From The Festival: Being A Sundancer
It’s cold, it’s crowded, and it’s fantastic: welcome to the Sundance Film Festival. From catching shuttles to meeting celebs, I have had a very different and wonderful experience in Park City. The independent film industry has its own share of celebrities and it really surprised me to see some of the big stars attending their premieres to packed cinema houses. I got to see Kevin Bacon from literally two feet away and shook hands with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, aside from meeting some of the upcoming independent filmmakers. What I observed was that they were just normal people, like us, who were good – if not great – at their professions. During many Q and A sessions, I would see them joke around with one another just like we would with our classmates or friends. Getting over my initial hype of meeting stars, I met some people who worked behind the scenes for many hours, in order to bring this unique film festival to the world. I was able to meet volunteers at bus stations, staff members at theaters, and even strike up an occasional conversation with the person behind the snack stand at some theater. Not only were they excited about the film festival and had their experiences to share, they all really wanted to be here at Sundance. I have never seen such enthusiasm before and it definitely rubbed of on me, making me even more excited to be attending the festival.
At first, it took me a while to get used to the shuttle system around Park City. I would often get on a shuttle, only to find out that it was re-routed midway and was now not heading to my stop or that I had just taken the wrong bus. I soon figured that the transit map, in the film guide, was useful but it’s better to just ask the driver if they were going to your stop or not. Then came the lines at the theater: they were either good or really bad. Every theater except Eccles was great, where they had a WARM tent set up for the people in line and I got to meet a lot of random people this way, from other schools and even other countries. You would figure Eccles, being the biggest theater and all with over a thousand seats, would have a warm place for all the lines. Instead, during the premiere of I Love You Philip Morris, I was FREEZING to death along with the many other people in line. But wait, there was hope. One single heat lamp placed in front of every line that I guess we were all suppose to timeshare or something, or even better, could maybe walk around and save us all from the dreadful cold?
Many divine interventions have happened on this trip so why not a walking heat-lamp? Like the time when Jason and I were looking for two tickets to the Killing Room at the box office, and someone just happened to have exactly two tickets to sell. Or the time when we were wishing for some energy drinks and the Red-Bull car came along and gave us some free samples. Coincidences? I think not.
Sundance was also the place for me to have some first-time experiences such as visiting a gay bar to celebrate Kay’s twentieth birthday and being introduced to the concept of male strippers. That was awkward but also a lot of fun because we were all just chilling out and having a great time. Food was another experience here at Sundance. Ben and I had the worst experience ever at Pizza and Noodles, on Main Street. We were looking for a place to get breakfast and checked out the local deli but since the line was too long, we decided to go across the street to Pizza and Noodles: a really bad idea. Once we got in we discovered that not only had they stopped serving breakfast, they also had really expensive food. We were hungry and ordered some wraps, which we figured would be filling. After waiting for around half an hour, the server came up to me and said that the wrap I ordered wasn’t available, so I got something different. It couldn’t get worse right? While waiting another half hour or so, for my wrap to appear, we noticed that they were still serving breakfast to others and this did not help our mood at all. The wraps came and instead of getting a sizeable meal, we got a McDonald’s kids meal gyro. However, I was impressed with the other places and thankfully never had such an experience again.
Overall, given the amazing movies that I have gotten to see so far, the festival has definitely been a lot of fun for me because I experienced it with a bunch of new friends that I made on this trip. Whether it is running after a shuttle to catch a late movie or just waiting in the freezing cold ticket-holder line, the festival has molded me into a fully-fledged Sundancer.