Three Days In Sundance: A Park City Journal

Editor Marj Galas is adjusted at the Pure Barre Pop-up Studio – Day 4 – 2015 Park City on January 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Lily Lawrence/Getty Images for Pure Barre)

Friday, January 23rd:
4:05pm: The arrival section of the Salt Lake City airport is complete madness. I watch a producer en route to his screening snicker at a young girl dressed in a tank top and shorts. “Won’t she be surprised when she steps outside,” he tells his companion.  Meanwhile, a group of six guys dragging massive ski bags behind them pass by.  I wonder “are they really going to have time for that?” as I await the shuttle. Expecting to attend a Texas Film Commission party, I call my associate, Joe, to let him know I’m not going to make my estimated 4:30 time. “Do you think you’ll be here by five?” I lie – “Yes, I think so, but I’ll let you know when I’m on the road.”

4:45pm: As the shuttle arrives, I call Joe, realizing at the minimum a thirty minute ride. “Don’t worry about it, everyone else has come back to the condo.” The party ended at five.

4:55pm: Ten of us pile into the nine seat van. I’m wedged flush against a window, half on and off a seat. Next to me a young Canadian is excitedly anticipating the weekend ahead. “I’ve been to Toronto so many times, this is my first Sundance.” Our conversation turns, somehow, towards food.

8:00pm: After getting some work done, a small group of us visit the Yarrow Theater to see our single Sundance film “Sam Klemke’s Time Machine.” The Yarrow’s restaurant is empty but perfect for a quick bite. I order a micro-brew and after half feel like I may slump over. “It’s the altitude, it affects drinking,” I’m reminded.

11:40pm: Back at the condo, we agree the movie was a fun view. I wish I had started a video journal as a teen like Sam Klemke did, however I don’t think I would have shot my weight gains or bare buttocks. With flannel pajamas on, I say good night to my roommie, jump in my twin bed, and gladly shut my eyes.

Saturday, January 24th
6:15am: Trying to quietly exit the room I walk into a closet and send clothes hangers flying. I managed to keep the noise down from there and head outside to the gym. It’s closed. I realize 18 degrees is pretty cold for standing outside in shorts.

8:00am: Joe and I, coffee in hand, spend two hours going over the script for our “State of the Slate – Films at Sundance” panel. Feeling confident we have a great presentation to put on I go wait for my turn in the shower.

11:25am: After taking a bit of a wrong turn and walking an extra 15 minutes to get to Main Street, I discover the Sundance Headquarters, where we pick up our credentials, is in a Marriott on the edge of Park City. What? Say it ain’t so.

11:30am: While waiting for the shuttle, I meet Justin, a sound designer on “The Last Walk in the Desert.” We talk about the film’s sound construction using Dolby Atmos and he informs me Sundance acquired a system that will make the most of the design. We’re interupted by a young girl. “You seem to know what you are talking about. How do we get someone interested in our screenplay?” “Thanks for taking that one on,” smiles Justin.

12:30pm: Badge in hand and anxious to make a 1:00 appointment at Canon, I ask a volunteer with a Patriots hat where to get the bus. When I get outside a volunteer with a Seahawks hat gives me different instructions. “Sorry friend, but I’m following the instructions from the guy with the Patriots hat,” I say. He frowns. I laugh.

1:10pm: Canon’s Women in Cinematography panel has already begun. The room is filled, I’m squished in the back and can see nothing. Fortunately they are using mikes.
View article link for the coverage of Canon’s Women in Cinematography event here:
http://variety411.com/article/canon-sundance-2015-women-in-cinematography-4140289/

6:00pm: I bounce up and down Main Street, otherwise known as “the hill,” numerous times, hitting the Merrell party, the Sundance TV party, the North Carolina party and a few other stops,  I then check in at the New York Lounge to discuss sound, seating arrangements and breakfast details for the morning’s panel.

7:00pm: Popping back into Canon, I discover my friend Meredith. She invites me to dinner and to see “D-Train” which i jump on, then recall my duty. “I have to reach out to our panelist and prepare the equipment for tomorrow.” She tells me they plan to head out at 9:00pm. I loose about ten minutes getting lost finding the condo. As I’m doing my work I learn I’m invited to an intimate dinner at the Stein Ericcson. “Sorry Meredith, but I have an important reservation!” She understands.

9:45pm: Dinner. Yum!

Sunday, January 25th

12:45am: Back in the flannels, back in the twin bed. My roomie and I coordinate our show times for we all will be heading out the door at 7:15am.

6:15am: Shower, coffee, prep.

7:30am: We meet Flo at the New York Lounge and our panelists arrive.   A JVC rep offers to shoot the panel. Excited to see the quality of the camera, I realize I loose the control over what’s shot. I watch that guy like a hawk.
To view State of the Slate – Films at Sundance please visit:
http://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=1584&seid=63

12:30pm: The Filmmaker’s Breakfast wrapped, I move on with a DP friend of mine named David to check out a drones panel. David stresses I should be backing up my hard drive. “I don’t have a computer.” I know he’s right but we press on, meeting his associate, an in-demand aerial cinematographer.
To review coverage of the Drone panel, please visit:
http://variety411.com/article/drones-and-safety-discussed-at-sundance-film-festival-2015-4140286/

3:00pm: The panel runs late and we grab a cab to make it to the ICG party. Having been a perfect gentleman, David feels bad about passing my film equipment back to me. “I can only stay for 15 minutes, so I need it back anyhow,” I assure him.  One drink later I’m off.

4:00pm: I video tape a huge panel of film commissioners. Focused more on my job then there comments, one does stick out. Irish Film Commissioner James Hickey states in Ireland they are “cheap and cheerful.”

9:30pm: After two parties, including the Michigan party where I speak primarily with representatives from Chicago, a group of us muscle our way towards a barbeque joint. “This food tastes pre-cooked.” No one stops eating, we’re too hungry to care.

10:50pm: On my way back to the condo a guy emerges from the woods on a bike. “Have you ever been to the cemetery?” What? After a moment I realize he’s harmless and we discuss bike riding in the snow. I’m full, I’m tired, I’m in bed at midnight.

Monday, January 26th
6:45am: Up and out with bike pants, walking towards the Pure Barre pop-up on Main. It’s a brisk walk and warms me up for the workout I’m about to receive. It’s a class of women, mostly from LA with one New Yorker. We’re taught by a Seahawks fan direct from Seattle. My muscles cry out after fifteen minutes but I”m having fun and enjoying the great instruction and find myself laughing a lot during the session. After 45 minutes I leave on wobbly legs, realizing I should be doing this workout more often.

9:00am: Learning I don’t have to videotape until 3:00, I plot out a plan to hit up all the booths I’ve yet to visit. I spend a great deal of time checking out Sundance’s New Frontier space. After a quick visit to Billboard’s space, I meet my old friend Folayo outside and we laugh at some photographers chasing a random celeb down the street.

12:50am: My muscles are rebelling and I need to take a break. I step into the AirBnB pop up. It’s bright, nicely furnished and is filled with coffee house music and pleasant conversation. In short, it’s an Oasis. People are drawing their interpretation of a stranger via Polaroid photos, and the gallery of work is filled with creative expression. I want to stay and draw a picture too, but I need to visit Canon one last time. Goodbye cool digs, this was the best marketing I’ve seen at the fest.

2:30pm: Back at the New York Lounge, I will be shooting this panel. Damn you Pure Barre, my muscles are sore! After the nearly twenty minute panel our co-sponsored party includes some fine musicians. I make the mistake of sitting down – it’s so hard to get up.

9:45pm: Reservations at Grappa! Martini, please! Cheers to my final hours at Sundance, 2015!