Sundance 2013 Dispatch, Day Two: Spectacular Mud and Sunken Treasure


James Ponsoldt

The most important rule of any film festival is to treat it as a marathon rather a sprint, to prevent hitting the wall. Don't get me wrong -- I'm still indulging free drinks at parties and late-night conversations about film and music -- but with the fear of altitude sickness and flu, I've been sleeping at least seven hours. My "sleep is the enemy" mantra is only effective for short-timers who are here for a long weekend.

My second day was fairly light as I continued to deal with the commute into Park City. I attended the press screening of Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols' feature Mud, which seemed well received and which I thoroughly enjoyed. Afterwards I headed down to the Library for my first Sundance red carpet for The Spectacular Now, with a quick stop by the Stella Artois Studio for complimentary beer and a glimpse of spokesperson and British actor Noah Huntley.

The Spectacular Now red carpet featured director James Ponsoldt (seen above), lead actors Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Winstead also appeared in Ponsoldt's film Smashed, which debuted at Sundance last year, and appears in the comedy A.C.O.D. that also debuts at Sundance. She also produced the dark comedy Cub -- a short film also premiering at Sundance as part of the Midnight Film Series.

In regards to the short film format, Winstead said she likes "to create opportunities ... that come from a more personal space. Short films are a great way to test the waters. Doing a feature is a big commitment, but doing a short you can test yourself and your boundaries and find out what you like and don't like."

henry morgan

I planned on going to see Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, but since the red carpet had been delayed I went with my back-up plan of the screening of The Unsinkable Henry Morgan at the Filmmakers Lodge. Technical difficulties ensued for an hour there, so we were directed to Sundance Headquarters for cocktails -- by Captain Morgan, natch -- and watched the documentary on the projection walls.

Fritz Hanselmann (pictured above), the chief underwater archaeologist at Texas State University's Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, was at the screening. He was part of a team that discovered the sunken ship Satisfaction, including many historical artifacts purported belonging to Captain Henry Morgan.

After a successful screening, I was shanghaied by a group of filmmaker friends who knew one another from past Sundance Film Festivals, including A Teacher editor Sofi Marshall. We caught a bus over to New Frontier, a visually engaging social and creative space featuring media installations and multimedia performances. I met Boneshaker director Frances Bodomo as well as Mother of George director/actor Babs Olusanmokun (pictured below).

Babs OlusanmokunMore from Day Two later, including an interview with Ponsoldt and a review of Mud.

[Photo credit: All photos by Debbie Cerda.]