| 01/18/2013 | 1 Comments

Sundance Marquee

Yesterday was the opening day of the Sundance 2013 Film Festival, and it’s my ninth year attending as a veteran filmmaker and independent film aficionado. The people that flock to Utah every year and brave the cold to see movies and schmooze at parties until the wee hours of the night and then get up and do it all over again the next day are truly their own breed. For example, I flew into Salt Lake, shuttled my way up to Park City to drop my bag off at the condo, then headed to the Eccles to waitlist three hours early, May in the SummerIt’s become an annual tradition to waitlist the opening night film, but it does require numerous layers to avoid frost-bite, good company to help pass the time, and if planned properly, a sandwich (otherwise I would starve and freeze.

While waiting in line, my movie date, Josh Mandel, Slamdance Film Festival Programmer and accomplished producer talked shop about the recent indie feature he just wrapped, This Last Lonely Place, directed by Steve Anderson. Josh explained they shot on the Canon 5D and thought it was really the right camera for the project because a lot of the film takes place inside a car. While we were discussing cameras, another filmmaker overhearing our conversation, started talking with us about the new Canon 6D, and simultaneously whipped it out of his bag. (Note to self: everyone seems to have a Canon in their bag.) He explains that it has a full frame sensor, wifi, and other features the 5D has but at a lower price point. His friend, an editor and filmmaker was curiously singing the praises of FCP X, which took Josh and I by surprise. “You have to give it a chance, the layout is very different but at the same time, it’s very intuitive.”

These are the kinds of conversations that make waitlisting interesting. My early arrival paid off as I was number 18 in line. For me it’s a worthwhile effort because in a geeky film-fan way, I think it’s kind of cool to start the festival week listening to Robert Redford’s welcome and introduction.

In his usual casual Sundance fashion, Festival and Institute Founder Robert Redford took the podium to kick off the week of films. “This festival has given us the opportunity to satisfy one of our goals which was to create an audience for the filmmakers in our lab program.” He went on to say the labs began in 1980 and was always the core focus from the beginning days of the institute.  Redford continued, “The Lab’s purpose was to create a development process for new voices in independent film and increase their skill sets so that maybe they could get their films made and showing them before the festival. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of that (the Labs) being our core purpose.” In recent years, the Institute has developed the lab process in other countries, including Jordan, which May In the Summer was produced from.

May in the Summer is the second feature film from Sundance alumni, Cherien Dabis. It is the story of a young woman who returns to her family in Amman, weeks before she is to be married to her Muslim fiance. With a disapproving born-again Christian mother, and her two sisters behaving like children, May must decide if her marriage is meant to be. Beautifully shot, May in the Summer is a charming film that tells the story about how family dynamics and a cross-cultural upbringing can have deep influence one’s perception of self.  [Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with DP, Brian Rigney Hubbard, about his work on the film and shooting on the Alexa.]





1 Comment on "SUNDANCE ’13: OPENING NIGHT"

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  1. Peter Lago says:

    I love that type of synchronicity, Chris. Enjoy Sundance. Can’t wait to read more!

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