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Friday, January 20, 2006


Hello from Sundance

I had big dreams of blogging Sundance. Then my Sony laptop ceased its ability to, um, turn on. This is particularly painful since the place we're staying has free, high-speed wireless. D'oh! This is the second time this has happened to my otherwise beloved little laptop. Turns out it's been a known issue since 2002. Double d'oh.

So, hello from Park City, Utah, and specifically from the bank of laptops at the Film Center on Main Street. I passed Ted Sarandos, chief content officer from Netflix, on the street on the way here, and then I passed the director of "One Sung Hero," a short film about a woman spreading the karaoke gospel, which I saw this morning. It was funny and bright and much more enjoyable than the film about Manhattan buildings covered in images of naked women kissing each other's breasts while planes fly into the twin towers and then every other building in the city - yes, seriously. As offended as I was - I couldn't stop thinking about people who lost loved ones on 9/11 - I stop short of condemning it... to me, it is an irresponsible abuse of imagery that means so much to so many people, but maybe it said something else to others in the audience, and better for the artistic community to engage with those and other images than to let them be exclusively defined by mainstream news outlets and Hollywood. Maybe this film being out there means there will be another one that will - for me - succeed.

That's what's so fulfilling about being at Sundance - you see good stuff, you see bad stuff, but what's really exciting is just being in an environment honoring so many different kinds of artistic vision...the dark, the light, the meaningful, the absurd...I know people say the festival's sold out to Hollywood, but it doesn't feel that way "on the ground"...it just feels like being surrounded by the fruits of so much artistic labor, like being a kid in a candy store full of artistic expression. I'm not squeezing a 2-hour movie into the rest of my life - for a few days, I get to indulge in seeing however many movies I want, and that is my life.

It actually makes me even more eager to attend an improv festival. I find myself missing my improv friends, wishing we could be performing - it's weird to be among so many performers and have to be a spectator only. In the Q&A after the shorts program this morning, one of the directors said her actors had improvised most of the film, and I got so excited.

More in the next few days if I can find my way back to a computer that, well, turns on.

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