Sundance 2016: Day 8

Keegan-Michael Key - Sundance Film Festival 2016

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 19th to 31st.

Festival Day 6

Another 8:00am to noon shift in the Film Office this morning. Then Jackie and I checked out local restaurant the Grub Steak, where we used our volunteer “grub stubs” to enjoy the salad bar lunch. From there, I headed down to Main Street for a 2:30pm screening of Nicole Holofcener’s 1996 film Walking and Talking at the Egyptian. I’d seen the film a few months ago on Netflix, but it was special seeing it almost exactly 20 years later in the same cinema in which it premiered at Sundance. Both Holofcener and star Catherine Keener were in attendance, and neither had been in the Egyptian Cinema since the film played there 20 years ago, so it was an interesting atmosphere. I found myself feeling nostalgic for the indie film scene of the 1990s, in which so many directors began their careers at this festival. I’ve loved all of Holofcener’s films, and wish that she was better-known. The film also made me nostalgic for my own younger years, especially with its Billy Bragg soundtrack.

After the screening, I raced home to sleep for an hour before heading back to HQ. I grabbed some pizza at nearby Este Pizza and was ready to head up to Jupiter Bowl to prepare for the Shorts Awards and Party. This was such a fun party last year and I was really excited. Our team of FOCs and category volunteers (Kevin, Corrine, Celine, and me) were working the door, making sure our film teams had their tickets and got inside quickly. We really were only supposed to have a small role in running the actual event, since the festival’s events team was also onsite, but there was a fair amount of anarchy at the door, with everyone trying to check IDs, rip tickets, and attach wristbands. Despite the 9:00pm start time, I didn’t really get away to have a drink until nearly 10:30pm.

I was delighted that several of the film teams I’d connected with most personally were among the winners. Special shout-outs to Toronto filmmakers Sol Friedman and Ben Petrie:

  • Short Film Grand Jury PrizeThunder Road (Dir: Jim Cummings)
  • Short Film Jury Award: US FictionThe Procedure (Dir: Calvin Lee Reeder)
  • Short Film Jury Award: International FictionMaman(s) (Dir: Maïmouna Doucouré)
  • Short Film Jury Award: Non-FictionBacon and God’s Wrath (Dir: Sol Friedman)
  • Short Film Jury Award: AnimationEdmond (Dir: Nina Gantz)
  • Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance – Grace Glowicki in Her Friend Adam (Dir: Ben Petrie)
  • Short Film Special Jury Award for Best DirectionPeacock (Dir: Ondřej Hudeček)

I was a little bit frustrated by the bar service (how about an express line for guys like me just ordering beers?) but had a good time nonetheless, especially in the stiflingly hot VIP room, where I got to watch jury member Keegan-Michael Key as well as a few of the directors bowling (picture above). Last call was a very early (for me) 12:20pm so I think I was actually home quite a bit earlier than last year.

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