Tag Archives: Sundance 2018

Sundance 2018: Day 8

Inspiration at Sundance 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 6

My busiest day of the festival, with three Indie Episodic premieres, back to back to back. The first two were at the Park Avenue Theatre (formerly the Yarrow) and the last was at the brand new cinema called The Ray. Priya and I were working at separate venues today and although I was a tiny bit nervous, I was also eager to take a more active role in hosting film teams and working with the venue staff. I’m happy to say that all of our screenings went smoothly.

After the second screening, I ran into young Sam Fragoso from the Talk Easy podcast. He had his luggage with him and was heading home to L.A. tonight. I found a comfortable chair in a corner and promptly fell asleep. I was awakened by the sound of someone’s voice saying “Is anyone here from Artist Relations?” My head jerked up and I jumped to my feet. It was one of the venue team with a very minor question, but then I spent the next hour trying to wake myself up fully. Luckily for the last screening, I had extra support from Sofia, another Artist Relations liaison.

Tonight was the Shorts Awards Party, which is always a great time. Unfortunately, since I’m not working on either of the shorts programmes this year, I wasn’t working the event, nor was I able to get a ticket. After coming home around 7:00pm, I decided to go see a film tonight to take my mind off missing the party. I went back to The Ray and caught Summer of ’84, an enjoyable coming-of-age/horror film that unfortunately looks a lot like Stranger Things. In any case, it was nice to see another film.

One more early morning premiere tomorrow at the Egyptian, which means I’m up again at 6:00am, but hoping I’ll have more time for myself soon.

Sundance 2018: Day 7

Sundance Dates 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 5

A busier day today, with the first of our Indie Episodic premieres, and the last of the Spotlight section premieres that we can actually attend. I was in the office from 10:00am until noon, when I was able to step out to attend Telefilm Canada’s annual luncheon. I didn’t see as many familiar faces as I expected but did briefly talk to Hot Docs’ director of programming Shane Smith, filmmaker Trevor Anderson, Brenda Lieberman of the Calgary International and Calgary Underground film festivals, Dorota Lech (TIFF and Hot Docs programmer), and Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin from Montreal’s Eyesteelfilm. I also met Caron Nightingale from APM Music, an LA-based music licensing company with an office in Toronto.

Then back to the office for a couple of more hours until I joined Priya at the brand new Ray Theatre for the premiere of Steve James’s (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself) new series America to Me. Despite the large size of the entourage, the load in went really smoothly and we started right on time. Accompanied by Shannen from the Press Office, Priya and I grabbed food at Burger King and then made our way to the Library Theatre, where we loaded in the film team from The Rider, which included director Chloe Zhao and the co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics. Another smooth screening had us finished for the day by about 9:30pm.

Since tomorrow is our busiest day, with Priya and I handling separate screenings all day at the Park Avenue (formerly the Yarrow) Theatre and The Ray, I came straight home to catch up on my blog posts and am now heading for bed by 11:00pm. Tomorrow night is the Shorts Awards, and I’ll be disappointed to miss them, so I sent off a bit of a Hail Mary pass of an email to the shorts liaisons, Syd and Romina, to see if I might be able to grab a ticket. My day should finish around 7 and although I’ll be tired, the opportunity to go the best party at Sundance should energize me. But I’m prepared to miss out if they have too many filmmaker ticket requests. We’ll wait and see…

Sundance 2018: Day 6

Artist Elations at Sundance 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 4

Another early morning for me. I was up at 6:00am to get into the office for 8:00am, but at least it had stopped snowing. Another quiet morning at HQ, though it was nice to chat with the other staff and volunteers. This is where we really get to know each other. And one of the Film Office Coordinators from my first festival in 2015 stopped by and not only remembered me, but had a substantial conversation with me. Rachel Franks is originally from Utah, and has had a very busy three years working in film all over the country. She’s come back home to work a different job where she can make and save some money, but it was clear she missed the festival. I suggested she return next year as a volunteer! Priya and I discussed our screening at the MARC tonight, and our schedule for the next few days, including our very busy Tuesday, and then let me go around 12:30pm. Not feeling hungry at all, I headed back to my lodging for a solid one-hour nap that turned into a two-hour nap. Then a quick shower to wake myself up, and off to get some dinner before our premiere tonight.

I met one of the volunteers I met on my shuttle ride, Adam from Chicago, at Squatter’s Roadhouse and had a nice burger and beer for dinner. I arrived at the MARC in plenty of time for our last premiere there: Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. It was nice to see Joaquin Phoenix and the screenwriter Jonathan Ames, and Gus Van Sant was also hanging out in our theatre lounge beforehand. In fact, it was a really large entourage, but the venue team and the film’s publicists were very helpful and we started on time and with no hassles.

I just headed back to the condo afterwards, unsure of whether I’d have enough energy for a midnight film. The pool, which is heated to 102° looked very tempting on my way in. If not tonight, then some other night! In the end, I opted to eat some food and just listen to music tonight. I’ll have to really cram a lot of films into the final few days!

Sundance 2018: Day 5

Winter Wonderland at Sundance 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 3

A very quiet start to the day in the Artist Relations Office. I was hoping more of our filmmakers might check in today but nobody stopped by. Lots of snow overnight made this morning’s walk to work beautiful, but also a bit treacherous. Just after I took the nice picture above, I went sprawling on some snow-covered ice. Luckily nobody saw me.

Later in the afternoon, we had our second premiere. This time it was for The Death of Stalin, a very funny film I saw back in September at TIFF. We were hosting the director, Armando Iannucci, along with stars Andrea Riseborough and Jason Isaacs. There was also a BBC crew shooting a documentary segment on Iannucci, so it was a little bit chaotic, but the venue team at the MARC Theatre helped us keep things together.

I was off at 6:30pm and went straight to the Prospector Square Theatre to get in line for a volunteer ticket for Robert Greene’s Bisbee ’17. I’ve known Robert for many years now, having written about one of his earlier films (Kati with an I) and I consider him a friend, albeit one I don’t see often. In fact, it was two years ago at Sundance when I last saw him, at a screening of his previous film Kate Plays Christine. But he immediately recognized me, gave me a big hug, and asked about my health. Robert knows millions of people and seems to remember and care about all of them, a character trait that made his latest film even more powerful. Bisbee ’17 captures the inhabitants of Bisbee, Arizona grappling with a dark incident from their history. They reenact the forced evacuation of copper miners who were striking for better conditions in 1917. It’s beautifully captured and there are some lovely epiphanies for many of the town’s citizens.

Before the film, I had a long chat with Harvey Lalonde, a legendary Toronto festival volunteer who also volunteers here at Sundance. This year, lost identification and a last-minute passport replacement nearly led to a cancelled trip, but luckily he made it with just hours to spare.

Robert Greene at Sundance 2018

By the time the film was over, I only had time to catch the shuttle home, make some soup and write this post. I have to be up at 6:00am again tomorrow for another early shift in the office.

Sundance 2018: Day 4

My Walk to Work (Sundance 2018)

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 16th to 28th.

Festival Day 2

I pulled an early shift in the office this morning, rising at 6:00am to get in before 8:00am. It was a dark walk (see photo above) to get my coffee at Starbucks and then to catch the shuttle, but I saw my colleagues Celine, Megan, and Fabiola at the stop, so at least there was some conversation. We’d hoped that most of the rest of our film teams would check in (we had about 12 of 26 outstanding) but only a few came in. We also had our first premiere screening, in the Spotlight programme. It was at the Egyptian Theatre, right on Main Street, and was for Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, which played at TIFF back in September. The director and two producers were very laid back and it was a nice easy introduction to the venue part of my job.

After that it was back to HQ for about another half hour before Priya let me leave, at about 4:30pm. I stopped at Rite-Aid on the way home and bought a new hairdryer (the one I brought kind of died), some beers (Dead Horse Amber from Moab Brewery), and a couple of cans of Red Bull.

True to past experience, I never really start thinking about plans until I’m out of the office, and tonight could have gone several ways. I don’t have to be in the office until 10:00am tomorrow but I didn’t end up seeing a movie tonight. After a few days of warm temperatures and sunny skies, we got snow tonight, and I just got too comfortable recharging my batteries (literally and figuratively) in the condo.