End of the line folks!
Here we are, the glorious Sundance Film Festival 09′ in Park City Utah has come to an end! Man, it has been one awesome / exhausting trip. I just want to start by saying I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity to go on such an enriching journey that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Ever since I can remember, which is pretty much back to my terrible twos, I can remember having a deep interest which blossomed into full on love for film. I have always been the person who gets overly emotional during a film and will start tearing up or straight out bawling. Or I will be on the floor laughing uncontrollably, preferrably the latter. Although, I do like a good cry every now and then, it’s therapeutic.
I have been lucky to indulge in this interest and study film at Eckerd, taking some extremely interesting and fun courses where I have actually worked on the making of short films. I hope to pursue a career which can be like a creative outlet for me, like tv and film!
I made various connections both business wise and friend wise! I climbed the never ending staircase to heaven (our beautiful condo, situated perfectly on Empire Avenue, looking over mainstreet.) I walked wide-eyed up the infamous main street, taking in all the people and places. I shmoozed with the rich and famous, (mostly extremely friendly and talented filmmakers I met at slamdance) which was an experience in it of itself. I feel as though I soaked up as much as I could, although I do wish I took the time to watch a few more movies, since the whole point of the trip was watching film! I have taken away a new understanding and appreciation of independent films and I definitely hope to be able to attend the Sundance Film Festival again, and bombard my brain with more films that will leave me questioning and anticipating more.
I also want to note the great experience I had volunteering at Slamdance, Slamdance might be (according to some) a smaller festival formed by the “reject” films from Sundance, but to me it is right up there with Sundance if not cooler! All the people I met / worked with were super friendly and made my time there quite pleasant. I also saw most of the films that Real Ideas Studio worked on with Slamdance in the aspiring filmmakers film competition, all of these films were quite good and inspiring!
Here is a quick review of all the films I saw and what they were each about:
Arlen Faber: The story is about the author of “Me and God” a “redefining book for an entire generation,” and how his life becomes intertwined with various people in the most interesting of ways. A single mom, and a young man out of rehab who is in a quest for meaning; they both test and challenge Arlen. A sweet and straightforward film, not the most inspiring or exciting I saw at Sundance.
Don’t Let Me Drown: The story of Lalo and Stefanie, two high-school kids living in Brooklyn. Lalo who comes from a mexicnan immigrant family and who is financially unstable. His father cleans debris at the World Trade Center and Stefanie’s sister died in the WTC attacks. An emotionally driven film about loss, and love with a touch of comedy woven in.
Humpday: A comedy driven story that plays with serious and important issues such as but not limited to, sexuality, sexual orientation and friendship. Ben and Andrew were college buddies, Ben now settled down with a wife and nice house, Andrew is more alternative in his life style and choices, he is a “vagabond artist” The two attend a party with much debauchery and become quite intoxicated, locking themselves into a dare that becomes reality. This dare involves an amateur porn contest.
Sin Nombre: A social-political thriller, set on the border of mexico, a story of two young kids (Sayra and Willy) and their quest for freedom both physically as well as mentally. The story is interlaced with both violence and gangs that add multiple layers to the film.
Adventurland: Summer in 1987, a story of teen summer love, youth angst, a fruitless job, and the complexities and surprising fun that come with it all. Starring, James Brennan, a recent college grad who’s summer quickly goes from touring Europe to working at a small theme park, “Adventurland.”
The Informers: Sex, drugs and Rock N’ Roll and over indulgent, overly wealthy youth- pretty much describe this film to a T. Set in Los Angeles CA in the early 1980’s, when “Excess and Decadence” rule. A plethora young, gorgeous and extremely beleivable actors paint the screen, who sleep all day and party all night. But the glamor, sex and drugs comes to an end eventually, as does their fun, or does it?
Helen: A story and examination of mental illness as it destructs a woman’s life, we are taken through the heart-wrenching, realistic and inspirational journey that Helen undergoes. We become extremely close with this woman and her battle and cannot help but feel something for her and her situation. A deep, dark and depressing story that involves, death, destruction, love, friendship and courage.
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle: An extremely unique and imaginative film that will leave you questioning and wanting more. Dory is out of a high-paying job and finds himself the subject of a weird experiement involving chemically enhanced cookies at his new janitorial job. This surreal journey takes you through wild and crazy concepts that boggle the mind. Interlaced with sexuality, drugs, and religion, this is one film you do not want to miss.
The Carter: A documentary about the infamous, Lil’ Wayne also known as “Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.” He is an internationally known rapper, who’s thoughts and very world are presented in this film. His driving creative forces are revealed as well as his serious love of drinking and smoking. This is an uncensored and interesting film.
Children of Invention: The American Dream, who doesn’t want it? A story of immigrants who try to start a new life in Boston. The struggles of a single mother trying to support her kids, is faced with burdens and various decisions. A story of familial bonds and the choices that determine our lives.
Heart of Time: Taking place in the Chiapas mountains during the Zapatista revoltion, a young woman named Sonia is coming of age. Her future is pre-determined and the man she will marry is therefore chosen for her. Seemingly stuck in this life she doesn’t nessecarily want, Sonia stumbles across some one who might be able to change all of it for her. When her choices have serious impacts on her and everyone around her, Sonia must try to follow her heart.
The Glass House: Examining young women living in Iranian Society who are marginalized by their very own families. These women have found a place to go, a place formed by an expatriate. This place is mean’t to give these young women a voice and courage to go out and be who they want to be and do what they want to do. This film specifically follows the stories of 3 young women who have been oppressed and mentally and physically wounded, as they are in search for new beginnings.
Shorts Program 1: A myriad of interesting and entertaining shorts.
Abbie Cancelled: Two couples end up sharing a dinner they didn’t plan, a comedic short that is sure to entertain.
Copper on the Chopping Block: A dark short film taking place in the dead of winter, we encounter a deranged and seemingly hopeless man who ends up killing his sister and mother, after he tries to kiss his sister in a drunken stupor of course.
Little Canyon: A realistic and sweet short story of Greta who travels cross-country with her dad to a not so happy place.
Little MinxExquisite Corpse: She walked calmly Disappearing into the Darkness: A series of unfortuante and dark events take place and a young man ends up in the hospital. This film takes place in brooklyn NY I believe.
Love You More
Omelette: Who knew that getting some eggs to eat would be such a dramatic event. Sofia clealry is struggling inside and this extremely short yet poignant film expresses this struggle.
Pal/Secam: A kid named Boris is dealing with sexuality and his hormones are out of control!
The Watch: Two boys in argentina seem to share more than just a friendship, this film plays with the idea of homoerotiscism.
Shorts Program IV:
This was by far my favorite shorts because I found them most entertaining and well done.
The attack of the robots from nebula-5: a comedic little short that is quite simple but guarentees a good laugh, just make sure you watch out for the invading robots!
Short Term 12: An inspiration and depressing film that is both real and raw. A story involving children at a sort of rehab place who are in obvious need of mental help. The two main characters in this short are quite talented and bring the screen to life.
James: Taking place in northern ireland an account of a young boy who is struggling with who he really is, a story of sexuality and understanding.
Next Floor: By far one of my favorites, a truly unique story of a group of people eating ravenously at a lavish dinner table in middle of a room. But the story goes deeper than it first looks and sounds.
Our Neck of the Woods: Oh the monotonous life of working in a factory painting fake deers for other people.
Choices: During an intimate moment shared between two people, rapid thoughts race through a man’s head.
Sparks: A highly entertaining depiction of a female singer/ songwriter who suppossibly burns down her house. The film explores the alleged arsinist and the complexities and excitment that ensues.
Documentary Shorts: I would have to say, not my favorite.