Nathan and I were lucky enough to attend the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The festival lasted from January 21st-31st. We stayed with my family in Salt Lake City and commuted each day through snowy Parleys Canyon, risking our lives for our love of movies, too cheap to rent a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Being at Sundance was an overall unforgettable experience and really opened our eyes to the amazing talent that exists all over the world, and what it takes to put on an international festival of this caliber.
We attended the festival, not only as volunteers and ticket package holders, but also as Sundance rejects. Were we disapointed that our film, Number 9, was not chosen to be in the Sundance Festival? Sure. Were we betting all our money on it? Definitely not. While enduring the arduous volunteer task of guarding coats in the press room, Nathan got the chance to speak with one of the heads of the Short Film program. He learned that over 6,000 short films are submitted to Sundance each year, and roughly 60 can be selected. While the odds are against us, we will keep trying. Josh Fox, director of the award-winning documentary “Gasland,” told us he was rejected by Sundance 5 times before he was accepted. His words of encouragement were definitely motivating.
The overall festival experience was very enjoyable. After each screening there was a Q&A, and more often than not the director, crew, and cast would be there to answer questions and shed insight into their creative process. The shuttles to and from venues were quick and reliable; just don’t walk in the street or risk getting run over. Throughout our time there we ran into a lot of familiar faces like Lea Thompson, Ron Livingston, and Mark Ruffalo.
How to survive Sundance? Express passes are the way to go. With this pass, you can have your way with the festival and come and go as you please. Can’t afford a $2,500 pass? Neither could we. Just be prepared to wait in line, and get there EARLY.
We saw a lot of movies, some amazing, some not so much. Here are some that really stood out in my mind…
Enter the Void: One of the most painfully amazing and psychologically disturbing films I’ve ever seen. This comes highly recommended to people who can appreciate originality at its max, but with a giant skull and cross bone warning.
Sympathy for Delicious: Mark Ruffalo directs and stars.
The Violent Kind: Don’t do it. Terrible acting, overall annoying.
Gasland: A must see if you ever plan to drink water again
Wasteland: A tear-jerker.
The Taqwacores: A cool insight into an underground Muslim-punk scene completely invented by the writers.
His and Hers: Amazing cinematography.
To sum it all up, we both left feeling very motivated and inspired. Many of the successful people we met were not much older or different from ourselves. I had an image in my head of all these filmmakers being 50 year old white men with beards and berets. But, they have all started where we are, and have been through what we are going through now. We all had a common denominator, which was that we love to make movies. And that’s what we are going to continue to do.