Monday, March 11, 2013

Sundance 2013: The Photographs


I know, this post is more than a month late but the Utah Legislative session began the freaking day after Sundance ended so cut me some slack. I already posted my Sundance wrap up post so I'll try to keep the redundancies to a minimum but there are just some things that deserve more than a camera phone.

Things like, Main Street's Egyptian Theater.



As a member of the press, I'm mostly relegated to the Holiday Village Cinemas during the festival but I always try to see at least one movie in the old Egyptian at the top of Main. This theater, along with its sister in Ogden, are hands down my two favorite cinemas in all of Utah (now that the Cinedome is closed, sigh). They have that amazing feel of nostalgia for Hollywood's Golden Age, before HD television when going to the theater for a talkie was an experience. For some of us it still is, and theaters like the Egyptians reward us for our cinephilia.


My screening at the Egyptian this years was Austenland, directed by Jerusha Hess, wife to and co-writer of Napolean Dynomite. Besides a week of amazing independent film and the ability to see the year's best movies before anyone else, the true magic of Sundance is the post-screening Q&A's that the filmmakers and cast hold with the audience. Sadly, Hess' Q&A was hijacked by a bunch of twi-hards who wanted to know what it was like working with Stephanie Meyer (who produced the film), but Hess nonetheless seemed very charming.


Speaking of charm, there's no topping Sundance-regular, wunderkind and all-that-is-man Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His film, Don Jon's Addiction, made its worldwide premiere at Sundance and the versatile writer-director-actor stopped by to chat with the audience about feminism, sexism in Hollywood and how to carefully trim pornographic clips to technically not exceed the bounds of an MPAA "R" rating. Don Jon's will be hitting theaters soon, it will be interesting to see if they pulled it off.



This here is Stu Zicherman, who directed and co-wrote A.C.O.D., which stands for Adult Children of Divorce and was quite possibly my favorite film of the festival (I can't make up my mind. Too Much Good!) After I gave the movie an A rating on Wood's Stock they were nice enough to retweet my blog post. Hashtags people, get on that train.

As always I can't choose between color and B&W. I love the balance of the big red screen but I also love how Stu comes out of the dark in the BW picture, almost like a giant Ying Yang. Thoughts?


This is the team behind "Breathe In," including the film's director Drake Doremus (the man with the microphone). Drake is the writer-director of Like Crazy, one of the best movies I've ever seen at Sundance and one of the best films of 2011. I had the chance to briefly meet Drake during Film Church of Sundance 2011. I wouldn't expect him to remember, I just felt like mentioning that. Most people brag about getting a high five from Justin Bieber, I get star struck by indie filmmakers.
The Breathe In Q&A was interesting because a man called the film predictable and then got booed by the crowd. I wouldn't call it predictable as much as I would call it familiar or natural, but either way it is a beautifully-captured story.


And, as always, between movies there's the chance to catch some amazing music. Like The Head and The Heart (above) who closed out the festival at the ASCAP music cafe. THATH, if you haven't discovered them yet, is (are?) amazing but if you like Justin Bieber then just do us all a favor and stay away. The last thing I need is to see Down In The Valley covered on Glee. After losing fun. I'm not sure my heart could take it.

When I took this shot I was cursing that yellow ball hanging from the ceiling. Now that I see the picture though, I kind of love it. I wish it was brighter.


I was also able to catch a bar-set by my cousin's band Van Lady Love. My cousin has two bands (The other being Lady And Gent, a folkier outfit). I'd like to tell you where to go to find them but I'm not entirely sure. Google it, that usually works.


And then, there's always Main Street. People often ask me "Ben, I'm heading to Sundance, what should I do?" and more often than not they haven't exactly planned ahead to buy screening tickets, aren't willing to wait list and buy screening tickets and, frankly, have no interest in attending a screening. That, admittedly, limits your choices.

But Main Street, especially on opening weekend, is buzzing: art galleries, live music, restaurants and great people watching. I'm always struck by the dedication of the club-going crowd. The fact that women will brave strapless mini-dresses in the dead of Utah winter is nothing short of heroic. Also, if you're lucky, you might see a star or two, if you're in to that sort of thing. To be honest, you probably won't see anyone, or at least anyone you recognize. I brushed shoulders with the girl from The Mob Doctor and it took me more than an hour to figure out why she looked so familiar, then again, it is The Mob Doctor.


And how awesome are these windows? I'm a sucker for silhouette (and empty benches, but that's not important right now) so I stood across the street from the Kimball Arts Center for about 30 minutes just snapping people walking by.


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