For Sundance Tells Me So

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, PARK CITY (USA) — There are things you should know BEFORE coming to Sundance. I heard about a family that decided at the last minute to come to Sundance from the upper midwest. They arrived thinking they could just find a hotel, a car, and a typical ticket booth to purchase tickets for any showing of their choice. WRONG! So, this being my first year I thought some of you would like to know how to do things with minimal ‘I wish we hads.” This list is not complete or even all that accurate, so take it or leave it without judgment.

There is a FILM GUIDE that should be read cover to cover. This will enable aspiring filmmakers to be aware of events like, oh, I don’t know, meeting commissioning editors. This is an event where anyone can sign up to meet with editors from PBS, HBO, Discovery, ITVS and even Sundance channel. You sit with eight other filmmakers and the editors . You pretend that the editors are really listening with interest to what you have dedicated your life to for the last several years. They tell you to call them and they give you their card and you walk out wondering if they had special cards printed out with fake numbers on them. (The film guide is available online for print out — free!)

gephardt.jpgThe film guide also lets you review all the films being screened, their times and locations. (Films like FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (featuring Dick Gephardt’s daughter, Chris) and THE TEN (about the Ten Commandments … like these ten Sundance mandates). They try to put everything in a handy calendar so you can plan out your day as efficiently as possible. This efficiency is only affective if you get up early and stay out late and never eat. Pretty soon the movies all blend together except the ones you hate. Those you remember vividly!(Guide free. Films are not.)

The film guide also informs you of Panel Discussions like HISTORY IS MADE, WOMEN IN FILM, MAKING MOVIES THAT MATTER. These panels include current directors, producers, writers and casts of this year’s Sundance films sharing insights and challenges about getting their film to the festival. (Guide is still free and guess what, so are most of the panels!) Check out blog on these panels, or not.

warmClothes.jpgAttire around Park City. I am a skier. So warning to skiers, avoid looking at the mountain. Really. Stop looking. Ignore the ski boots on the bus. Keep your eyes closed. Pretend the night skiing is cold, and boring and oh forget it. Ski half a day. During the festival the slopes are pretty empty. Cool. Having never just sauntered around a ski town, I was unprepared for the cold. It just is not cool to wear ski-wear to keep warm at the events. What is up with that? I suggest a long coat that covers your legs and those warm fuzzy boots to match the coat. Don’t forget that fuzzy hat! Aren’t you all that! Of course, locals will know you are a festival goer, but who cares? (Oh yea, skiers!)

Traveling around Park City. This is kind of cool. They have a shuttle system that is FREE! You just have to find the convenient locations to hop on. They are not heated, but most of the people are. If you are desperate you can always catch a ‘taxi’. They charge about $3 to $5 per person. Kind of expensive for the ONE mile ride, but sometimes the five spot is worth finding out that thawing out can be painful in a pleasant and itchy kind of way.

Nourishment and sustenance It is a good thing that so many things are free because the food isn’t. I think that they have a special menu (with special prices)for the festival week, but I can’t prove that. I spent over $8.00 for two slices of French toast! ARGH!

Airline tickets. Do it in advance. Duh.

Hotel reservations — Do it in advance, like in October and then you will have money for food when you are here. Seriously, if you go with friends you can all camp out in a condo for a fair price per night. Divided up that is. Check it out. Best if you are near Main Street. Easy access. No parking problems. No driving issues either. And for the sneak in skier, there is a lift right down town. Really!

Film tickets. You can go through some weird ticket process and pay a fortune for this lovely opportunity or you can go to the movie an hour early, stand in the wait list line, paying $10.00 per ticket or $15.00 for Premieres (this year). Sometimes you can even find scalpers with tickets. The lines are inside a tent so you won’t freeze. No saving seats for friends in the wait list line! Yea right!

Parties. I’m too exhausted to go. I am here to learn as much as I can about filmmaking. I don’t care about partying. Guess my age is showing. I hear there is some action going on. So if you are into that sort of thing have fun. I come for the movies, to learn how to make better movies and to write about what I think. Scary I know. What is this world coming too?

Eleven? Kind of like a bakers dozen. This one is simple. Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t brag out loud about your film or who you met or speak too loudly on your cell phone! Tomorrow I won’t remember who you are and you won’t remember who I am. Although next year one of us could be on a panel! YIKES!

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