Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 20th to February 1st.
Festival Day 10
Kevin had asked me to come into the Film Office by 10:00am but at 6:30am I was just getting off a couch in the condo of the Object team. The Polish Pool Party of the night before was incredible, but getting up was not so much fun, especially since I’d slept on a couch and not in the massive king-sized bed that I’d paid for at the Zermatt Resort, half an hour’s drive away. I raced over to the Eccles in time to get the 8:00am shuttle back to the resort. I was there around 7:30am and luckily the driver was there and had nobody booked so he just drove me back right away. That gave me an hour to shower and dress and get back on the 9:00am shuttle back into Park City. I gazed longingly at the untouched bed for a minute, but just for a minute.
It was the last day of the festival for me, and all of the Film Office staff were working the Awards Ceremony that night. At 4:30pm we all piled into a few cars and headed for the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse, where after taking a huge group photo with about 100 other staff and volunteers, we each separated to our posts. My FOC Kevin had a special job during the awards: he was one of the onstage people who handed the award trophy to the presenter (that’s him on the left in the picture below.) That meant that I was covering the entrance by myself. My job was to look out for our film teams and make sure they had the right number of tickets and that they got inside without any hassles. I had a list of about 20 of our teams that were still in town, but I didn’t know who was coming. It turned out that I think about five of our teams came, and although I wanted to socialize a bit with them later, I really only got to spend a little time with the Object team.
The Awards Ceremony itself was hosted by comedian Tig Notaro and there were some special awards presenters, too (Adam Scott, Kevin Pollak, Edgar Wright, Winona Ryder). It was nice to be so close to an event like that. I actually ended up standing next to the guys doing all the editing, lighting, and camera direction.
Our job as a Film Office team when the ceremony was over was to clear a whole section of chairs as quickly as possible so that the party could begin. The seated area became the dancefloor and it has become a bit of a competition between different Sundance departments to see who can clear their section the fastest. I think it took us just about five minutes, but there was no way to determine if we won or not.
After that was over, all of our jobs were essentially complete, and we could just enjoy the party. Unfortunately for me, the venue became very crowded and very loud very quickly, and it was hard to find people or even to get to the bar. I had to keep my eye on the clock in order to catch a shuttle back into Park City (the Fieldhouse is in Kimball Junction, a little north of town) in order to connect with the last Zermatt shuttle which was at 1:00am from Eccles. This made the “party” a little more stressful for me than it should have been. I wasn’t even able to enjoy my third drink ticket since the bar lineups were so insane.
I did run into my good friend Lindsay, though. I worked with her at Hot Docs last year and she’s recently moved to Brooklyn, so it was great to see her and meet her new boyfriend, too. And I briefly got to say goodbye to Kevin, but my good intentions to say goodbye to everyone I’d met in the Film Office came to naught. On top of that, I lost track of the Object team pretty early on and really wanted to hug all of those beautiful Polish women goodbye.
My meticulous planning worked out a little too well, and I found myself outside the Eccles by about 12:30am, shivering in the frigid cold. There wasn’t really anyone else around, and I admit I worried a little bit about whether the shuttle would show up or not. I was a very happy man when I saw the little white van pull into the nearly empty parking lot. And then strangely enough, someone else popped out of a parked car and got in. It was a guy I’d met on the way in that morning, an aspiring filmmaker from Orange County. He’d been out at a party or two, and talked to me non-stop all the way back. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was exhausted and almost completely unable to engage with anything he was saying.
By 1:30am on the last day of my festival, the untouched bed in my room never looked so good…