It’s Saturday night in Park City and another festival is winding down. The first weekend of the festival is always the most chaotic and crowded. I find the second weekend more pleasant even if it is a bit sad to see things coming to a close. Shuttle buses are less frequent, people more relaxed. For the first time in ten days it is snowing, and with the weather everyone seems to be mellowing out, finding some place to stay warm.
I had a ticket to the Grand Jury Prize Documentary Award winning film - and had settled down into a cozy seat in the Library theater, waiting for the announcement as to which film it would be. I was slightly disappointed to hear it was something I’d seen just yesterday - I’d been hoping to catch something I’d missed - but in hindsight the award makes complete sense: Ondi Timoner’s We Live in Public was disturbing but brilliant, a powerful portrait of an internet pioneer with a remarkable vision of the future we are living now. Unlike many of the documentaries that played at Sundance this year, this one (by the director of Dig!) makes inventive and entertaining use of the possibilities of the medium, and was definitely not made for a PBS audience.
I’ve seen just over 30 films here in Park City, at both Sundance and Slamdance, and in my opinion this is the strongest lineup I’ve encountered in the years I’ve been coming to the festival. As usual, the documentaries tend to be among the best that Sundance has to offer. While I was laughing out loud at Black Dynamite, amused and entertained by Larry Fessenden and Ron Perlman’s performances in We Sell the Dead, intrigued by the ideas in Moon and in the even more profound The Clone Returns Home and even brought to tears by Slamdance’s Mississippi Damned, it was the documentary films that will have a lasting impact on my thoughts and attitudes and actions. (more…)