I Think I Get Sundance
So the day we traveled back to Florida, we flew out of the Salt Lake City airport. While waiting in the terminal at our gate, I happened to be sitting in front of one of the televisions showing the news. I started watching the coverage for one of those award shows where the celebrities come and all the media outlets go crazy. I thought to myself, why doesn’t Sundance get this kind of national coverage?
I thought about this some more and then I felt stupid for thinking Sundance should have been on that screen in the news. If it were, it would completely undermine the point of the point of the festival. Yes, Sundance is well known and gets plenty of recognition in print around the world. I mean, how else would it get such great directors, like Alexis Dos Santos of Unmade Beds, to fill the world cinema categories? But it still, somehow, maintains a quiet existence in a way. The kind of existence that allows filmmakers, actors, and their audiences to casually interact. Where else can you walk down the street in a small mountain town and run into the directors or the stars of the movies you just saw?
This very independent nature of the festival comes not only from the films it offers and celebrates, but also from the relaxed attitude it takes with the community of people it attracts. For ten days in January, you can come to Park City, Utah, watch amazing movies and get so much more out of the experience than the average theater goer. Immediately after each film, there’s a Q and A session with the director and cast. You ride the bus to your next film and you strike up a conversation with the producer of the one you saw yesterday. Get your picture taken with the hero of that moving documentary. Spot your favorite actor on the street and go up to them because they don’t need body guards at Sundance. While I was too shy (or is it starstruck?) to actually do that, I was impressed that it was even possible.
I get it. Sundance doesn’t need to be on the T.V. in everyone’s home, office, restaurant, or airport. Its reputation is beyond flashy news reports that focus on fashion or who showed up with who. Without that, it can continue to offer the best of independence in today’s film industry.