The first Saturday in Sundance. By now almost everyone is here. The snow is still coming down and the streets and walkways are covered with snow and slush and everything that has to do with, well, a lot of snow...The celebrities have flocked to the snowy ski resort as well, attending screenings, parties, panels, various special events and even just hanging in the streets. The list is endless (and I'm not one to drop names...), but imagine if you will Kristen Stewart, James Franco, Marisa Tomei, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Moore, Lyle Lovett, and Paris Hilton all in one room... and that is just a tiny snippet.
But being in Sundance is all about the movies. You watch, talk, think, pitch, listens, discovers and dissects movies. In the theaters, on the shuttle buses, at the parties, on the streets. Everywhere. And everyone seems to be excited to be in the midst of it all. Its Sundance after all, where new worlds are discovered.
My day started with the screening of one of the most talked about surprise hits in Sundance,a small documentary about the age of Facebook, titled Catfish. Loved it. Charming, funny, compelling, intense at times and totally fresh, this film takes you on a journey with the filmmakers and their subject as he goes through an intense Facebook relationship that twists and turns like any great thriller. Going in I saw the whole team from the IFC Films. I wonder if by now they have already bought it...
Next I headed to the Eccles for the world premiere of Debra Granik's Winter Bone. I remember sitting in that theater a few years ago, watching her feature directorial debut and the world premiere of Down to the Bones, a film that was shot in the Hudson Valley and discovered Vera Farmiga... As the Sundance programmer introduced Debra she recalled that as well...Debra is an eloquent and serious filmmaker who is very generous towards her cast and crew. As she talked about their process of collaboration you could see that their camaraderie and mutual appreciation was deep and true.
A couple more films on Saturday, Davis Guggenheim's Waiting For Superman and Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Jack Goes Boating filled the rest of the day for me, leaving room for a few parties in the afternoon and late into the night. I look forward to interviewing Davis Guggenheim later on about Waiting for Superman, an important film about our education system. And I hope to bring Jack Goes Boating to Woodstock for a special screening! Hoffman is sooooooo great. We all know what an amazing and versatile actor he is, but now he proved to be also a deep and talented director.
In between and after movies I managed to go to a few parties, some at restaurants on Main Street, others at condos. Meeting so many filmmakers and industry members, from marketing directors, casting directors, financiers, producers, entertainment attorneys and on and on, the conversation always turns to the Woodstock Film Festival and I'm always happily surprised to hear the great reputation that the festival has, so far reaching and so good. These words are always music to my ears and I'm happy to invite those who have never been but would love to come to do so. Having new faces, new movers and shakers from the film world in Woodstock and the Hudson Valley is good for everyone; good for the economy, good for future film production in our area, good for the community and good for the newcomers. So expect many exciting new faces in Woodstock this fall. It will be great.