Here are a few of my pics from Sundance, where I've been since Friday. This is my third straight pilgrimage to Sundance for my birthday (yes, sometime this weekend my odometer turned another notch, damn it all to hell), and navigating the fest now feels like secondhand nature.
I'll try to post a few more pics later this week, but that depends on whether or not I can clear some space off of the hard drive on my now ancient laptop. Everytime I try to open one of my RAW image files, my computer clicks and whirs and coughs like an old smoker.
Highest wattage celebrity about town: Jennifer Aniston. Jason saw her the first day, and I caught a glimpse of her yesterday (or was it the day before? it's all a sleepless blur) emerging from one of the celeb giveaway stores, and a nanosecond later she was consumed by a mob of people with cameras.
Biggest movie acquisition: Fox Searchlight bought Little Miss Sunshine for $10.5 million and 10% of gross. Biggest Sundance deal ever, and a sweet deal for the creators who had put up a hefty $9 million to get the movie made. Beyond that, no movie has emerged as the clearcut gem of the festival yet, though studios tend to judge the festival on pics of commercial appeal, and there does appear to have been a dearth of movies fitting that description. Most of the ones I saw which seemed destined for commercial success (Thank You For Smoking, Lucky Number Slevin, The Descent) already have U.S. distributors.
Most fun movie screening: Last night I attended a midnight screening of Neil Marshall's The Descent at The Egyptian Theatre. Last year I saw Oldboy, Three Extremes, and Wolf Creek at this Park City at Midnight series, so that gives you an idea of the type of fare showcased in this series. The movie is already out on Feast should come out later this year, caught up as it was in the Weinsteins spinoff from Miramax.
Favorite movie thus far: No single movie has been the revelation that, say, Pulp Fiction was back in the day, but probably the movie that contained some of the most enjoyable and enjoyable micro-moments was the latest by Michel Gondry, The Science of Sleep, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Rumor has it that Warner Independent snatched the movie up just a half hour after the World Premiere. It won't have the mass commercial appeal of Gondry's previous movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the movie is destined to split audiences: just look at its early ratings on IMDb), but Gondry still captures the child-like quality in all of us better than almost anyone, and his depiction of male insecurities about women is dead-on in a way that could only come from someone who has lived with them much of his life. The movie feels autobiographical in many ways, and Gondry revealed that all the dreams in the movie are ones he has had. Gael Garcia Bernal, besides seeming like a really pleasant and mischievous guy, proves himself to be a gifted comic actor, and he had to wrestle with French and English in addition to Spanish throughout the movie.
My favorite brush with celebrity: If you walk up and down Main St. enough, or if you attend enough movies, you can't help but satisfy run into someone famous. While waiting in line for the Weinsteins party really late one evening, just as the clock passed midnight and ushered in my birthday, Scarlett Johansson (accompanying Josh Hartnett) walked past me. Yes, my embarrassing crush on her, dating back to the days before she became a sex symbol, is common knowledge, and so my birthday was a good one, even though I could no longer feel my feet.