Somehow, I managed to find myself one step behind all week (if this blog post is any indication). Sundance is over. I’m back in NY, preparing to take a train back to Baltimore tonight to begin teaching the semester at Johns Hopkins tomorrow. What can I remember about the past 10 days in Park City? I’ll stick to the highlights.
1) The premiere of I USED TO BE DARKER and the party that followed. Big-ups to Tony Foreman for throwing a party that will go down in Sundance history and sending us away with a case of vintage Bordeaux that we savored all week.
2) Kim Taylor and Ned Oldham performing live. Check out their heartbreaking rendition of “Love Hurts”!
3) Hanging out with my fellow filmmakers in the NEXT section. According to Eric Kohn in IndieWire, this was the best program of the festival. I won’t take a position on that, but I’ll attest to the fact that the filmmakers of NEXT are all super-thoughtful, humble, hardworking folks who will continue to make great movies. Look for them on the festival circuit!
4) Our Salt Lake City screening. Of all the venues we played the Salt Lake City multiplex was my favorite, because it gave us a chance to engage a general audience. Sure, there are regular moviegoers on Main Street, but the industry presence is huge. The Salt Lake audience felt different. And the Q&A afterwards was our best. There were lots of enthusiastic questions for the cast, which I’m always happy for, and the theatre manager let the conversation run longer than they do in Park City.
5) Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL. As a filmmaker interested in the ethics of representation and the border between documentary and fiction, I found Polley’s film essential and inspiring. It's also very moving. I’m looking forward to seeing it again and going back to discover more of Polley’s work. STORIES WE TELL was my favorite film of the festival, hands-down.
6) The Sundance Shorts party. Held at a bowling alley designed like an 80’s vision of an intergalactic space station -- with foosball, air hockey, and an open bar -- this party could have continued all week. The only thing missing was Duckpin.
7) Seeing Ravens gear in Park City last Friday. Seriously, everywhere.
8) Standing next to Nicole Kidman in the Entertainment Weekly photo lounge. Right?
9) Sharing the film and the festival with students at JHU. The director of the Film & Media Studies Program, Linda DeLibero, and our colleague, Karen Yasinsky, brought a number of undergrads out to Park City for an intersession class. On Friday, they came to the final screening of I USED TO BE DARKER and we all got together afterwards back at their lodge. Actors Hannah Gross, Deragh Campbell, and Maryland Film Festival director, Jed Dietz, joined the students in conversation. It was a perfect end to the week. And a return to real life.