Friday, January 23, 2009

500 days of sundance, part 2

We now return to our story, already in progress.

Day 4. Sunday.

10:00 a.m. Karen gives me a ride into town. She is worried that I'm not eating. I promise her that I'm headed to a producers' lunch. (The producers' lunch is the only thing Sundance does for producers. Destin gets $500 and a Timberland jacket and Timberland hiking boots and various tickets to receptions and brunches. I get quiche.)

10:30 a.m. I take a shuttle to Main Street. I overhear the man next to me telling a filmmaker that he's a film critic and head of an Italian film festival. I introduce myself and he asks me to send him a screener of Short Term 12. I'm rather proud of my schmoozing.

11:30 a.m. I walk into the producers' lunch, steel myself, then walk up to a couple at a random table and ask if I can sit with them. Both of the table occupants (the producers of Nobody Knows You, Nobody Gives a Damn) shriek when they see that I produced Short Term 12. They tell me they love the movie, and David shows me the button on his jacket - it's the pin for Short Term 12. He tells me he was excited when he found it on the ground. I also meet a producer who turns out to be a good friend of my friend Maggie's. I congratulate myself on my excellent choice of tables as I eat my quiche.

12:00 p.m. Mary Jane Skalski, the producer of The Visitor, Mysterious Skin, and The Station Agent, among others, gives a talk about producing. Part of her talk was about tough love, letting people you respect rip your project to shreds so that it can be better in the end. I feel inspired to take criticism better.

12:30 p.m. Michelle Satter, the Director of Sundance's Feature Film Program, introduces the five fellows of Sundance Creative Producing Initiative. I would like to apply for the program but I see that I may be too pale.

12:45 p.m. I force myself to go up to another table and introduce myself. I meet the director of a short I haven't seen. She tells me she is "a shrieking atheist."

1:00 p.m. I decide two tables of producers and one film critic on the shuttle is my schmooze limit for the day.

1:30 p.m. I meet my friend Geoff (fellow LTL veteran) for coffee on Main Street. He's the co-producer of a film that I have tickets for the next day, called Adam.

2:30 p.m. I meet Destin on Main Street. We run into to a few other filmmakers from our program on the sidewalk. We chat about what a genius Destin is. I wait for his sister Joy while he goes to a press reception.

3:00 p.m. Joy and I walk around Main Street. On the sidewalk across from a fur shop is a group of scary animal rights activists who are dressed like zombies. Joy and I are kind of scared to walk past them. I'm afraid they're going to pour paint on my leather purse or grab Joy's fake fur-lined jacket.

3:30 p.m. Joy and I find a little bookshop/coffeeshop to hide out in.

4:30 p.m. Destin gets out of his reception and we head to an art gallery for an NBC/Universal reception. It's completely packed. As we stand at the door about to go in, a woman comes up to the woman checking names at the door and tells her that the place is completely over fire capacity and they have to stop letting people in. We slip in just before they close the door behind us and try to push our way through to the wine bar.

5:00 p.m. We don't win $25,000 in the business card raffle.

5:15 p.m. Two other short filmmakers and I talk about what a genius Destin is for approximately 45 minutes.

6:00 p.m. Joy and I eat dinner at Nacho Mama's while Destin meets with a manager interested in signing him. (Destin has previously informed me that he only wants to be represented by a nice person.)

8:00 p.m. I look over the list of short films in Shorts Program 1 and decide to wait list it. Ones of the shorts in this program is called Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: She Walked Calmly Disappearing Into the Darkness. And I am not even kidding. If you would like to watch it (and maybe explain it to me after,) here it is:

8:30 p.m. Joy, Destin, and I watch the program, which is very strong. A couple I like are Omelette from Bulgaria and Netherland Dwarf from Australia. Two are about boys (one English, one Russian) smoking and drinking for the first time then losing their virginity. It makes me wonder why they're in the same block. One is about an evangelical family that goes around murdering people with no faith. Another is about an elderly mother and her mentally retarded son who live in a house filled with birds and take baths together.

10:15 p.m. Alex, a documentary filmmaker working on a British show called Follow the Filmmaker, asks if he can interview me. I'm relieved to learn that the filmmaker he's following is Olivia Silver, director of Little Canyon, a short in the program that I very much liked. And understood. Which makes me sound smarter in the interview. I give him a screener of Short Term 12.

10:35 p.m. We wrap up the interview. Alex tells Destin that I was great and he could have gone all night. Destin smirks at him. Alex says that phrase doesn't mean the same thing in England.

Day 5. Monday.

10:30 a.m. Karen gives me a ride into town. I wait in line at Eccles theater. A woman near me in line shows me the picture she got with Ewan MacGregor who was at the theater earlier for his screening of I Love You Phillip Morris.

12:15 p.m. Destin shows up at Eccles and we watch Adam, the film Geoff worked on. I lurrrrve it. It would be great to make a movie like this one day. I find Geoff to congratulate him.

2:15 p.m. I try to head home on the bus to take a nap, but Adam, one of our actors, needs an extra credential, so I reroute.

3:00 p.m. I meet Destin, Joy, and our A.D. Brad at Mountain Vineyard Church, where the Windrider Forum is based while at Sundance. (Windrider is really how I know Destin - we both had films as part of the Forum last year.)

4:30 p.m. The four of us meet Adam and his girlfriend Katie and stand in line for an hour and a half to get into a Damien Rice concert. I stole this picture from Adam's Facebook page. Katie with the line for the concert in the background:

6:00 p.m. We finally get into the show. Our numb toes and fingers are totally worth it. Despite our poor view, I develop a little crush on Damien Rice.

7:00 p.m. We head over to the church, but miss the spaghetti dinner. We watch three current Windrider films, Small Change, Deface, and Unattached, which are great. I had seen (and loved) Deface at Savannah Film Festival and had met director John Arlotto there. Here's a trailer:

That's all for now. Must sleep.


  1. Omigosh Michelle, you are SO funny. And I am SO jealous I'm not at Sundance this year.

    I'd love to hear more about what you're doing now. I quit seminary and my church job end of September to pusue acting, ha ha. I've been doing a bunch of short, independent/student films and am working on two right now through mid-March, and it is SO fun. I'm substitute teaching to make money and to have a flexible schedule, it is really crazy, I still can't believe I'm doing this.

    But anyway, if you ever get a chance send me a message and update me. Are you still with Adam VanConant?

  2. damien rice was the highlight for the pic you stole ;)