Many people think of Park City, Utah, the place I stayed for ten days to enjoy the Sundance Film Festival, as the little town in the mountains where Robert Redford moved the festival to. But remember about nine years ago? Where Salt Lake City and Park City were chosen for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games? I haven’t, considering back in 2004 I was in Utah for an extended amount of time and got to go to some of the venues like Soldiers Hallow where I learned to cross country ski for the the first and last time, and the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah where I went ice skating with a friend of mine (even though I am not a big fan of it).
I would have done the full Q&A, but my camera was low on juice so I went with the ending applause and the introductions of the cast members of the world premiere of Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth”. This screening got a rare standing ovation at Eccles Theatre (which sits around 1100-1200 people). I think it is pretty clear the director, actors, and everyone who worked on the film are a little overwhelmed.
First of all taking this class has really broadened my understanding of what it means to make an independent film; also it has filled me with respect, respect for Independent Film makers. For myself, I could never be an Independent film maker, way to stressful. I do like however that they can retain the majority of their creative license. Being at Sundance this year has shown me that no matter your budget, you can still make any kind of film you want. All of the films I saw while at the festival this year were fantastic. I saw thirteen films, my favorites of which were Another Earth, Take Shelter, and Hobo With A Shotgun. My least favorites and that doesn’t mean they were bad they just weren’t as good. They were: Dreaming of Lucid Living, Knuckle, and Position Among the Stars.
Sometimes there are unseen barriers at Sundance. For starters there is the distance many filmmakers and film-goers have to travel to get here. The cold is another barrier since many who travel here have never seen and are not used to snow. The last barrier that sometimes poses a problem is language. Since Sundance has decided to stretch its borders outside the United States, it was inevitable that some filmmakers don’t speak English, which is a tiny problem when it comes to question and answers after their movies. Abraxas’ director Naoki Kato had to face this problem.
One of the perks of having a Discovery Pass to Sundance is it gets me in to the ASCAP Music Café for free musical performances. I did not really think about it the first couple of days that we were in town and finally checked up on the schedule and saw that Guster would be playing on Tuesday at around four in the afternoon. Guster! I lined up about an hour early—it was packed, so many people were there just to see Guster perform. It was so exciting, not just to see them, but exiting for them to have such a huge turn out at Sundance.
Haven’t heard of Guster? Check out this video:
I had heard their music before but had never really sought the band out until a friend of mine showed me that video. It is probably one of the happiest music videos I’ve ever seen. I ended up listening to them pretty obsessively whenever I needed a pick-me-up while working on my thesis last term.
Seeing them live was a ton of fun. The guys just have so much fun making their music and they were just so touched that people at Sundance had even heard of them and knew their songs. It was a great performance and it felt so awesome not just to see a band I enjoy, but to see that they enjoyed doing the performance as well.
It is easy to see why people come to Sundance for three specific reasons. The first is just plain movie going. You can see these people, arriving in Park City, searching to get tickets and waiting in line. The second is to see the celebrities and be seen with the new directors who might just be the next big thing. Lastly, there are the party goers who just want to rock the crazy scenes that pop up because of Sundance. I appear to be one of the few people who fit into a fourth group: people who just want to be a local for a week (I call us the semi-locals). Okay we want to see the films too, but we see something special beyond the celebrities, crowds and parties. We see real people.
Last night a bunch of us ventured over to the Slamdance headquarters to catch a screening of Michael Barnett’s documentary entitled Superheroes. We had heard a lot of buzz about the film, but weren’t entirely sure exactly what it was about or what it’s angle was. I think most of us went into it expecting to see a bunch of costume-wearing, crazed, deluded comic book nerds who believe they have superpowers. And yes, there were more than a few comic book fanatics involved in the film. However, there were also ex-convicts, tattoo artists, school teachers, and even a fair number of women. What they all had in common was a belief that the world is not as safe as it should be and a deep-rooted commitment to making it better in some small way. And for the most part (with a few exceptions like Master Legend) they all seemed remarkably grounded, sane, and fully aware of the fact that they possess no actual superpowers. We went into the film expecting to laugh at the people in it, and at the start of the film we definitely did a little bit. But by the documentary’s conclusion, I think we all a new-found respect for these “real-life superheroes.” (more…)
A few short words of wisdom from TV veteran Kevin Kilner
Last night a bunch of us (Hannah, David, Will, Chris, Cassia, and I) went to the Library Theater to catch the midnight premiere of Hobo With A Shotgun. The movie, starring Rutger Hauer as the hobo, was ridiculous and awesome. It’s gotten a distribution deal with Magnet Releasing, so if you get a chance to see it I definitely recommend it (as long as you’re not easily offended by blood, guts, profanity, or nudity). After the film and the Q & A session with the director and cast, I got lucky enough to catch Rutger Hauer by himself just outside the theater and he was nice enough to let me get a video of him saying “Hi” to Eckerd College. He also gave me a hug, which pretty much made my year. He’s definitely the coolest, nicest celebrity I’ve ever met. So here he is, Rutger Hauer, in all his awesomeness, saying hi to everyone back at Eckerd:
To an Independent Film is a film is which you create yourself free from the opinions of others. In an independent film, you’re the artist and the product that is your creation is yours alone.