a Big Country” by Big Country out of my head after it exploded out of the speakers in “Land Ho!” Of course, “Lambert & Stamp” featured some early Who songs throughout the documentary.
BTW, I accidentally left my laptop in the rental house, and it’s on its way home to me now. That’s where all my photos are, so I will post them later this week.