For two weeks I’ve read and heard nothing but insiders accounts of the Sundance Film Festival. So I thought it might be fun to hear an outsider’s account. My son, Matt and his girlfriend, Kim, were right in the heart of the beast. Matt files this report:We happened to be in Park City for the Sundance Film festival. Kim and I wandered down to Main Street, Park City's downtown area, to check out the festivities. All around the area were huge signs for SUNDANCE07. However, once you get there it looks like any other ski resort downtown area, except that it's inundated with classic LA types. How can you tell the people from LA? Because in 30 degree weather they're either wearing a giant parka with three scarves or a tank top and jeans (yes, we saw both). Only by pure chance did some people dress appropriately, and you still knew they were from LA because they wore something that would only be fashionable to people who live in West Hollywood (think rhinestones, lots of rhinestones). Here is where it would be appropriate to wear Uggs, but nobody did.
Sundance is supposed to be a film festival, so theoretically there should be some theaters playing movies. We found one (The Egyptian Theater) with a giant line outside. Tickets are ridiculously expensive and hard to get. If you want to see an agent wait in line while freezing his ass off, Sundance is the place for you.
I grabbed a copy of the movie listings and decided to read a few of the descriptions. Let me share them with you. The first was a movie about the relationship between identical twin brothers and how it changes when one gets a sex change. The next was about a man falling in love with his horse. If either of these gets nominated for an Oscar the movie industry should just shoot themselves.
If you go to one of these festivals, I'd also like to suggest that you avoid any movie which uses the terms "unique perspective", "worlds torn apart", or "weaves together" in it's description. Also, if the movie refers to itself as "cinema" stay far, far away.
I tried a beer called "Polygamy Porter." It's not as good as it sounds.
As we wandered down Main Street I managed to categorize most people into three groups:
1) Agents/Producers/Actors: These are the people walking around with their cell phones attached to their ears and completely unaware of where they are. They are more than happy to push you out of the way, while their wives drag them into the boutique shops to spend their money. Most of the A-list actors had already left for the week because of the SAG awards, which meant we got an even better show: the B and C-list actors. Imagine fifty Angelyne's walking around in the cold. Also, you can distinguish the agents from the rest since they never have to warm up inside, seeing as how they work for the devil.
2) Film Students: These are the 20-somethings with the indie haircuts and the strange piercings. They all think they are being unique, but couldn't look more cookie-cutter. For example, they all wore Sundance 07 shirts and hats. Way to break the mold guys. You could overhear them talking about "beauty", and "symbols" in their "films" (because they would never work on "movies" or G-d forbid "television").
3) Locals: They couldn't be more friendly to your face, but truthfully can't stand Sundance. One local I met wished that it had snowed this year so he could watch the freakshows in their fur coats and high heels slipping down Main Street. They actually raise prices on almost everything for the week of Sundance. You want a burger? That'll be $12. Now I know Park City isn't cheap to start with, but they take full advantage of the situation. Hey, I can't blame them.
So there you have it. Sundance is a big, snooty excuse to go to a ski town, wait outside in the cold and if you're lucky see a movie. If you want my advice, go to Park City, ski the slopes and download some of the Sundance shorts off iTunes to watch on the plane. You may actually enjoy the area, and raise the price of my Apple Computer stock. It's a win-win.
P.S. To be fair, there is one movie that looked really interesting at Sundance: "In the Shadow of the Moon." Of course, it's not like I got to watch it. Hooray Netflix.
You can read Matt's Red Sox blog, Dirty Watah. Talk to you tomorrow from Gotham.