Sundance Blog: Fighting the Cold as the Fest Kicks Off


The idea behind arriving to Park City two days prior to the start of the ’09 Sundance Film Festival was twofold. Primarily, I wanted to be able to get in before the crowds to avoid the hassles of traveling into Salt Lake City this time of year. I also wanted to have a few days to get settled comfortably into festival mode. I despise having to shift gears instantaneously from the generally slow day-to-day life to the fast-paced atmosphere at a festival. The latter would have been no problem, had I not contracted what can only be described as the sinus cold from hell. Said sinus cold is the culprit in the temporary murder of my video blogging segments, as the stability of my voice is questionable at best.

Aside from my health complications, my first two days in Park City have been distinctively somber. The traffic is light, public tickets are still abundantly available and the word on the street — at least as of yesterday afternoon — was that no one was coming. That, of course, remains to be seen. What I can say is that Park City feels to be waking up a bit today, the first official day of the festival. The beast that is the ‘dance, lain dormant for an entire year, is beginning to rise from its slumber and the “men and women in black,” as the locals call the Hollywood folk, have begun to populate bus stops and coffee shops all over town. Today was spent dodging the early arrivals, with myself and Peter from /Film giving the Park City tour to Scott from We Are Movie Geeks, our newest condo-mate. Also new to our fight-filled movie blogger condo is Bob Stencil and crew, who are here covering the festival for Alex over at FirstShowing. We discovered the wild antics of Bob Stencil two years ago at Comic-Con and have been hooked ever since, and while Sundance is a much different beast than the Con, I do expect the Bob Stencil homepage to be filled with some interesting videos.

Tomorrow will bring us a rush of excitement as the festival really kicks into high gear. If all goes as planned I will have seen six movies once all said and done. Among tomorrow’s slate is the hard-punching documentary Tyson, the Sam Rockwell-led space flick Moon, the sex-filled comedy Humpday and a high school lacrosse drama called Toe-to-Toe. And if I’m not too out of the game, a midnight special to be determined.

Today being the fest’s first official day, it was time to check out the opening night selection, director Adam Elliot’s feature debut Mary and Max. Needless to say, it felt like a perfect film to start the festival as it was a testament to ambition and a uniquely artistic vision. You can read more about it in my Mary and Max review, in which the film scored some high marks. Sickness aside, Sundance ’09 is off to a great start. Now off to get some rest before tomorrow hellish schedule…

Final side note: I know that I’m out of commission in the video blogging arena, but Peter at /Film has captured some great stuff in his first day video blog. Check that out here.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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