I got the call from Sundance on the bus back to Baltimore the week of Thanksgiving and momentarily lost my voice. When I regained it, from that point forward, there was no time to rest. I’m on the plane to Park City now and it’s finally starting to sink in. Seems like a good time to reflect on the last four weeks.
I’ve made two features, HAMILTON (2006) and PUTTY HILL (2011), but I USED TO BE DARKER is the first to be invited to play the Sundance Film Festival. It’s incredibly exciting, but also very scary, because the stakes are higher and the competition greater. We’re in the NEXT section, which highlights films “that stretch limited resources to create impactful art,” an apt description of DARKER, but one that does nothing to belie the fact we’re a low budget film with modest means opening on the biggest stage in the US.
Though we shot in the summer of 2011, the film was still unfinished when we got the news. There were a few things left outstanding: the titles, color correct, and the sound mix. I set about supervising these final steps while my producers got to work assembling a sales and marketing strategy. We hired a sales agent and a publicist, and the Baltimore-based design group Drexler began developing our publicity materials, which you can see below.
Then there were the festival logistics. How would we get our principle cast and crew to Park City? How do we house them? How will we get around? There are almost 30 in our team, so we opted for two lodges. We couldn’t fly everybody out, but figured putting folks up would atone for the long hours and embarrassingly low pay of the shoot. It also means we’ll have a built-in street team helping to generate buzz for our film on the ground.
Other than the certainty of five screenings and a roof over my head, I have no idea what to expect. My hope is that Sundance audiences respond positively to the film. Among them are the press and buyers, as well as many industry tastemakers. These groups will dictate how widely the film will play after Park City. Sundance is a place for discovery, certainly, so I hope this exposure leads to great things for all the talent involved, but particularly the remarkable cast, all of whom are new to the screen.
I’ll be posting exclusive updates right here over the course of the next week. In the meantime, visit our website to learn more about the film, follow I USED TO BE DARKER on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our schedule of screenings and supplementary events in Park City below. Most importantly, cross your fingers.
Sundance Screenings of I Used To Be Darker
January 19, 3:00 P.M. Yarrow Hotel Theatre // Park City, UT
January 20, 6:00 P.M. Temple Theatre // Park City, UT
January 21, 9:00 P.M. Broadway Centre Cinema 6 // Salt Lake City, UT
January 22, 3:00 P.M. Holiday Village Cinema 2 (// Park City, UT
January 25, 9:00 P.M. Temple Theatre // Park City, UT
Saturday, January 19, 7-11pm // Premiere Party (private)
Monday, January 21, 4-6:00pm // HP Live Lounge
live performance by Ned Oldham, Jack Carneal & Kim Taylor
Tuesday, January 22, 2-2:30pm // ASCAP Music Café
live performance by Kim Taylor