Friday, February 7, 2014

The Sundance Post: 2014


And so ends another festival, and a very successful one at that. In all I saw 20 films, breaking my personal record, and also managed to catch at least one screening on each of the 10 days of Sundance (including the big winner Whiplash, which was a highlight of the week.) If you haven't already, you can read my capsule reviews of this year's films here, here, here and finally here.

I was busier than usual with work-related activities and I also made the executive decision to not lug my camera around unnecessarily. The result is a smaller crop of photos but since every Q&A looks the exact same, that's not necessarily a problem.

That first image above is of the historic Egyptian Theater on Main Street. As part of this year's New Frontier, every night the facade was lit up with a series of adaptive images projected from across the street. It was great having New Frontier back on Main Street and I wish I had more time to explore it, particularly the Oculus Rift installations that I hear were pretty trippy.


This year's festival closed with William H. Macy's "Rudderless," a very good film about a man mourning his son's death who finds some direction by covering his son's music. It was Macy's directorial debut and very promising, with one of the best-handled "twists" I've ever seen.

The best Q&A award goes to "They Came Together," which saw director David Wain joined by stars Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and Max Greenfield. The film is essentially one long satirical sketch about romantic comedies (imagine a feature film version of the movie-within-a-movie sequence of Don Jon) and the cast was fittingly sarcastic during the panel. Here's a video I shot of the Q&A but fair warning, there is some adult-ish sexual language.



And here is director Lynn Shelton and the crew of "Laggies" taking questions in the MARC theater.


That's Jake Paltrow (brother of Gwyneth) taking questions after a screening of his film "Young Ones," which was another one of my favorites. Directors have a tendency to be very vague when asked about the artistic choices they make while making a film (not wanting to undercut the poetic ambiguity, I suppose) but Paltrow's answers were all surprisingly direct.

Young Ones stars Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning. Watch for it.


Speaking of Elle Fanning, she performed a reading during this year's Celebration of Music in Film Event.


As did Glenn Close.


I didn't make it to any of the musical acts at ASCAP this year, but I was able to catch a series of performances at the Celebration of Music in Film. Above is the performer Jetta, who killed it and whose music you can find here.


Another of the evening's performers was Rae Spoon, who was the subject of the documentary film "My Prairie Home." I wasn't able to catch the movie, but Spoon had a great sound at the celebration event.


And of course, Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, joined a small jazz number who are no doubt renowned in jazz circles but whose names unfortunately aren't as memorable as "Flea". I was going to post a picture of Flea's face but I just couldn't pass up this one of him in power stance. (And unlike the Peppers' Super Bowl performance, his guitar was plugged in this time.)

I only had to attend one red carpet this year, which was fantastic because red carpets are the absolute worse. People often mistakenly think they're glamorous. You're wrong. As a journalist you're packed into a space considerably smaller than your physical body where you wait for an hour for "the stars" to arrive. When they finally do, it becomes a gauntlet challenge where they try to pass through as quickly as possible while reporters literally climb on top of each other, thrusting cameras and microphones in order to ask extremely asinine questions.

But here's Mitt Romney, arriving for the Salt Lake Gala premiere of "Mitt" which is now available on Netflix (it's also not meh).

Lastly, I didn't want to bombard ya'll with instagram photos but I had to share this. I attended the Sundance Awards Ceremony for the first time this year and was assigned a table with other journalists. Now, most people know already, but journalists are notorious booze hounds, particularly when the booze is free.

I personally don't imbibe, but even without my contributions we had a couple dozen bottles of Stella on the table by the end of the night (full disclosure, a few passers-by added to the collection, but only after it had already become formidable).

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