Ah, another year, another Sundance Film Festival all wrapped up. While I didn’t get to see anywhere near as many films as most members of the press, it’s still always a blast to head up Parley’s Canyon in Utah to catch as many as I can. While I don’t try to rub any elbows in Park City, sometimes it just can’t be helped. When you’re standing on the bus next to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who seemed delighted to be asked if she really was MEW) you try not noticing. Other celeb spottings (excluding Q&A sessions that is) included Anthony Mackie, Paul Dano, and I was asked if I knew where the restrooms were by Jason Ritter. There may have been more but you just don’t seem to really notice most as they’re usually as bundled up from the cold as you are.
As far as lounges and parties go, I was only able to attend one of each. Along with my fellow press associate Luke Hickman (HighDefDigest.com), our first stop was to the CW3PR RE:treat at the Park City Sky Lounge. Reported celebrity guests included Emily Blunt, Kate Bosworth, Liv Tyler, James Marsden, Ty Burrell, Danny Glover, Justin Long, Jason Mraz, and Traci Lords. There was also lots of swag of which none was offered. Among them were Paul Mitchell, Remix watches, Lyon Fine Jewelry, Alex Stein, and Groupon. While we were hoping to at least manage to be treated to a Burt’s Bees lip balm, it was no such luck, as they seemed to be in a location war with Vita Coco Coconut Water. We grabbed a couple bottles for the road before stopping by the Patron bar where I was lucky enough to be helped to a rather large glass of one of my favorite wines: Moab, Utah’s own Castle Creek Winery’s Gewurztraminer. Unfortunately, I was not able to
Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet hosted by Gen Art. So we bid farewell to our single lounge stop before we headed back out to try to catch at least one more film before the impending storm began to wreak havoc. Luke was lucky enough to already have a ticket arranged to see Mark Webber’s The End of Love, however, I was stuck in what I coined as the waitwaitlist line. Typically the actual waitlist line is where people without tickets can stand in line and obtain a number where they return at least a half hour before the film begins in hopes that one can manage to buy a real ticket.
While Luke confirmed that there were still tons of open seats, I think they cut the line off in order to get the show on the road. No skin off my back. This was when I happened to hop on a bus back to the local Fresh Market grocery store and I managed to stand next to the always gorgeous (even in a shaky bus taken photo) Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It took some fast Googleing to make sure it was really her (i.e. height check and a photo of her husband, Riley Stearns, who was with her) as she was bundled up for the weather and wearing far more makeup than we’re used to seeing in her films (confirmed by her presence during the Q&A of Smashed). I have to admit, while I was unusually ballsy enough to ask to take her picture, I didn’t even think to mention I had a ticket in my credentials pouch for the upcoming screening during the week back in Salt Lake City at the Rose Wagner. Although she seemed flattered when I told her that Luke’s wife was Ramona Flowers this past Halloween.
Over opening weekend Luke and I also were invited to a late night party at “The Compound.” Presented by Skullcandy and Bandpage, the night we attended was supposed to be when the scheduled performers were LMFAO (the only reason I wanted to attend anyway). However, due to their cancelation, the new performer and DJ for the night was rescheduled to be Lil Jon and Cisco Adler with food catered by Coalatree Organics BBQ. Coalatree seemed to not want to have arrived early enough to have any food prepared for the early arrivals and while the chicken in their chicken tacos seemed pretty tasty, the tortillas were standard white corn and too far on the dry side. The other sad news for the party is that we also arrived way too early as not even Skullcandy was present. But it was fun to overhear someone spilling the beans that the skinny girls in the tight outfits were being paid to attend. Oh well, better luck next year for us.
This year also managed to feature the one film I have ever truly loathed with every ounce of my being while at the Festival. The less said about The Comedy the better. It makes me cringe to think that one percent of the festival’s submissions are shown every year and somehow, someone thought this was better than the other 99%. Jimmy Martin of SLUG Magazine/Big Movie Mouth Off owes me big time for talking me out of line for The First Time (which received great word-of-mouth) to suffer through the second film of the festival to feature Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (the other being their own disastrous Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.) At first I thought maybe it was going to be a film with lots of uncomfortable comedy, maybe along the lines of Borat, but director/writer Rick Alverson and co-writers Robert Donne and Colm O’Leary, and the cast, are about as far from the brilliant masterminds of Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles. The Comedy is the ultimate in both false-advertising and anti-film.
On a final and lighter note, here are the winner’s for this year’s 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Congratulations to all, even if I only saw one (Smashed) winner…
The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Charles Ferguson to: The House I Live In / U.S.A. (Director: Eugene Jarecki)
The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Justin Lin to: Beasts of the Southern Wild / U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar)
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Nick Fraser to: The Law in These Parts / Israel (Director: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz)
The World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Julia Ormond to: Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se Fue a Los Cielos) / Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain (Director: Andrés Wood, Screenwriters: Eliseo Altunaga, Rodrigo Bazaes, Guillermo Calderón, Andrés Wood)
The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, Presented by Acura, was presented by Mike Birbiglia to: The Invisible War / U.S.A. (Director: Kirby Dick)
The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic, Presented by Acura, was presented by Mike Birbiglia to: The Surrogate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin)
The World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary was presented by Edward James Olmos to: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN / Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul)
The Best of NEXT <=> Audience Award, Presented by Adobe Systems Incorporated, was presented by Tim Heidecker to: Sleepwalk With Me / U.S.A. (Director: Mike Birbiglia, Screenwriters: Mike Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish)
The U.S. Directing Award: Documentary was presented by Fenton Bailey to: The Queen of Versailles / U.S.A. (Director: Lauren Greenfield)
The U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic was presented by Lynn Shelton to: Middle Of Nowhere / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay)
The World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary was presented by Jean-Marie Teno to: 5 Broken Cameras / Palestine, Israel, France (Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi)
The World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic was presented by Alexei Popogrebsky to: Teddy Bear / Denmark (Director: Mads Matthiesen, Screenwriters: Mads Matthiesen, Martin Pieter Zandvliet)
The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award was presented by Anthony Mackie to: Safety Not Guaranteed / U.S.A. (Director: Colin Trevorrow, Screenwriter: Derek Connolly)
The World Cinema Screenwriting Award was presented by Richard Pena to: Young & Wild / Chile (Director: Marialy Rivas, Screenwriters: Marialy Rivas, Camila Gutiérrez, Pedro Peirano, Sebastián Sepúlveda)
The U.S. Documentary Editing Award was presented by Kim Roberts to: DETROPIA /U.S.A. (Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady)
The World Cinema Documentary Editing Award was presented by Clara Kim to: Indie Game: The Movie / Canada (Directors: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky)
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Tia Lessin to: Chasing Ice / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski)
The Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Amy Vincent to: Beasts of the Southern Wild / U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar)
The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary was presented by Jean-Marie Teno to: Putin’s Kiss / Denmark (Director: Lise Birk Pedersen)
The World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic was presented by Alexei Popogrebsky to: My Brother the Devil / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Sally El Hosaini)
A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for an Agent of Change was presented by Heather Croall to: Love Free or Die / U.S.A. (Director: Macky Alston)
A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance was presented by Heather Croall to: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry / U.S.A., China (Director: Alison Klayman)
A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing was presented by Cliff Martinez to: Andrea Sperling and Jonathan Schwartz for Smashed / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Susan Burke, James Ponsoldt) and Nobody Walks / U.S.A. (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young)
A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting was presented by Cliff Martinez to: The Surrogate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin)
A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Artistic Vision was presented by Clara Kim to: Can / Turkey (Director and screenwriter: Rasit Celikezer)
A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for its Celebration of the Artistic Spirit was presented by Richard Pena to: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN / Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul)
The inaugural Short Film Audience Award, Presented by Yahoo!, based on online voting for nine short films that premiered at the Festival and are currently featured on Yahoo! Screen Yahoo! Screen, was presented to: The Debutante Hunters (Director: Maria White)
The following awards were presented at separate ceremonies at the Festival:
The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking was awarded to: FISHING WITHOUT NETS / U.S.A. (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey). The Jury Prize in Short Film, U.S. Fiction was presented to: The Black Balloon / U.S.A. (Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie). The Jury Prize in Short Film, International Fiction was presented to: The Return (Kthimi) / Kosovo (Director: Blerta Zeqiri, Screenwriter: Shefqet Gjocaj). The Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction was presented to: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker). The Jury Prize in Animated Short Film was presented to: A Morning Stroll / United Kingdom (Director: Grant Orchard). A Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling was presented to: The Arm / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis). A Special Jury Award for Animation Direction was presented to: Robots of Brixton / United Kingdom (Director: Kibwe Tavares).