My first day attending Sundance and Slamdance 2012 as part of a co-branded FilmSnobbery / Film Threat partnership started by waking up at an obnoxious 4:30 AM. I tried to make the best of it though by getting myself and my equipment in order early before everyone else at the Film Threat condo woke up so I wouldn’t have to fight for a shower or hold everyone up since they were leaving early for a screening. This turned into me overpacking WAY too much gear into my messenger bag “just in case”. One thing I learned very quickly in Park City was, the more gear you’re hauling, the steeper the hill on Main Street becomes throughout the long day.
The weather wasn’t that bad. It pretty much felt like a New England Winter and was actually a bit warmer than I anticipated. The snow outside gave a great backdrop for my first interview of the day with Luther Campbell (of 2 Live Crew) and the crew of LIFE AND FREAKY TIMES OF UNCLE LUKE. Everyone was really fun and the interview went off pretty well I thought. From there I trudged it all the way back up to the other end of Main Street to the Slamdance HQ where luckily I would end up spending the better part of my afternoon. They were even nice enough to let me set up my interview space right on a stage which was really convenient. That’s one thing about doing interviews at fests that has never been a problem, we’ve generally have never had to fight for interview space at most of the festivals we’ve attended, and in fact have been lucky enough to usually get our own dedicated space, (like the FilmSnobbery Media Room at the Orlando Film Festival in 2010).
My second set of interviews for the day were a set of really fun LGBT filmmakers that made some really interesting films (from the descriptions anyway since when I’m in “interview mode” I generally don’t get to watch many films, if any) including DOL (FIRST BIRTHDAY), FOURPLAY: TAMPA, and THE THING.
Once those interviews were finished, and honesty I wish we had more time to chat with everyone but publicists run a tight ship at larger festivals like Sundance and Slamdance. I had some time until my next interview so I ended up pulling in a couple of filmmakers for interviews who were waiting around for their next adventures. I was really happy, and a little nervous, to chat with my next interview, Peter Baxter, one of the co-founders of Slamdance. He was really forthcoming about the business side of the festival and how they’ve weathered the current economic meltdown and how they are trying to create a community of filmmakers all year long and, even better, get them paid!
An equally famous duo strolled in for a quickie interview shortly after Peter’s was over, and I was really happy to see Dan Mirvish and Paul Rachman, two other co-founders of Slamdance ready to go under the gun for my incredibly hardball questions (we pretty much just ended up laughing a lot). I was surprised shortly after to run into some people that I had only known online. Filmmakers Isaac Brown and Ana Paula Habib (TERRA BLIGHT) stopped in and I just had to get them in the hotseat to chat about their new documentary. We had been trying to get a hold of each other online for awhile but the timing had just never worked out, so it was great to finally give them an opportunity to chat about their movie in such a prestigious forum like Slamdance.
Filmmaker Michael David Lynch, another online buddy, stopped in for a surprise meet-up and I was really happy to hear that things were really taking off for him and how prolific his career had been in the past year.
I decided at that point (near 5PM by now) that I should probably eat something since my only meal of the day thus far was a pop-tart at the Film Threat condo that morning. Luckily I wasn’t going to have to eat alone as I was lucky to run into the stunning Paige Gregor from IndiePix. We started chatting and then went across the street for some dinner (I tried a buffalo burger, yum). I had lost track of time and was running late for a scheduled interview (to be fair, the time for the interview had already been changed 3 times and I was a bit fried at that point. Not making excuses, but just sayin’) so I grabbed the check and headed across the street back to the Slamdance HQ for one last interview of the day with actor Christian Cooke.
Now it was time to party, kinda. I was absolutely done for the day but I had gotten an invite to the Twitch party from fellow online raconteur Chase Whale (formerly of Gordon and the Whale fame). It was great to finally meet him in person since I had missed him at last year’s SXSW and even though I didn’t get a chance to hang out for long (he was the co-host of the event so he was quite busy), we’ll hopefully hang out and grab a beer later this week. I was also really happy to see filmmaker friend Sean Hackett and run into THE INNKEEPERS‘ star Pat Healy and producer Peter Phok. Pat has something he’s in at the festival so we figured that we might finally grab an interview sometime this week (something I kept promising him we’d do at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham last year but we never got around to it. Booze was a factor).
At this point it’s roughly 7:30PM in Park City and it was time to start navigating the bus routes back to the condo, which I wasn’t 100% sure where it was, but I got back without too much hassle. I crashed hard not too long after that, totally worn out but satisfied at a good day’s work and looking forward to tomorrow.
I’ll hopefully keep you all updated each day of the festival while I’m here if things don’t get too crazy, and hopefully you can get an idea, for those of you who’ve never been to Park City, just what the hell it is that makes these two festivals such a big deal in the film world.