Sundance 2013 Dispatch, Day One: Settling In at Park City


Sundance Film Festival Opening Press Conference with Robert Redford

Relying on public transportation in an unfamiliar town while staying on the outskirts has its disadvantages. I only attended an hour of the Sundance Film Festival opening-night party since my last bus departed at 11:15 pm -- but the bus is a great place to meet both helpful locals and filmmakers in Park City.

On the way in I met screenwriter/director Tal Granit, who traveled from Israel to premiere his short film Summer Vacation at the festival. I made it to fest headquarters to navigate the press office and pick up credentials, before heading to the Egypt Theatre for the Day One press conference. Salt Lake Tribune film critic Sean Means moderated a discussion with actor, filmmaker and Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam and Sundance Film Festival John Cooper (seen above). 

Watch the press conference its entirety after the jump.

Redford spoke about change -- "Since it's inevitable, some people fight it and resist it because they are afraid of it, and another group accept it and roll along, and another group that sees it in a positive way, not only go with it, but use it."

The press screening schedule was light for the first day, so I opted for stocking up on staples and working in my shared condo through the afternoon before the party. It was a good opportunity to network with my roommates, including Virtually Heroes lead actor Ben Messmer, A.V. Club writer Sam Adams, Huffington Post/L.A. Biz business writer Gina Hall, and Huffington Post L.A. food critic Scott Bridges.

An adventure involving the bus schedule ensued with animation director Em Cooper, whose short film 30% (women and politics in Sierra Leone) is debuting at Sundance. 30% documents the inequality faced by three women from different backgrounds making their place in male-dominated politics of their region.

The theme for the evening was "inequality," as on the 20-minute bus ride Cooper and I met Barb Steele, assistant editor for the documentary Inequality for All. This film features U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he tries to raise awareness of America's economic gap. 

Although I was at the jam-packed opening-night party for only an hour, it was a great time to relax with some Austin filmmakers who had been delayed by flight issues, including Kat Candler and P.J. Raval, as well as Jonny Mars and Kelly Williams. It will probably be the last I'll see of Williams for awhile as he heads into the Creative Labs workshops.

Day Two plans include a press screening of Mud, red carpet for The Spectacular Now, watching The Unsinkable Henry Morgan, and hopefully some free food and drink at various festival events.