Okay, I’m going to put this out there right off the bat so we’re all clear…
2009 marked my first trip to Sundance.
Yep. That ‘s the honest truth. Hard to believe, right? Not really. I’ve always told myself that I wouldn’t make that expensive trip unless I had a film in competition or had to attend because of some job. Well, guess what? The job came a callin’.
So, how did it all go for me? In two words I would sum up the experience as exhaustingly educational. The great thing about being a sponsor of a major festival like Sundance is that you get all the perks that filmmakers in competition receive, but with a lot less work and headache. Sure, I was there on official SAGIndie business, but compared to the countless press interviews, networking and general “marketing” that a filmmaker goes through, I would say I had it pretty easy.
I was fortunate to see many quality films (Humpday and Bronson were two of my favorites), attend numerous parties (the We Live in Public bash was off the hook), explore a gorgeous resort town that I’ve always wanted to visit, and see the historic inauguration of our 44th President (albeit on CNN at a condo in Park City). I was able to experience all of this while getting the word out about SAG’s low budget agreements. It should be mentioned that our little brunches were quite successful, mainly thanks to our gracious hosts — Lee Daniels (Push), Justin Kirk (Against the Current), Anne Heche (Spread), Paula Patton (Push), Lynn Shelton (Humpday), Lynette Howell (The Greatest), and Cherien Dabis (Amreeka).
According to my co-workers, this year was an excellent year to attend Sundance for two main reasons: (A) it wasn’t nearly as crowded as years before and (B) it wasn’t as cold as years before. Boy, they could have fooled me. Everywhere I went seemed packed to capacity and every time I stepped outside I nearly froze (yes I’m originally from Alaska, but the nice Cali weather has weakened me).
Needless to say, all of the activity left me exhausted and with a bit of a cold, but I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just call me battle tested.