Getting into it
I’m going to go ahead and admit something here: Sundance is cooler than I thought it would be. Once again, I find myself in the dark basement of a tiny shopping mall dubbed, for the purposes of the festival, the New Frontier. It’s a place that, obviously, has wi-fi (stay clear of the HP laptops), good strong coffee, a Sony rep ready to tell you everything you will ever need to know about three of their flagship video cameras (one for each budget tier), and several art installations that are pretty good. It’s warm here. So, young folks come here to rest, re-cap, re-convene, or check their e-mail. When imagining my trip here, I had in my mind a scenario whereby a lot of middle-aged, out of touch movie people ignored the few thrift store dressed wannabes like me as they frantically made deals on their Blackberries. Not so. Most everyone I’ve talked to (at random) so far is here for the first time and, you’ll never believe, they are here to see movies. That’s right, Internet. They are here to watch a projected image as a group.
At this point, if you have been following this blog, you may want to know why I came to Sundance. I also came to watch the movies– and because I wrote a screenplay and this is the best place I could think of to find a home for it. Thus far, I have done a poor job of that. But, I did put forth some effort this afternoon by attending the “Rewriting the Process” panel discussion featuring two of my favorite filmmakers, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck of Half Nelson fame, here to showcase their second feature, Sugar. While the other panelists, one of whom being fellow festival filmmaker Boaz Yakin, waxed poetic about the difficulties of being a writer, they sat, bemused and then saddened by the responsibility of having to inspire a crowd of strangers to keep writing. Not buying the hyperbole of how impossible it is to get your idea from page to screen, the two looked to one another for approval before answering with some embarrassment that they didn’t always understand the question. Perhaps the process is not that hard for them. The support the Sundance Institute has given them over the years probably hasn’t diminished this outward confidence.