Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Getting ready to leave
The time has come to pack up and leave Sundance 2010. At the last party I went to, a nice, small gathering at a private condo thrown by the Zipline company (a new marketing, publicity and distribution company that has set new models here in Sundance with films such as Bass Akward), we all got to have real conversations with people rather than yell at each other's ears, as we do in some of the big, crowded and loud parties. Conversations were about war movies (Restrepo, The Dry Land), about new trends of distribution (Do It Yourself, youtube, itune, amazon...etc) and about the end of the era of large studios...It was a good way to bring Sundance to an end.
In the past few days I have seen many films, including Welcome to the Rileys with Melissa Leo, James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart. The cast was great and the story intimate and tight. It was good to see Melissa shine again. I also finally got to see Leon Gast's film Smash His Camera - terrific film, masterfully done! I loved it. I saw it at a P&I screening and was pleased to see that the audience, made of industry and press, stayed with the film throughout, laughing at the right moments, gasping at the right moments, and sticking around until the last frame and the last credit. Leon has become quite the hit here in Sundance. I missed the BMI Roundtable as I had to go to a screening, but I heard that out of all the many directors and composers on that roundtable, Leon was the biggest hit. People came to me afterwards and thanked me for introducing them to him (as I've been doing here and there when I was at the same event here with Leon).
At the BMI dinner Tuesday night at Zoom, a great event where everyone has to get up after each course and move to another arbitrarily pre-assigned table so that you always set with different people at each course, I sat down first with Leon and his wife Geri along with Bob Gruen, the manager of Alice Cooper and others, but quickly moved to other tables to sit with totally different people, getting the chance to meet those I otherwise would have never talked to. It was great.
I also got to see Heidi Ewing and Rache Grady's documentary 12th & Delaware. Amazing film. The craftsmanship is superb and the story they tell, a tale of two clinics on the same corner, one performing abortions, the other a pro life center that tries to change the young women's mind before they go ahead with an abortion, is strong, tight, disturbing and moving at the same time. I applaud both filmmakers for creating such a sensitive and strong film.
Sitting one day at the Filmmakers Lodge in Sundance I got into a conversation with The Dry Land writer / director Ryan Pierce Williams and producer Heather Rae (Frozen River, The Dry Land) and talked about the process of shooting the film in Texas and New Mexico (they loved shooting there), about working with the actors, about how much Ryan loved working with editor Sabine Hoffman and how much he appreciated her dedication and emotional investment in the film... I plan on interviewing Ryan when we're all back in NY and hope to show the film sometime prior to its release.
Heading out of Sundance now. Will try to recap things in a day or two. Until then, stay warm!