Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 22nd to February 3rd.
Festival Day 8
Another very quiet day in the office which allowed me to see two films. At noon, there was a volunteer screening of Penny Lane’s documentary Hail Satan?, which was an excellent examination of the rise of The Satanic Temple, which turns out to be a much more political organization than you might think. The film explores issues of religious liberty, the separation of church and state, the nature of organized religion, and even the limits of anarchy and resistance. All with a generous helping of (forgive me) black humour.
Then at 5:45pm, I was able to catch This Is Not Berlin at the Library Theatre, an enjoyable 80s-set coming-of-age story. Director Hari Sama explained that it was a semi-autobiographical look at his early exposure to the art and music scenes of Mexico City. This one had a killer soundtrack, too.
I was conveniently nearby The Shop, an events venue that was hosting the closing night party for the Sundance Talent Forum. I was determined to attend to see my friend Carla Patullo perform. I met Carla back in 2015 at the Scruffy City Film and Music Festival in Knoxville, where she was attending with her film Cinderella, a Shadow Ballet. Last year after Sundance, I stayed with her and her partner Elizabeth in Los Angeles for a few days. It was great to see both of them here in Park City, and to catch up on how they’re doing. Carla is just finishing a feature score for a film which will premiere in a few weeks at SXSW.
I ended up running into lots of people I knew at the party, including the filmmakers from Adalmadrina (Pepe, Carlota, and Oriol), my friend from Toronto Grant Cermak (15 year Sundance volunteer), and Natacha, a Slamdance programmer I have bumped into several times this year. I also had good chats with longtime Artist Relations volunteer Hayley and my US shorts counterpart Angelo. Bobby was there for a while, too, and invited me to join him later at the Park Avenue hotel bar, where the shorts programmers were gathering with some of our filmmakers.
That began at 11pm, and I think I stayed just over an hour. We said goodbye to the team from Brotherhood and I had a good conversation with producer Maria Gracia Turgeon, who also produced the Oscar-nominated Fauve. She was saying she was disappointed she couldn’t go to Clermont-Ferrand this year, but that it was because she had to be at the Oscar nominees’ luncheon, which didn’t sound too terrible. She’s having a very good year. We also said goodbye to Gregorio Rodríguez, the producer of End, who’s returning to the Dominican Republic.
A busy and social day, and I realize how close to the end of the festival we are now. I’m going to try to see as many films as I can over the next few days, but we’ll also be preparing for the Awards Ceremony and party on Saturday night.