Sun and Slam Dancing...Day One.
We have arrived. After a grueling eleven and a half hour roadtrip through conditions ranging from foggy, to rainy, to blizzardy, we drove into Park City around 6:00pm Thursday night. A fine meal of Swiss/German food helped to fortify our freezing LA-based skins. It was about 18 degrees outside. And snowing. What did we get ourselves into?
Park City really is a beautiful place at night, with a blanket of snow covering everything and twinkling lights everywhere. However, during the middle of the day, with melting snow slushing up the sidewalks, and traffic jams crowding Main Street, it's not so attractive. Also not so attractive is the amount of disorganization that continues to plague this event. The main box office this morning was just a disaster. Lines snaked around the building, people cut into line left and right, and the volunteers didn't seem to have much information about everything, except where the closest restrooms were. We know this is a HUGE festival, and that most of these folks work for free...but we also know it's been going on for years, and we're just impatient. We'll try chilling out over a coffee, and we've booked a massage for later.
Slamdance (the alternative film festival in Park City for those who didn't quite make it in) was much better organized, and we were in and out of their offices in about 15 minutes. Not too shabby, try and figure that one out. And we snagged a free beanie, and some lip balm. Now that's a powerful day by any measure of the yardstick.
So, keep reading as we move onwards to films, celebrity sightings, and insight from the heart of Park City, UT.
Our first stop after the box office one of the Short Film programs that Sundance offers. It's a real pity that there are so many great films out there, and so few places to see them. These shorts programs are one of those places, and we got to see eight very interesting films. The standout piece was Before Dawn by Balint Kenyeres which did not contain a single line of dialogue, but was incredibly well-done and powerful. Other standout films were Exoticore by Nicolas Provost (this was arguably our favorite short out of the bunch), and Aruba by Hubert Davis. However, every barrel has to have it's one bad apple, and this one was really ready to spoil the bunch. FLESH by Edouard Salier was a horribly self-indulgent short film that was full of itself, and sneered at the audience. Aye, carumba.
Once the shorts were done, the filmmakers got up on stage for a Q&A that was very exciting. One filmmaker revealed that he had the help of the Hungarian military, and another answered questions about his child actors. One of the best part of the festival is to meet with these filmmakers, and talk shop. Even if you aren't trying to get into the film biz, they infuse you with a shot of creativity that you feel like you could rush off and direct The Squid and the Whale II.
Mid-day took us to Slamdance headquarters where we picked up some screening tickets, and we wandered around Main Street for awhile, taking in all of the gaudy sponsor exhibits and schwag. Although the light-up pen we scored at the Volkswagen booth was well worth it. Writing in the dark, here we come! We just had lunch, and are heading off to see Nick Nolte in Off the Black soon. Check back tomorrow morning for the rest of Friday, some more photos, and who knows what else.
Best quote overheard today (so far): "Oh my word, it is so beautiful here. Except there's people coming out the yin-yang." - a woman in her 60s to a friend on her cell phone.
Best celebrity sighting: John Waters. Hard to top on day one.