My last official day covering both the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals started out as usual at the Film Threat condo where I was finally able to run into the elusive Don Simpson. After sleeping in a bunk bed next to the guy for five days straight, we finally were able to get some face time at the breakfast table. I left the condo early for my first interview of the day at the Sundance Festival Co-Op lounge. I had just gotten started with the interview when I noticed that the audio was going in and out. It turns out that all of the indoor/outdoor shoots stiffened the XLR cable and something inside must have broke. That ended the interview early and thus began my frantic search for some sort of music or techie store. The closest place that I knew would definitely have what I was looking for was a Best Buy. The catch was that it was located at Redstone, about a half an hour bus ride from Main Street.
Luckily the store wasn’t that difficult to find. I got the new XLR cable and made my way back to wait at the bus stop again. The entire process ate up my entire late-morning and part of the early afternoon. I would have skipped getting it entirely since it was my last day in Park City, but I had another 3 or 4 interviews lined up and I really wanted to finish out my trip to Park City strong. My first actual interview, that I was able to complete, of the day was with the director, co-writer, and one of the stars from BINDLESTIFFS. The interview was one of my favorites of the fest because these young guys really had a great sense of humor and were up for any questions I asked no matter how ridiculous. After I was finished with those guys I went and grabbed the filmmakers from the film SUNDOWNING. The filmmakers were very enthusiastic and prepared; their producer Shannon had grabbed me the day before and hooked me up with a screener, press kit, and scheduled the interview, something that most filmmakers aren’t always prepared to do on the spot. My last interview of the festival had me walking back down to where my day started at the Co-Op Lounge but this time I had no problems with the interview. My subjects were the director and star of the film TEDDY BEAR and the star, Kim Kold, was a mountain of a man with a wonderful sense of humor.
My festival run in Park City ended with a bang. Film Threat and Provocation Entertainment threw a bash on Main Street and I volunteered to work the door. Honestly, as bad as it is standing around in line waiting and hoping that I was on whatever magic list would allow me entry, lording that same list over other people was even worse. It was really weird not being able to let filmmakers and even friends in at times. Plus there’s the politics that go along with the job. Regardless of capacity you always had to let the PR people, sponsors, and other bigwigs in regardless of the line size. I grit my teeth and bore that burden until I saw the bouncer grab a few hot girls from the back of the line and escort them in, right when a festival volunteer was trying to get past me. I voiced my concern and it was all worked out, the volunteer got right in, and all was right with the world but the whole situation seriously left a bad taste in my mouth. I redeemed my karma later in the evening by letting in a few filmmakers I was chatting with in line after they capped off the party. I got to let loose a bit before the party ended and wound up chatting with a lovely Icelandic woman who really captivated me with her stories and amazing blue eyes.
I caught the bus back to the condo with Mark Bell, the owner of Film Threat and, while I have you attention, I really need to give a high amount of praise and thanks to him for both the opportunity and the insights he’s shared throughout both festivals at Park City. Mark is an old hand at Park City and was really instrumental in making my first time there a success. All of his tips and insights gleaned over years of attending really came in useful. I’m used to covering film festivals but Sundance and Slamdance are entirely different animals. Covering two festivals at the same time is a lot tougher than you would think, especially at high altitude. I felt like I was training for the indie film Olympics or something.
I’m back home now but my coverage of Sundance and Slamdance isn’t over yet. Soon I’ll be importing and editing all of the footage I’ve shot over the course of the past week and you’ll be able to see firsthand the eclectic group of people I’ve been interacting with. Hopefully you enjoy watching the interviews as much as I did making them. I still didn’t get a chance to see any films at all between the two festivals, but I feel like I got a different perspective entirely of the fests. I got to see the fest through the eyes of the artists, not the audience. While it would have been fun to be part of the parties, cliques, and endless lines, I was just as happy to just do a good job not only for the folks at Film Threat, but for myself and the filmmakers that were lucky enough to have the same amazing opportunity to be in Park City that I had. Will I go again next year? I don’t know, but I do know that while Sundance is far from being a truly independent film festival, it’s not as bad as some people, including myself, have made it to be over the years. You just have to look past the celebs, the PR people, and the lists and you’ll find a true indie or two lurking around and waiting for the chance to talk about their movie.
Here’s to the independent filmmakers in Park City, and to a great start to 2012. I look forward to bringing you the rest of our coverage soon!