The day began as any other at the Film Threat condo. I packed my bag and went over my first few appointments to make sure I was running on time and to make sure I knew where I had to go. My first interview took me to The Prospector Lodge where I interview the filmmaker and producers of MONSIEUR LAZHAR. The interview took place in a green room so I was able to throw a couple snacks in my bag for the road (it’s really important to stay hydrated and fed here in the high altitude. The air and all the snow on the ground made getting around a harrowing experience). The interview was fun and a lot more loose than I thought it was going to be.
From The Prospector I grabbed a bus back to Main Street and made my way down to the PR office for my next set of interviews. I sat in a tiny room with the director and cast of MIDDLE OF NOWHERE who really had some poignant things to say about their film, and the overall presence of African American filmmakers at Sundance over the past few years. I had some time to kill after that interview so I hit the HP lounge and had quite possibly one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had in my life.
My PR contact texted me with the location of my next interview. A lot of my schedule feels like a treasure hunt for the most part, with the PR people handing me clues to where the next leg of the journey is. I was really happy that I was going to be interview the directors and cast of FILLY BROWN, or so I thought. I met everyone at the AP office and everyone was running late which started to really make me nervous because I hadn’t put in a lot of time between interviews so I could pack in as many as possible into my day. At the end, I ended up losing the interview with the cast and only got to chat for a couple minutes with the co-directors. I got really pissed off when someone from the AP camp came over and interrupted the directors mid-answer (on camera), and stole them away from me. I just saw it as a professional discourtesy and it rubbed me the wrong way. I think the directors sensed my ire because both of them apologized and chances are I’ll probably just chat with them on FilmSnobbery Live! sometime. If you are in the media, Sundance and Slamdance are completely different animals than any other film festivals I’ve attended in the past. Access to anyone and everyone is completely ruled over by PR people and the schedules are ridiculous. I can see why so many celebs and filmmakers look so stressed and sometimes downright unfriendly at these types of events.
I had one more interview left on my agenda today and it had me walking back to the top of the hill on Main Street back to Slamdance HQ. The interview was for a documentary called THE FIRST SEASON that I was really interested in, and the filmmaker was very interesting to chat with since we got to talk about the nitty-gritty of doc filmmaking. I was very happy to get that on camera.
The next part of my day was a true treat for me. I was able to finally meet 3 people I’ve respected in the indie world for as long as I’ve been working, Zak Forsman and his wife Jamie, and filmmaker Gregory Bayne. This also marks the first time I’ve sat down and was able to enjoy my first full meal of the week. I can’t talk a bunch about what our conversations entailed, but I was really happy to engage with these fine human beings.
Once we parted ways I made my way to a small party that I was invited to out of the blue from Twitter. The party was located at an art gallery on Main Street and everything from the paintings to the glass and bronzeworks were absolutely fantastic. The host of the party was equally as nice and I was really happy to stay there for a bit since it wasn’t over-crowded like everywhere else. Eventually the day got to me though and I decided to head back to the transit station to catch the bus back to the condo.
My experience so far overall has been a mixture of fear, excitement, and inspiration. I definitely need to give another shout out and thank you to Mark Bell for the invite and also for his patience while giving his sage-like advice on the ins and outs of these two prestigious festivals.