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Sundance 2012 Interview: Thoughts on the Festival from a Main Street Mainstay, Franz the Bear

We have brought you perspective on the Sundance Film Festival over the past week from critics to producers to the filmmakers themselves, but there is one person that almost everyone who comes to the festival knows (or at least has walked by before) – Franz the Bear. Franz has a prime seat on Main Street and has accumulated years of observations of the goings on that happen on the street that populates most of the party venues during the ‘Dance.

I sat down with Franz one snowy night on my way home from a party of my own to find out what Sundance means to him (you know, as a bear.)

How many times have you been to Sundance?

I’ve been here since the beginning.

What is your favorite Sundance memory?

This might be it! Usually people only stop to give me swag (which I suspect is actually more to promote themselves) or take silly pictures with me. This is the first time someone has taken the time to talk to me.

What is your favorite film that you’ve seen at Sundance?

I really don’t go to films during the festival. Since I’m right here on Main Street I usually just hang out and party with everyone and then end up hibernating during the day.

What other festivals do you enjoy going to?

I have never left Park City – I’m a homebody.

What are you most looking forward to at Sundance 2012?

I heard about this interactive installation called Bear 71? It’s supposed to be about a Canadian Rockie bear and I’ve never met one so that sounded pretty cool.

What are your tips for those going to Sundance for the first time?

It gets cold out so bundle up! And if you do, try not to wear real fur – if you weren’t born with it, it doesn’t belong on your body. And ladies – don’t wear heels. I have seen many girls take some serious tumbles walking down the street in those. Makes no sense to me.

What is your favorite venue at Sundance and why?

Venue? I think my bench right here is the place to be!

Is there something you must always do (or see) while at Sundance (besides movies)?

Like I said, I don’t really see movies, but if you camp out in one spot on Main long enough, you see pretty much everything (and everyone.)

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you at Sundance?

Oh man… well considering where I spend most of my time I see crazy things almost daily. But this year that actor from 30 Rock, I believe? I saw him going into a party and seemed like he was not feeling well. Not too long after, he was rushed out and taken to the hospital. I guess that wasn’t so much crazy as sad seeing as I always thought he was a pretty funny guy. I hear he’s okay now though – something about the altitude? I guess the snowy mountains really aren’t made for city folk.

Why do you think Sundance is important?

I’m not really sure – I like it when a bunch of people show up in town so that’s always fun. Other than that, I’ve never really understood this whole “movie” business.

Snuggle up with the rest of our Sundance 2012 coverage

Allison has always been fascinated by the power music has when paired with an image – particularly its effect in film. Thanks to a background in recording and her days spent licensing music to various productions (including, of course, movies), Allison can usually be found sticking around to see all the songs noted in a film’s credits and those listening to her iTunes inevitably ask, “What movie is this song from?”

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